69 episodes

Radio GDR. Life in the former East Germany holds an ongoing fascination for a lot of people. Join us as we learn more about the former East Germany.

Radio German Democratic Republic is a podcast designed to educate and inform on the life and times of East Germany. Radio GDR is hosted by Steven Minegar and John Paul Kleiner.

Radio GDR - East Germany Podcast Steven Minegar

    • History
    • 4.6 • 42 Ratings

Radio GDR. Life in the former East Germany holds an ongoing fascination for a lot of people. Join us as we learn more about the former East Germany.

Radio German Democratic Republic is a podcast designed to educate and inform on the life and times of East Germany. Radio GDR is hosted by Steven Minegar and John Paul Kleiner.

    How the Grey Disappeared from Greyland - Part 1 of my conversation with Herta Peter

    How the Grey Disappeared from Greyland - Part 1 of my conversation with Herta Peter

    Hello Radio GDR listeners! I am so pleased to bring you the first episode of two with my new friend Herta Peter. My favorite thing about doing this podcast is hearing stories from those of you who lived in the GDR. Your stories are always extremely compelling, and we welcome them with open arms. History deserves to be preserved, and Radio GDR has been here to do it.
     
    Herta was born in Halle in 1981. While she was only 8 when the wall fell, her memories of her childhood in the GDR to two parents who lived during the country's entire existence are simply amazing. Having family in West Germany, Herta received care packages she had to keep a secret when at school. Upon reaching pension age, her grandmother was able to visit the west but could never shake the habit of whispering, a survival tactic learned in the repressive East where, like the Three Monkeys one saw no evil, heard no evil and said no evil. Just listen for her story of the Soviet tank driver who made a mess no one ever talked about.
     
    From her memories of what she says were the "various shades of grey" she saw in the GDR, she has written and is working to publish a children's book about her memories - How the Grey Disappeared from Greyland. It's a compelling short story about the arrival of a colorful package in the land of grey, a representation of the care packages she got from the West.
     
    In our first episode, we'll hear about Herta's life in the GDR, and in the second, we'll learn how it inspired her book and the lessons she believes life in the GDR can teach us today. Let's dive in with Herta Peter as she brings the first part of her story to life here on Radio GDR.
    Our ability to bring you stories from behind the Berlin Wall is dependent on monthly donors like you. Visit us at https://www.radiogdrpodcast.com/p/support-the-podcast/ to contribute. For the price of a Berliner Pilsner, you can feel good you are contributing to preserve one of the most important pieces of Cold War history.
    If you feel more comfortable leaving us a review to help us get more listeners, we appreciate it very much and encourage you to do so wherever you get your podcasts or at https://www.radiogdrpodcast.com/reviews/new/.
    For discussions about podcast episodes and GDR history, please do join our Facebook discussion group. Just search Radio GDR in Facebook.
    Vielen dank for being a listener!

    • 46 min
    Special Announcement - new website (radiogdrpodcast.com) and season 4 is coming!

    Special Announcement - new website (radiogdrpodcast.com) and season 4 is coming!

    Hello everyone! Season 4 is coming! We also have a new domain this season - radiogdrpodcast.com. Please do visit us soon to tell us your GDR story! I'll be updating show notes across old episodes so you can the same great content at our new website.
    Season 4 is coming! Look forward to announcing more details soon.
    Our ability to bring you stories from behind the Berlin Wall is dependent on monthly donors like you. Visit us at https://www.radiogdrpodcast.com/p/support-the-podcast/ to contribute. For the price of a Berliner Pilsner, you can feel good you are contributing to preserve one of the most important pieces of Cold War history.
    If you feel more comfortable leaving us a review to help us get more listeners, we appreciate it very much and encourage you to do so wherever you get your podcasts or at https://www.radiogdrpodcast.com/reviews/new/.
    For discussions about podcast episodes and GDR history, please do join our Facebook discussion group. Just search Radio GDR in Facebook.
    Vielen dank for being a listener!

    • 1 min
    Attila The Stockbroker

    Attila The Stockbroker

    In this episode John Paul Kleiner (GDR Objectified blog) speaks with Attila the Stockbroker, an English poet, musician and songwriter with roots in the punk movement and socialist politics. During his forty year career as independent artist, Attila has produced numerous albums and books and performed more than 3,800 shows including many in the GDR and, after unification, eastern Germany.
    In this conversation, Attila vividly recalls his visits to the East, the people whom he met there and aspects of the Workers and Peasants State which were an inspiration and other which left him disgusted.
    Find Attila’s active Facebook page by clicking here.
    Learn more about his books and albums on Bandcamp
    There’s a great mini-doc of Attila done a few years back by filmmaker Farouq Suleiman that gives a great sense of his energy and art on YouTube here.
    You can hear poem and song “This is Free Europe” inspired by Attila’s experiences at a 1992 gig in Hoyerswerda here.
    Glossary of terms

    Laibach: a Slovenian based music group / avant-garde art project which incorporates totalitarian aesthetics into a variety of musical styles to unsettling effect.
    A-Levels: university qualifying exams for British secondary school students
    John Peel was a DJ for the BBC between 1967 and 2004 during which time he helped popularize a number of musical genres including psychedelic and progressive rock as well as punk.
    New Town Neurotics are an English melodic punk band formed in 1979 and whose work took a decidedly political turn with the advent of Thatcherism in the U.K. It was through his connections to this group that Attila first made his way to the GDR.
    In the 1980s, the multiethnic London neighbourhood of Brixton was best known as a site of great social unrest due to widespread poverty and strained relations between residents and police. In more recent years, the area has undergone considerable gentrification, but echoes of
    Buna and Leuna: in the GDR-era, these two large-scale chemical combines were essential economic drivers and creators of truly appalling environmental degradation. Read more on the impact these facilities had on the East German environment in this post from the GDR Objectified blog.
    Bündnis 90 / Alternative Linke: Alliance ’90 and Alternative Left were left-oriented political movements which emerged from the foment of anti-SED protests in the mid- to late-1980s in the GDR.
    Die Skeptiker (The Sceptics) are a German punk band originally formed in East Berlin in 1986. While critical of the realities of ‘real-existing socialism’, the band were keen to carve out a place for themselves in the GDR music scene and used opportunities open to them within the system (incl. officially sanctioned live shows and appearances on GDR radio and new music compilation albums) to present their music to as wide an audience as possible.
    Our ability to bring you stories from behind the Berlin Wall is dependent on monthly donors like you. Visit us at https://www.eastgermanypodcast.com/p/support-the-podcast/ to contribute. For the price of a Berliner Pilsner, you can feel good you are contributing to preserve one of the most important pieces of Cold War history.
    If you feel more comfortable leaving us a review to help us get more listeners, we appreciate it very much and encourage you to do so wherever you get your podcasts or at https://www.eastgermanypodcast.com/reviews/new/.
    For discussions about podcast episodes and GDR history, please do join our Facebook discussion group. Just search Radio GDR in Facebook.
    Vielen dank for being a listener!

    • 43 min
    Taking Stock with Victor Grossman, Part II: Why The GDR Failed

    Taking Stock with Victor Grossman, Part II: Why The GDR Failed

    In 1952, a 24-year old American soldier defected to the Eastern Bloc in order to avoid a US Army disciplinary hearing and what he feared would be draconian punishment for his involvement in socialist and communist politics in the United States. This decision put his life on an entirely new trajectory, one that left him with a new name, Victor Grossman, and left him in the then young German Democratic Republic, a country that became his home for the remaining 37+ years of his existence. A committed socialist, Grossman identified closely with the aims of the East German state, but always maintained a critical perspectives on his new home.
    Over two discussions with Radio GDR host John Paul Kleiner, Grossman takes stock of “the workers and peasants state,” talking about its successes and why it failed.
    John Paul would like to give special thanks to his friend Marcus Funck in Berlin for assistance with this interview. Without this help, it wouldn’t have happened, so thank you, Marcus!
    For more resources on Victor Grossman, including information on his book, please visit https://www.eastgermanypodcast.com/s3e20
    Our ability to bring you stories from behind the Berlin Wall is dependent on monthly donors like you. Visit us at https://www.eastgermanypodcast.com/p/support-the-podcast/ to contribute. For the price of a Berliner Pilsner, you can feel good you are contributing to preserve one of the most important pieces of Cold War history.
    If you feel more comfortable leaving us a review to help us get more listeners, we appreciate it very much and encourage you to do so wherever you get your podcasts or at https://www.eastgermanypodcast.com/reviews/new/.
    For discussions about podcast episodes and GDR history, please do join our Facebook discussion group. Just search Radio GDR in Facebook.
    Vielen dank for being a listener!

    • 35 min
    Berliners: Vesper Stamper's tale of twins divided by the Berlin Wall and thoughts on viewing the Cold War through historical fiction

    Berliners: Vesper Stamper's tale of twins divided by the Berlin Wall and thoughts on viewing the Cold War through historical fiction

    I am truly honored to be joined today by author and illustrator Vesper Stamper who in 2022 published Berliners, a historical fiction about two twin brothers, Rudi and Peter, who end up divided by their views of the GDR and then, quite literally, by the Berlin Wall. This is a must read, guys. Listen as we talk to Vesper about how the theme of "history rhymes" inspired this book, how the characters reckon with Judaism, race and their Nazi pasts and how each twin develops opposing views of the GDR that have lasting consequences. Keep your eye out for the Stasi in this one too, guys, and look out for Vesper's beautiful illustrations which make you pause to meditatively reflect on the story. The book is Berliners by Vesper Stamper, and also check out her other novels What the Night Sings and a Cloud of Outrageous Blue. You will not be disappointed when you pick these up.
     
    For more about Vesper and Berliners, check out these links
     
    www.vesperillustration.com
     
    Berliners
    Our ability to bring you stories from behind the Berlin Wall is dependent on monthly donors like you. Visit us at  https://www.eastgermanypodcast.com/p/support-the-podcast/ to contribute. For the price of a Berliner Pilsner, you can feel good you are contributing to preserve one of the most important pieces of Cold War history.
    If you feel more comfortable leaving us a review to help us get more listeners, we appreciate it very much and encourage you to do so wherever you get your podcasts or at https://www.eastgermanypodcast.com/reviews/new/.
    For discussions about podcast episodes and GDR history, please do join our Facebook discussion group. Just search Radio GDR in Facebook.
    Vielen dank for being a listener!

    • 56 min
    Why The GDR Fascinates Me: Kris Hinz's Reflections on his Father's Time in the GDR and the Country's Legacy Today

    Why The GDR Fascinates Me: Kris Hinz's Reflections on his Father's Time in the GDR and the Country's Legacy Today

    Hello everyone, and welcome to yet another incredible episode of Radio GDR. We are on episode 3 of 3 of our listener interviews to round out season 3. I hope you have enjoyed hearing about fellow listeners' interest in the GDR as much as I have. In our final listener interview, I have the honor of speaking to Kris Hinz of Australia, who was adopted from Sri Lanka to a German dad who visited the GDR often to see family. Kris' memories of his father's trips and how they influenced his father's perceptions of the GDR color his own opinions of what the country's legacy is today. Here how Kris reflects on his father's experiences, his view of Ostalgie and how he weighs both the positive and negative aspects of the GDR. We appreciate you being a loyal listener, Kris, and are grateful for your interview as well. Thank you!
     
    Our ability to bring you stories from behind the Berlin Wall is dependent on monthly donors like you. Visit us at  https://www.eastgermanypodcast.com/p/support-the-podcast/ to contribute. For the price of a Berliner Pilsner, you can feel good you are contributing to preserve one of the most important pieces of Cold War history.
    If you feel more comfortable leaving us a review to help us get more listeners, we appreciate it very much and encourage you to do so wherever you get your podcasts or at https://www.eastgermanypodcast.com/reviews/new/.
    For discussions about podcast episodes and GDR history, please do join our Facebook discussion group. Just search Radio GDR in Facebook.
    Vielen dank for being a listener!

    • 59 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
42 Ratings

42 Ratings

rubaduka ,

Great historical podcast

I enjoy the content. Not a fan of Communism, but interesting!

dtrian124 ,

Keep up the great work!!!

This one of the only programs that truly covers the DDR in all aspects. Please keep up the great work!!

JRCtx ,

Trite and Simple

The announcer constantly directs his guest into a funneled conversation focusing largely on the faults of East Germany. What you get instead is the typical US State Department, western textbook caricaturization of a socialist state (ie over simplified representation of the oppressive, stupid, people completely isolated, terror state). I guess I would equate this show to a type of morbid fascination or maybe propaganda project rather than (or disguised as) an effort to really understand a part of history. Interview with Victor Grossman was worth a listen but not much else.

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