Sunday, April 13, 2008

Exhibit G: Communist Cookie Cutters

I bought these cutters when I was in Berlin last summer; they're in the shape of the Ampelmännchen pedestrian traffic lights that adorn the city's Eastern parts. "Traffic psychologist" Karl Peglau created them to encourage friendliness within the Deutsche-Soviet sphere. The Ampelmännchen is probably the most well-known "ostalgic" artifact from the Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR) era. When East and West were reunited there was tremendous controversy about whether the traffic lights should remain the same or not.

He stayed: the people love the friendly
Ampelmännchen! The Ostalgie Movement then created the Ampelfrau counterpart for the traffic lights in Zwickau and Dresden in 2004.


Muser said...

Thanks for this post. I was in Berlin last summer, too, and we stayed in the former East Berlin. You might like Isherwood's book, Berlin Stories, if you haven't already read it.

Acumensch said...

I hear people say Berlin is like New York in the 1980s. Is that true? If so, I sort of fear for Berlin - that all the prices and development will push all the avant-garde-ness out and only have room for suit-and-tie-ness.