Postcard from... Berlin
Communist East Germany may have been killed off with the fall of the Berlin Wall 23 years ago, but its products live on – and on. Some 90,000 former East German citizens queued up in freezing temperatures over the weekend to get into east Berlin's Yuletide phenomenon for insiders – a Christmas market dedicated to selling “Ossiware” – goods that were being produced in East Germany before 1989 and still are.
The vast selection of items on offer in Berlin's Velodrome indoor cycling stadium included special Christmas cake from Saxony's "Ore" mountains, photocopied examples of communist cookery books, "ice cream powder" from a firm called Komet and a famous totalitarian era bath foam called "Badusan", which comes complete with refillable yellow plastic duck and green fish-shaped dispensers.
The organisers said 140 East German manufacturers were selling goods at the "Ostpro" fair, which does a roaring trade for the three days it's held each year. The visitors were almost all former East German citizens aged 50 and older. Many travelled to Berlin to get their hands on products they thought had disappeared for ever with German reunification and the West German capitalist juggernaut which drove so many Ossi products off the market.
"Many of the visitors simply want to wallow in memories and rediscover the tastes and smells of their youth," insisted the fair's manager Ramona Oteiza. The term "Ostalgie" sprang up shortly after German reunification to denote nostalgia for the former communist east. It should not be underestimated.
- 1 School playground evacuated over 'unusually aggressive' grey squirrel
- 2 Hollywood actor Mickey Rourke beats opponent 33 years his junior in exhibition boxing match
- 3 Jennifer Lawrence scores first UK top 40 single with Hunger Games track 'The Hanging Tree'
- 4 Today was a bad day for renters, landlords, and democracy
- 5 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
At least 100 dead after Islamists launch attack on Nigerian mosque
Hollywood actor Mickey Rourke beats opponent 33 years his junior in exhibition boxing match
'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
Russell Brand: 'Katy Perry? I don’t know who that is'
Obama: The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
David Cameron sets out immigration reforms: We should distrust Ukip and their 'snake-oil of simple solutions'
Ukip mocked after mistaking Westminster Cathedral – for a mosque
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
£30k - 38k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: An award-winning consume...
£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...
£30k - 35k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We’re currently re...
£35k - 45k per year + benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...