A trip across Central Europe on a East German MZ motorbike

  MZ was an East German motorcycle manufacturer located in Zschopau, Saxony. The acronym MZ stands for Motorenwerke Zschopau GmbH (German for Zschopau engine factory). In the 1980s MZ was regarded by the British motorcycle press as producing ugly and old-fashioned (if worthy) motorcycles however, there was a hard-core set of UK fans who loved … Read more

Imprisoned in a Soviet Military gaol – a BRIXMIS officer’s diary Pt 2

This is the 2nd part of my interview with Lt Col. Stephen Harrison, MBE who served for two years as a full-time Touring Officer with BRIXMIS. The tours were hazardous three-man, vehicle-borne patrols collecting intelligence on the Warsaw Pact forces in East Germany for up to five days and nights over a series of four-month … Read more

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

A Mormon missionary in Cold War East Germany

In the early 1980s East Germany had just 5000 members of the Church of Latter-day Saints, many of which had been members since before World War 2. In 1982 East German leader Erich Honecker historically allowed the church to build a temple in Freiberg and in 1988 Mormon missionaries were allowed into East Germany. Ken … Read more

A photojournalist in Cold War Eastern Europe

During the 1970s and 1980s, Arthur Grace travelled extensively behind the Iron Curtain, working primarily for news magazines. One of only a small corps of Western photographers with ongoing access, he was able to delve into the most ordinary corners of people’s daily lives, while also covering significant events. His remarkable book Communism(s) A Cold … Read more

Cold War number stations

You might remember listening to short wave radio during the Cold War and coming across weird transmissions of metallic voices reciting random groups of numbers through the ether.  These are number stations, shortwave radio stations characterised by broadcasts of formatted numbers, which were being sent to spies operating in foreign countries. Number stations were used … Read more