Photographs by

Mark B. Anstendig

Jochen Engel

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These double exposures are of a display for a Consumer Health Program in East Berlin in the main building on the Stalin Allee. East Berlin was the only place where visitors and representatives of the Eastern and Western Worlds could mingle before the wall. Even after the Wall, foreigners could still mingle in East Berlin. Therefore, the East block went to great trouble to put their best foot forward and create the impression of a happy, free society, which it, of course, was not. Such displays as the above were set in the most accessible area of East Berlin to impress visitors.

Jochen, the friend from East Berlin, with whom I traveled to Leipsig, had a job as a display decorator. These were sought-after jobs in the  East, as they gave the workers some freedom of movement, did not keep the worker at a boring work desk or machine, had a good deal of variety, and allowed a modicum of artistic expression. There was also a good amount of collegiality among one's fellow workers, which was exceedingly rare in East Germany, where one couldn't readily trust even one's neighbors. So much so that, after the Wall, when I was  able to arrange to get some people out of East Berlin, Jochen decided not to go. A decision he may have ultimately regretted, when it was too late.

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