Life in the forbidden zone at the East/West German border

A young Claudia Bierschenk lived in a village surrounded by hills, valleys and thick forests at the edge of a world called the GDR. Listen on Apple PodcastsListen on SpotifyListen on Google PodcastsBecome a Patron! Her great uncle lives in the Forbidden Zone, the area where the East German border is a few metres away … Read more

My life laid bare through secret police files

  What is it like to be under secret police surveillance? On 10 March 1983, 12 year old Carmen Bugan returned from school to find Romanian secret police in her living room. Her father’s protest against the regime had changed her life for ever. In recent years Carmen gained access to the files of the … Read more

A Hungarian childhood in Cold War Romania

    Zsolt Akos Pall was born in a small town in the Hungarian speaking part of Romania.  Listen on Apple PodcastsListen on SpotifyListen on Google Podcasts For ordinary people, life in Romania in the 1980s was very hard and it could be even worse if you were a part of the Hungarian Szekler minority … Read more

A Cold War childhood in Albania

Lea Ypi grew up in one of the most isolated countries on earth, a place where communist ideals had officially replaced religion. Albania, the last Stalinist outpost in Europe, was almost impossible to visit, almost impossible to leave. It was a place of queuing and scarcity, of political executions and secret police. To Lea, it … Read more

Born into a family of Canadian Communists

Fred Weir was a third-generation red diaper baby from Toronto and a long-time member of the party. His uncle, trained at the Lenin School in Moscow in the 1920s as an agent of the Communist International, the Comintern and spent many years in the USSR. Fred had visited a few times, had studied Russian history … Read more

Emanuela – a Cold War Romanian Childhood

    Listen on Apple PodcastsListen on SpotifyListen on Google Podcasts   Emanuela Grama was born in the mid-1970s’ in a small provincial town in Eastern Romania. She proved us with a great insight into life in the Romanian provinces during the 1980s.  Emanuela lived in a small two-bedroom flat and tells of her parents … Read more

A Czechoslovak family’s escape to Austria

We continue Drea Hahn’s story with her family’s escape to Austria and the realities of being a refugee. In 1986, under the pretext of a “ski trip” to Yugoslavia Drea’s family escaped to Austria. We hear about the sadness of being unable to tell anyone they were leaving and how her relatives were summoned to … Read more

Drea – A Czechoslovak childhood

Drea Hahn was born in Czechoslovakia in 1980 in Teplice. Her mother was a secretary and her father was an engineer but refused to join the communist party and this was a source of tension in Drea’s family. She was partly raised by her grandparents and her grandmother shared stories about growing up in “the … Read more

Advanced English studies in Moscow during the 1970s and 80s

Vadim was at school in Moscow during the 1970s and 80s. He attended an Advanced English Studies School where all subjects were taught however, the focus was on English. He provides us with insights into the setup of Soviet education as well as the school life, teaching methods, and pop culture. We hear how the … Read more