The Trabant in Transition

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THE TRABANT A Look at its Significance Through The Ages :

THE TRABANT A Look at its Significance Through The Ages

The Emergence of the Trabant:

The Emergence of the Trabant East Germany 1957 Small, Spacious, Fast, Affordable, East to Repair “Satellite” “Companion”, inspired by Soviet Sputnik Lifespan = 28 years


Trabant Made out of Duroplast: a form of plastic containing resign strengthened recycled wool or cotton  cheap!


Trabant Challenged collectivity with a sense of independence and freedom Western consumerism Enhance status and mobility


Trabant Ketman: capitalist ideals hidden from socialism, self-realization against something, identity making Draculic readings: transition from socialism to post-socialism, consumer goods=sense of identity/class (make-up, toilet paper) Verdery: socialist production= hoarding and bargaining

Trabant Video:

Trabant Video

The Trabant in Transition:

The Trabant in Transition The Trabant was the car used by many East Germans to cross the border into West Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9 th , 1989. Thus it became a symbol of the reunification of East and West Germany. Despite this, many abandoned their Trabants in favor of second-hand Western cars which were more attractive, better produced, and more environmentally friendly. Mural of a Trabant by Birgit Kinder on a segment of the Berlin Wall “More than any other object, it facilitated and represented the arrival of the East German.”


Humor… Trabants were the butt of many jokes created by and spread amongst West Germans. After the initial euphoria of the fall of the Berlin Wall, there was a rise in West German antagonism against East Germans as they began to crowd the Western half of the city. In addition to expressing their anger at East Germans through these jokes, West Germans also committed acts of physical violence, such as slitting the tires on and setting fire to many Trabants. “ The Trabi allowed aggression toward the Other to be displaced onto an inanimate object and physically distinguishable symbol of that Other.”

Trabi Jokes:

Trabi Jokes How do you double the value of a Trabi ? Fill it up with gas . How many people does it take to produce a Trabant? Two . One to fold, the other to glue . A Mercedes 500 comes to an intersection. The driver asks the passenger: ‘Is it clear?’ He answers, ‘Yes, to the right a Trabi is approaching and to the left it is also clear. What is the difference between a woman’s panties and a Trabi ? Nothing , they both prevent traffic (sexual intercourse ).

Go Trabi Go!:

Go Trabi Go! My body and soul long for hot sun I’m taking my chances today The engine, it sounds like a steel drum There’s nothing that’s left in the way A trip full of thrilling adventures The feeling excitingly new Don’t wonder why we’re taking off now So suddenly out of the blue Westward Ho! Trabi, Go! Hit the road to the sun Let’s take off and have fun On or done Westward ho, Trabi go! Trabi go! We’ll fly over valleys and mountains We’ll always remember these days I’m dreaming of blue sea and fountains The sun bids all troubles away Above me the sky seems so endless I’m free like a bird on the wing The air full of music and action I’m feeling it under my skin Westward Ho! Trabi , Go ! Hit the road to the sun Let’s take off and have fun On or done Westward ho, Trabi go ! (Instrumental) Westward ho! Trabi go! Hit the road to the sun Let’s take off and have fun On or done Westward ho, Trabi go! Trabi go! Go Trabi go! Go Trabi go! Trabi go! Trabi go! Go Trabi! G-go Trabi! Go Trabi, go, g-go Trabi go! Trabi Go! Trabi Go!

Trabi Production:

Trabi Production Following the reunification of East and West Germany on October 3 rd , 1990 the demand for Trabants plummeted. East Germans experienced a period of Konsumnachholbedarf (need to catch up on consuming) where they bought predominantly West German products. Factories that produced Trabants either went out of business or were privatized by larger companies (ex. Volkswagen), similar to how Gerber privatized the Alima Fruit and Vegetable Processing Company in “ Privatizing Poland ”.

The Trabant Today: Nostalgia:

The Trabant Today: Nostalgia Noisy, ugly and most of all, unreliable, Trabants became a symbol of everything that was wrong with Soviet Bloc communism. “ If there was any doubt about who won the Cold War, look no further than this: When the Iron Curtain finally came down, Tabbies were being traded for Levis blue jeans. " Western Germany: people here are more apt to remember the Trabant as an example of romantic pluck than of Communist ineptness. Today, the defanged Trabant conjures up nothing but love. "But we treasured things in those days. The Trabant was a symbol: You had your family, you had a house, and you even had a car." The Trabant's nostalgic appeal extends to other former communist states, many of which imported the car : Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic .

The Trabant Today: Ostalgie:

The Trabant Today: Ostalgie East Germans began to reminisce about some of the more attractive elements of socialism which didn’t always exist in a capitalist world. Ost : East Nostalgie : Nostalgia Trabants were symbolic of what they yearned for and became popular again as collector’s items. This symbolism has been demonstrated recently in popular films. Goodbye Lenin! The Lives of Others

The Trabant Today: Society:

The Trabant Today: Society NATO Used by former Bulgarian foreign minister to take NATO secretaries for rides. Historical Icon In 2005, which had become a symbol of Bulgaria's NATO accession, to the National Historical Museum of Bulgaria. Religion The prime minister's trabant was also blessed by Pope John Paul II in 2002. Politics The Deputy Head of Mission in the British Embassy of Budapest uses a green trabant as his diplomatic car. Pop Culture Used by U2 for music video.

The Trabant Today: Revival:

The Trabant Today: Revival In the late 1990s, there were plans to put the Trabant back into production in Uzbekistan as the Olimp. However, only a single model was produced. Increased presence (via ostalgie): “G rown larger in death than it was in life. ” In January 2008 Herpa, a German company that makes die-cast model cars, acquired the rights to the Trabant name . T eamed up with another German company to make a car they are calling the new Trabi .

The Trabant Today: Revival:

The Trabant Today: Revival U nveiled on September 17 th at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show . The 2012 Trabant will be an electric car . K eeps most of the lines of the original model . T he car will come in a four-door hatchback body style. P owered by an electric motor . ( get it's juice from a solar panel mounted on the roof of the car ) B e able to run for 250 km on a single charge of the battery.

The 2012 Trabant:

The 2012 Trabant

Bibliography: Images:

Bibliography: Images,r:2,s: 0,r:8,s:15&tx=43&ty=73 Avery

Bibliography: Images:

Bibliography: Images,r:1,s:0&tx=105 &ty=98,r :2,s:0 1t:429,r:1,s:0 Avery


Bibliography Verdery, Katherine. What was socialism, and what comes next?. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996. Drakulic, Slavenka. How we survived communism and even laughed. London: Hutchinson, 1992. Avery


Bibliography Dunn, Elizabeth C. Privatizing Poland: Baby Food, Big Business, and the Remaking of Labor . Ithaca : Cornell UP, 2004. Print. Go Trabi Go Trailer Deutsch/German Part 1 . YouTube . 18 June 2010. Web. 01 Dec. 2011. <>. Go Trabi Go VHS Cover . Photograph. Wikipedia . Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 10 Nov. 2009. Web. 01 Dec. 2011. <>. Neely , Brett. "East German Brands Thrive 20 Years after End of Communism | Business | Deutsche Welle | 03.10.2009." Home | Deutsche Welle . Ed. Andreas Illmer. 10 Mar. 2009. Web. 01 Dec. 2011. <http:// ,,4752593,00.html>. " Ostalgie or Berlin's Past." What to Wee in Berlin, Berlin Blog . 30 Jan. 2009. Web. 01 Dec . 2011. <>. Photograph . BBC News . British Broadcasting Corporation, 22 Feb. 2007. Web. 01 Dec. 2011 . <>. Photograph. Web. 01 Dec. 2011. <,_Zwickau,_Trabi_ade.jpg>. Michelle

Bibliography :

Bibliography Stein, Mary B. "The Banana and the Trabant: Representations of the "Other" in a United Germany." Ed. Ernst Schu%u0308rer, Manfred Keune, and Philip Jenkins. The Berlin Wall: Representations and Perspectives . Vol. 79. New York: Peter Lang, 1996. 331-46. Print. Studies in Modern German Literature. Trabant 601 . Photograph. Macrobuddies - Economic Insight and Analysis . Farrokh Langdana Ph.D., Rutgers University, 12 May 2009. Web. 01 Dec. 2011. <>. Trabant Logo . Photograph. Web. 01 Dec. 2011. < en&rlz =1C1SKPI_enUS392&biw=1440&bih=756&tbm=isch&tbnid=0usszUswtBoADM:&imgrefurl= logos_all.html&docid=au73KHC3VLe4xM&imgurl= xHrYTr -DcHv0gG9ztW_ DQ&zoom =1&iact=rc&dur=238&sig=117631404523623672142&sqi=2&page=2&tbnh=79&tbnw=80&ndsp=18&ved=1t:429,r:13,s:18& tx =57&ty=49>. Trabant Mural . Photograph. Classic Cars . Web. 01 Dec. 2011. <>. Michelle

Bibliography: Images :

Bibliography: Images,r:12,s:0 Ellen Carter

Bibliography :

Bibliography Ellen Carter

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