A West German in the East

I was born in Schweinfurt, Germany, in 1984. Immediatly after birth we moved to Warsaw, then Prague where my father worked in the German Embassy. I have fun memories of Prague where I went to an International School and started to learn English and some Czech. Little did I realise at the time that as the child of a foreign Diplomat I was being “supervised” by nannies, drivers and others who were in fact working for the KGB. The house and car were bugged and we were followed at a discrete distance everywhere we went. How my parents lived with that I will never understand. When the GDR started to crumble, a huge wave of East German migrants swept across Prague and made their way to the West German Embassy where my father worked. He was caught up trying to process tens of thousands of people who were in political limbo, as well as trying to provide for their basic needs. I could not understand what was going on at the time, but spoke about it with him many years later. Once the situation had been resolved we moved to Bonn, the then West German capital. Many years later my father would finish his last posting with the foreign ministry in Moscow, thus completing his cycle of work in the east of europe. I moved around Europe and Asia, eventually settling in Birmingham in 2002. Looking back there are obvious parallels to the movement of east german (“Zonies” as they were derogatively known), and the recent migration of people from Africa and the middle east. Both groups of people are seeking to escape desperate situations and improve their lives, for which they are scapegoated and left languishing under conditions that are at best less than desirable. Regimes, leaders and states will come and go. This is the way of human history. Mutual aid and respect for others are the qualities we as people, regardless of citizenship or belief system, should always put first.

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Created: 7 Jul 2019, 7:38 a.m.

Nationality: German