The heavily doctored photo is me in Krakow Poland in 2015. I am leaning on a Trebi, the iconic East German car, in front of the Nowa Huta Steel works. That day I joined a young Japanese tourist for the Proletariat tour of the former Communist sites in Krakow. The Poles are enterprising by nature and one of them thought to offer a “Communism Tour”.
The only vehicle for such a tour would be the Trabant. With a cardboard roof and wheezing two stroke motorcycle engine the car symbolized the shortcomings of the East German worker’s paradise. Bad as the Trabi was East Germans had no choice in their planned economy. Even then there was a waiting list. Our young tour guide showed us a typical worker’s apartment in Nowa Huta. It was filled with east block appliances. In the bathroom there was a still for making hootch. The key to being an East German back then was to maintain an alcoholic haze between you and reality. When lunch time came we parked the Trabi in front of the worker’s canteen. The potato dumplings were great. In the square facing was an empty platform, the former roost of a huge statue of Lenin. The statue was sold and now stands in an amusement park in Scandinavia. The rest of Nowa Huta is doing OK. The apartments are occupied and the steel works seems to be surviving…or it was then. Who knows now.
As for my biography…does anybody care? Do I?