Sunday, 6 January 2008

Back in the DDR

Our histories continue to structure who we are. And who we will be.

Take the dear old DDR - thats Deutsche Demokratische Republik - or GDR - German Democratic Republic as it was called.

East Germany - now defunct as a political state - but still a part of many people's lives.

In our case the life of Christa Eicher nee Fischer. My mother.

And Willie and Roesli Fischer - her parents - whom we grand-kids got to see only a few times in our lives before they died. And that too in 1975 and 1980 respectively.

Not much to remember - thanks mainly to the gross lie of scientific materialism (a.k.a. communism - at least in the East German flavour of it).

I remembered the DDR recently while giving a bath to our kids and their neice Anmol. I remember having a bath with my brother Stefan in the large bathtub of my grandmother's tiny socialist appartment in grey Reichenbach. I remember the empty streets of the town - and the curiously empty stores. It all seemed at the time more 'advanced' than what we had in the India of that day, but the contrast to the bustling West Germany was stark.

One of the few TV programmes we were allowed to watch in that place was a puppet show each evening called the Sandman. At the end of the episode, we would come and sprinkle sand in the eyes of the kids and everyone would sleep. Sort of like the whole society did - but with their eyes open as they accepted and parroted the lies of the socialistic state.

One of the strangest memories of the time - however - was a game we played with Dad. He would go into the bedroom of our grandmother and hide - and we would try and find him. He normally hid under the enourmous feather-blanket or some other fairly obvious place. But once we just could not find him. Anywhere. The window was open and I wondered if he had jumped out of the 2nd floor flat. Finally he emerged. He had somehow squeezed himself up in the very top of a cupboard. An amazing feat.

I think we will delve a little more into the late great DDR in a few days. In the meantime, sleep calls.

1 comment:

  1. How great to stumble across your blog (okay, it's posted in your e-mails, but who looks there. . .).

    Quite the quintessential Andi Eicher musings .. . the past. . .Sandman making people sleep!

    Oh how I miss those days.

    Doug Woodward