Sunday, March 28, 2010

die Mauer -- the Berlin Wall

Not NZ history, I know, but a find made at the Avondale Sunday Market today caught my fancy. When the Berlin Wall came down, chunks of the wall were sold off as souvenirs. Many of them don't have true provenance, so I can't say the two chunks I do have in the collection are really from Berlin. Or from a wall. Although the paint on them seems similar.

But when I saw this, I had to have it. Even just for a wry chuckle.

That looks, for all the world, like an East German Trabant, or "Traby". According to Wiki:

"With its mediocre performance, smoky two-stroke engine, and production shortages, the Trabant is often cited as an example of the disadvantages of centralized planning; on the other hand, it is regarded with derisive affection as a symbol of the failed former East Germany and of the fall of communism (in former West Germany, as many East Germans streamed into West Berlin and West Germany in their Trabants after the opening of the Berlin Wall in 1989)"
Another view of the wee car.

So -- political comment, or just decoration on a piece of masonry? Considering I got it for a dollar, and it gave friends of mine a chuckle when I showed them down at the market this morning -- I'll go with the former. On the card that went inside the little display case was the Berlin bear (top of post), and an image of part of the mural on the wall before it came down.


  1. Funnily enough I was reading an old National Geographic about the day the wall came down. It was a world shattering event. Genuine or not what you've got there is a reminder of a change in the Eastern Block. I still remember Ronald Regan's speech in West Berlin "Bring this wall down" and indeed it fell. Great post.

  2. If the Trabby stopped working, you could fix it with wire and string. 1989 wasn't it? We were so busy with house renovations, I missed a lot of the wall coming down, but not all of it. It was a wonderful bit of history to experience, even if just by the radio.

  3. Was watching a doco on the anniversary of the wall coming down recently and there are so many collectors who have whole sections of the wall and are devoted to tracking down parts or photos to reconstruct missing bits - one guy even made sections out of polystyrene, copying the murals and shape perfectly.

  4. Well, he can't have my possible bits of the wall -- but I'd always arrange photos. Cheers, all!