In Leipzig without Ostalgia

The term Ostalgie in German means nostalgia for the German Democratic Republic’s times. It was coined when films like Goodbye Lenin started to appear. Such films or books, like Sonnenallee try to convey to younger viewers or readers who have no direct experience, an idealized “cult” and light image of the DDR.  The gray, oppressive, totalitarian state seen in the film, The lives of the others, was the bitter reality for most of the inhabitants of East Germany. Recently I read a book written by a British woman, Jacinta Nandi and a German man, Jakob Hein. Its title is Fish ‘n Chips & Spreewaldgurken and recounts Hein’s sad memories from his youth and Nandi’s humourous, artificially naive interest in an everyday life under the communist regime, an everyday life that she, herself, was lucky enough not to have known