Nostalgia Isn't What It Used To Be

BUENA VISTA

GOOD OLD DAYS? The Lives of Others challenges the benign view of the G.D.R. promoted by Ostalgie parties and east German products.

All but a few stretches of the Berlin Wall were torn down in the first heady months after the collapse of the German Democratic Republic (G.D.R.). Yet some east Germans still cling to memories of the 40 years they lived under communist rule — memories that have grown more affectionate with time. Speciality shops and some websites offer east German board games, 15-packs of the infamously rough Cabinet cigarettes, Be Ready condoms, even cans of Trabi Duft — fumes from the iconic Trabant car — and the very brand of hair gel preferred by former...

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