Snooping, Schnacks & Side Effects

Most of his friends were also Ossis who enjoyed their Ossi Party Kult with shots of Pfeffi — a green, minty-fresh, sickly-sweet schnapps — and East German party snacks, which I often referred to as ‘schnacks’, which amused no-one. These parties functioned like clockwork: ‘schnacks’ and shots at someone’s house, cigarettes in the kitchen, obnoxious behaviour on the tram to get to some party, which was always close to, but never in, Berlin’s famous clubs. I often felt as though his friends would just ‘make-do’, never aspiring for anything amazing and never allowing pleasure from food, tasteful art or transcendent beats. It was beer and schnapps over martinis or wine; speed over MDMA. I was hit with the same questions over and over about Australia: whether I surfed, how I handled the cold, etcetera etcetera. I mostly probed them with questions about the GDR and if they or their family had seen their Stasi files. None of them had. None of their parents had. None of them knew the secret of his that I knew. The weight of unexposed knowledge for the Stasi informers must have been heavy.

– An excerpt from a personal essay about the repercussions of life in the former GDR in modern Berlin.