June 29, 1990 |
It was an hour after official closing time for the town's only bank, yet 14 weary souls waited quietly in the cheap fluorescent glare as the lone teller labored on. In calmer times, everyone here would have long since been home, the bank's manager, Martina Bengsch, admitted, and she would occasionally see her infant daughter before she went to sleep. But for East Germany, these are not calm times.
March 9, 1990 |
Barely four months ago, the East Germans were basking in the glory of having carried off the first successful German revolution. It has been mostly downhill since. In all of East Europe, no one took communism more seriously than the East Germans, and no one has lost more as a result of its fall. Today, the caretaker government in East Berlin seems powerless, the economy has gone into a tailspin and key institutions such as the army, once the Warsaw Pact's finest, have simply come unstuck.
February 27, 1990 |
Several thousand East Germans applied for the first benefits their government has ever given the unemployed, whose ranks may swell dramatically as the nation moves toward capitalism. At the moment, East Germany has a severe labor shortage because skilled workers continue to leave for West Germany. But industrial production has slowed, and the nation is threatened with financial collapse.
February 2, 1990 |
The burghers in Weimar, the quiet city that recalls Germany's cultural glory and political shame, share the feelings of their countrymen. From the salt-sprayed Baltic coast and the spacious, lake-speckled farmlands of Mecklenburg to the depressed cities of Saxony and the rolling hills of Thuringia, East Germans are gingerly moving toward democracy--confused about the present, deeply unsure about the future.
November 27, 1989 |
East German political parties and opposition groups Sunday proposed Dec. 7 as the date for an unprecedented round-table discussion on free elections. Wolfgang Ullmann, a spokesman for the opposition group Democracy Now, announced the proposal, saying the meeting would be attended by 31 delegates. The groups said they have not received a formal reply from the Communist-dominated government. The government last week proposed round-table talks but gave no start date.
September 30, 1988 |
At the beginning of the 18th Century, pharmacist Johann Friedrich Boettger, reputedly also an alchemist, was instructed by Augustus the Strong, king of Poland and elector of Saxony, to convert base metals into gold. Like others before him, Boettger failed, but he discovered something in the process: how to turn this region's pale clay into fine porcelain, of such quality that it quickly became known as "white gold."