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Living in the Shadow of the Wall: Life in East Germany

Wed 29 May, 6pm and Thu 6 June, 7pm 2019
Running Time: 1 hour

In November 1989, the Berlin Wall was toppled. The changes that followed were particularly dramatic for East Germans: the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) was effectively taken over by the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) in the reunification process, leading to enormous upheaval in all aspects of life. But what was it really like to go from living under communism one minute, to capitalism the next? And how is the GDR remembered today? Are their memories dominated by fear and loathing of the Stasi state, or do they look back with a measure of fondness and regret on a world of guaranteed employment and low living costs?

Hester Vaizey, author of Born in the GDR: Living in the Shadow of the Wall, will talk to Ella Hickson (writer of ANNA) about the stories of eight citizens of the former GDR, and how these dramatic changes affected them. All eight people from Vaizey’s book were born in the GDR after the Berlin Wall was erected in August 1961, and had only experienced life in a communist system when the GDR fell apart. Their stories provide a fascinating insight into everyday life in East Germany and into how it is remembered today.

Hester Vaizey is a biographer, historian, writer for hire and award-winning author of four books. Vaizey has written for the Financial Times, the Guardian, History Today, the Independent, the Spectator and the THES, and regularly speaks about her work at literary festivals and on TV.

Tickets £7 (concessions £5)

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The front cover of the book 'Born in the GDR: Living int he Shadow of the Wall' - a photograph of an military officer and a young boy leaning over barbed wire

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