The BBC’s documentary series from 2009, The Lost World of Communism, examined the legacy of communism twenty years after the fall of the Stalinist regimes of the Eastern Bloc, focusing on personal memories and descriptions of daily life. The three programmes of the series were each about a different country — East Germany, Czechoslovkia and Romania. Part 1, about East Germany, is below.
Some slightly surreal Ostalgie from the mid-1960s. ORWO was the East German state camera film production monopoly, and their advertising of the era apparently focused on all the fun things to take photos of in the Eastern Bloc.
After the end of the East German regime, ORWO was privatised, and ultimately became FilmoTec. The former ORWO warehouse in eastern Berlin is now a music rehearsal space called ORWOhaus.
Spomenik (‘Monument’) is a photographic project by the Belgian photographer Jan Kempenaers, documenting various monuments and commemorative sculptures built in the 1960s and 1970s by the Tito regime in Yugoslavia.
Life and Fate, the epic 1959 novel by Vasily Grossman about the Soviet Union and the Second World War, is being broadcast by BBC Radio 4, in a dramatisation featuring Kenneth Branagh and David Tennant. The novel was famously ‘arrested’ by the KGB, and was considered so dangerous that Mikhail Suslov, chief Soviet ideologist, told its author that it could not be published for at least another two hundred years after it had been written.
The dramatisation is available as a series of podcasts from the BBC website and from iTunes. Each episode can be downloaded for a limited time only, so get them while you can.