7. Female models . Several women pointed out to me that GDR models weren’t anorexic waifs or larger-than-life sex bombs but rather average women. There was no East German Kate Moss. In fact, many weren’t professionals at all but hobby models. Leafing through a few old copies of magazines like Für Dich ( For You ) and Modische Maschen ( Fashionable Stitches ) most of the clothes look dowdy and, indeed, the models are everyday women — though, naturally, on the pretty side. They certainly wear less make up and show less skin than those in Vogue . There are no sex tips, but rather an emphasis on work, motherhood, and party politics. For all their libertine body culture, it all strikes me as awfully prude.
Dorge gave me a piece of the metal mesh border fence as a souvenir before handing us over in the pretty town of Hohegeiss to our next guide, his former colleague Manfred Gille. He led us on a steep path through a spectacular pine forest that was so thick and dark it would have been the ideal setting for a Grimm fairytale. In a clearing near the East German village of Sorge, he pointed out how the tilling of the earth in search of landmines inadvertently churned up seeds and helped a wealth of birch and pine saplings to take root all along the former border. There are still bare patches, however, where industrial weed-killer sprayed by GDR authorities to ensure unbroken views of their borders, have killed all the nutrients.