The Reds Are Back in Fashion: Toasting the Cold-War Past with East German Wine

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Byline: Wieslaw Wawrzyniak

Thirteen years after the Berlin wall came down, East Germany is back--in style, anyway. Germans are calling it Ostalgia: nostalgia for the East. Fashionable Berliners have been throwing "East parties," with guests in blue Communist Youth Organization shirts dancing to Iron Curtain-era tunes and sipping Rotkppchen, a sparkling wine from one of the few eastern companies that survived the transition. Tourist shrines are popping up all over the former German Democratic Republic. One enterprising business group is even planning a GDR theme park in Berlin--complete with surly border guards who will search visitors' belongings for counterrevolutionary "contraband."

The hottest ticket of the cold-war craze is probably Wolfgang Becker's "Goodbye Lenin," winner of the 2003 Berlin Film Festival's award for best European picture. The hit comedy tells the story of a freedom-loving Easterner's love for his mother, a devout communist. On seeing her son beaten by GDR police at a protest rally in late 1989, she collapses into a coma, awakening only after the wall has come down and East Germany is history. …