A young Claudia Bierschenk lived at the edge of a world called the GDR, in a village surrounded by hills, valleys and thick forests.
Her great uncle lives in the Forbidden Zone, the area where the East German border is a few metres away from West Germany. This is where the villages are like ghosts towns and inhabitants need special permits to enter.
Claudia provides a vivid and unique description of entering the Forbidden Zone for the first time after being granted special permits to visit her Great Uncle on his 80th birthday. His house is the last house before the final border fences and Claudia describes up close to the fences, while her grandfather tells her about “rabbit discos”…
We also hear more of her life in this isolated area, including strange sports activities and Claudia’s experience of being trained as a 12-year-old Para medic.
We end the episode talking about how she and her family experienced the momentous events of 1989 when the border opens, and East Germans are free to cross into West Germany.
Claudia has distilled these stories into a book, Never Mind, Comrade, published by Tangerine Press
Don’t miss our previous episode with Claudia here https://pod.fo/e/137f1e
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I am delighted to welcome Claudia to our Cold War conversation…
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