Authenticity Watch: Ostalgie


 

In the post-historical period there will be neither art nor philosophy, just the perpetual caretaking of the museum of human history. I can feel in myself, and see in others around me, a powerful nostalgia for the time when history existed. Francis Fukuyama,The End of History”

One of the more fascinating examples of that nostalgia is the “Ostalgie” – the longing for the order and security (for some!) of the old Soviet empire. From Good Bye Lenin! to Trabi tours of Nova Huta to Grutas Park (or “Stalin World”) in Lithuania, it’s a phenomenon that isn’t going away anytime soon. 

As a sick sort of side dish to Grutas Park, the Lithuanians have opened “1984: Išgyvenimo Drama,” otherwise known as Survival Drama in a Soviet Bunker:

Experiences include watching TV programs from 1984, wearing gas masks, learning the Soviet anthem under duress, eating typical Soviet food (with genuine Soviet tableware) and even undergoing a concentration-camp-style interrogation and medical check.

The Soviet Bunker is not a theme park for the faint-hearted; all of the actors involved in the project were originally in the Soviet army and some were authentic interrogators, however there are performances tailored specifically for school groups so they know when to cool it, too.

Meanwhile, over in Berlin the former hockey team of the Stasi is helping bridge some old divides.


 
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