Pic Credits www.matrixgames.com
The fall of Berlin wall has eradicated and successfully abolished, the use of many things related to East Germany. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, newly unified Germany set to rid itself of the traces of the East. Even after 30 years of falling of iron curtain, many east Germans are haunted by reluctance to let go of the bad old days.
The feeling is so strong, that there is a special name given to this feeling, namely “Ostalgia”. A combination of nostalgia and Osten (German word for east). Do not get me wrong here. They do not miss the havoc that the wall, the Soviet occupiers, the secret police, the shootings of demonstrators, the shortages of items and the economic stagnation, brought to their lives.
However, when the Berlin wall was falling, no east german imagined the cultural shock it will bring along, for many years to come. The fall of the wall quietly swept away the things, east germans grew up with. For example: toys, gadgets, awful-tasting cigarettes and other artifacts of the lives they used to know.
Now the Berliners throw “Ost Parties” featuring Cold-War-era pop tunes, GDR flags, guests dressed in the drab blue shirts of the former Communist Youth Organization and whatever East German beverages that managed to survive the unification of Berlin.
You can feel their pain in ironic “ostalgia” films like Wolfgang Becker’s 2003 “Good Bye Lenin!” It tells the story of a mother who fell into a coma in the old GDR (German Democratic Republic) and didn’t wake up until after the fall of berlin wall. To avoid a shock that might kill her, her son goes to great lengths to fool her into thinking her beloved GDR is still around.
In 1961, Karl Plague, the traffic psychologist devised a “walk” man in a straight-legged stride and a “don’t walk” man with arms outstretched like a cheerleader. He gave them noses and hands to “appropriately provoke the desired pedestrian behavior through emotion.” Thus the Ampelmännchen were born.
The first Ampelmännchen found his home at the corner of Unter den Linden and Friedrichstrasse, two major streets in East Berlin, in 1969. They proved so popular that they were adopted into children’s cartoons and comic strips. Meanwhile, West Germany went with a much more traditional-shaped traffic man
However, when the new Berlin was set to switch the east pedestrian signals, Ampelmännchen (little traffic man) to the more generic-looking West German traffic man in 1997. They formed a committee called “Rescue the Ampelmännchen!'”, which lobbied Berlin’s traffic minister until he allowed the Ampelmännchen to rise again.
Markus Heckhausen played a vital role in preserving these little creatures and pushing them into our present. He started his company called Ampelmann GmBh over a cup of coffee with the support of the father of Ampelmännchen, Karl Plague in 1996
Today this company has a range of products and various shops. It sponser various events all over Germany. Some of them are: the 11mm Football Film Festival since 2012, the 1. FC Union Berlin football club since 2011, interfilm Berlin international short film festival since 2010 and many more.
The Ampelmännchen, by contrast, are an example of Berliners’ ability to recognize the good parts of their past—amid all of the atrocities—and to preserve them.