Episode 12 – “My Stasi file is as thick as a phone book”

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Album Mark Reeder1

Welcome to Episode 12 of Cold War Conversations.

Today’s guest is someone I’ve been trying to speak to for some time as his story is a particularly fascinating one.

We’re chatting with Mark Reeder a musician and music producer who has been involved in the Berlin and international music scene since 1978, starting as Factory Records German representative from 1978-1983.

Through contacts in the GDR he put on several secret punk gigs behind the Iron Curtain and his Stasi file is described as  “as thick as a phone book”. He is however, denied access to the full file as it remains in the possession of the German Federal Intelligence Service…

He is also the founder and owner of the first East German electronic dance music label Masterminded For Success “MFS” which he started in 1990, after being the only and last Westerner to make an album  in communist East Germany which was “Torture” by Die Vision in 1989.

His is a very interesting and unusual account with some great stories including  how he smuggled a Volksarmee uniform across the Berlin Wall and the unusual currency needed to get your phone fixed.

We join our conversation as Mark describes how he took the popular UK TV show “The Tube” around Berlin.

** Items purchased from the Amazon links will pay Cold War Conversations a small commission to help keep the podcast on the air **

Film

B-Movie: Lust & Sound in West Berlin (1979-1989) – Official Trailer

Books

Once Upon a Time in the East.

Music

Mark’s latest album Mauerstadt

Videos

Jessica – the East German band Mark discovered appearing on British TV

Mark’s band Shark Vegas almost causing an international incident on Glienicke Bridge

Mark’s film about life & music in 1980s West Berlin – B Movie: Lust & Sound in West Berlin (1979-1989) – Official Trailer

Punk, priest, Stasi, spy: Meet the man who smuggled punk into East Berlin – Article about Mark Reeder

2014 Video interview with Mark

1994  video interview with Mark – Part 1 of 3

1994  video interview with Mark – Part 2 of 3

1994  video interview with Mark – Part 3 of 3

Episode 6 – The 1953 East German Uprising with Dr Richard Millington

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TankWelcome you to episode 6 of Cold War Conversations where we talk to about the relatively little known Uprising of 1953 in East Germany.

A lot of focus is on the fall of the Berlin Wall, but it can be argued that the Uprising of 1953 sowed the seeds for the eventual demise of the GDR.

We chat with Dr Richard Millington who has studied the Uprising and shares with us some fascinating research including eyewitness accounts and details from the Stasi files of the period.

Video

Pathe new footage of the Uprising

Footage of GDR uprising 1953. With interview by participant

2 Days of Hope – German TV Drama

Other Links

Erna Dorn “Leader” of the “Fascist Putsch” in Halle

Richard’s Twitter account @DDRonline

Richard’s 17th June 1953 Twitter project web site

8000 Ft Media

Music

Wind of Change – The Scorpions

Leningrad – Billy Joel

Books

State, Society and Memories of the Uprising of 17 June

Anatomy of a Dictatorship – Mary Fulbrook

The People State – Mary Fulbrook

DDR Handbook

Episode 3 – The Strange World of Football in East Germany with Craig McCracken

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East German Football

<Welcome to Episode 3 of Cold War Conversations where we hear about the strange world of football in East Germany and even if you are not interested in football it’s a fascinating chat.

Craig McCracken runs the website, Beyondthelastman.com, described as 20th century football writing and nostalgia in a skilled and cultured groove.

One of his areas of interest is football in the GDR and from our conversation you’ll realise he is a fount of knowledge from BSG Rotation Babelsberg to FC Hansa Rostock and all stops between.

We talk about the nefarious activities of Stasi Chief Erich Mielke and his favourite team, and we cover the only competitive game where the GDR played West Germany in the 1974 World Cup. Craig also describes a Stasi chase through the bazaars of Istanbul to stop player defections and a suspicious death of a former GDR player in West Germany.

I’m delighted to welcome Craig McCracken.

Video

BFC Dynamo vs Locomotive Leipzig – dodgy penalty decision video (in German)

1974 World Cup – GDR anthem played by West German Navy

Jurgen Sparwasser scores the winning goal for the GDR at the 1974 World Cup

GDR last ever international match

The Life of Others – movie trailer

Goodbye Lenin – movie trailor

Text links

The Last Days of East German Football

East Germany’s last international match

FC Karl Marx Stadt – The most beautiful football strip ever! (according to Craig)

Harry Tisch – GDR Trade union leader and Hansa Rostock Supporter

Defection and murder of Lutz Eigendorf

Music

Joy Division – Insight

John Foxx – Underpass

Simple Minds – The American

Ultravox – Mr X

Books

Football State and Society Amazon US link            Amazon UK Link

The Ball is Round Amazon US Link             Amazon UK Link

Stasi  Amazon US link      Amazon UK link

(small affiliate fee from these book links helps pay for Podcast hosting charges)

Episode 7 – Interview with Stasi Child Author David Young

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Stasi Child Interview Final
In Episode 7 we welcome award-winning author David Young who has written the Stasi Child – Karin Müller series of crime thrillers set in East Germany in the mid 1970s.

The series begins in 1975 with Stasi Child, David’s critically-acclaimed debut which was an official Top Twenty paperback bestseller in The Bookseller, won the CWA Endeavour Historical Dagger for best historical crime novel of 2016, and was longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year.

The second in the series, Stasi Wolf, was published in e-book and paperback in February 2017 and A Darker State was released this year in the UK. Two more novels are under contract, making five in all.

Shortlist’s review of Stasi Child reads “Can’t get enough cold-war Germany after Deutschland 83? This is your latest reading companion”

And The Australian wrote “If you are a fan of Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther series, this will appeal. Though it’s stylistically more sober than Kerr’s noirish novels, the Berlin background is just as authentically realized. “

I’m delighted to say I’ve read and enjoyed them all!

Links

The Crossword Puzzle Murder

Anna Maxwell Martin – David choice for the TV role of Karin Muller

Music

The Candy Twins – David’s passport to Eastern Germany

Tender Objects – Here Comes the Rain – David’s second band

Man  – The Album Slow Motion

Books

Stasi Child

Stasi Wolf

A Darker State

The Valley of the Unknowing

DDR Handbook

TV & Films

Weissensee – Stasi Family drama

Polizeiruf 110  GDR Police drama TV Series – The Sweeny GDR style!

Barbara – Film depicting a doctor in the GDR who has applied to leave.

West – depicting a GDR mother coping with life in the West

Spiral – French crime series