From German Democratic Republic to Federal Republic of Germany

The children and adolescents born after 1990 are no longer familiar with the German Democratic Republic, they have no first-hand knowledge of it, they have not seen the Wall, they only know from their parents or grandparents, from their history lessons, from movies or photos what it might have been like before the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The first series of photographs of Angelika Kampfer and Ewald Hentze shows how “exotic” this world of the GDR 1989 appears to us today. Immediately after the fall of the Wall the two photographers set out to take pictures of people – children, women and men at their jobs, in kindergardens and in factories – in a state that everybody knew would soon cease to exist or would undergo fundamental changes.
In 1992 Angelika Kampfer and Ewald Hentze started out again to take photos of the same people. Much had changed in those two years. It seems that the labourer, THE protagonist of the old GDR as the labourers’ and farmers’ paradise, disappeared. Angelika Kampfer does not show the emptiness of factories and slag heaps, she shows the workers without work as early pensioners in their gardens.
In 2005 Angelika Kampfer set out again on a photo trip. The buildings photographed in 1992 remind us to a large extent of the early 20th century. Since then the factories that have survived have been modernized, new trade shops have been established, schools have been renovated. Within a period of just 15 years a clean world of white collar workers has emerged, a totally rationalized world. People cope with it, some much better than before, some less.

Dr. Monika Flacke, Böhlau Verlag, 2006

„The rubber boats were fit for the open sea, but we were not allowed to use them along the coast of the Baltic Sea.
In the times of the old GDR we could spend our holidays only in the Cech Republic, once we were assigned to a campground near Prag. We had a cottage there, we were lucky, it was ok. The assignment was made by another branch of our factory. We don’t have a car, but we still have our “Schwalbe”. We are no longer unemployed and earn our own money. You can’t even afford to be ill, you lose your job right away. And we won’t get another one.”

Klaus Buchholz, 2006