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A group of teens sitting around a fountain in East Berlin, 1970s. Source: Thomas Hoepker

During the Cold War and following the construction of the Berlin Wall, many parts of the world had few ways of fully ascertaining what life was like in East Germany. Indeed, the Eastern Bloc state was isolated from the West in both physical and ideological senses for decades.

Aided substantially by the Internet, years after the wall came down photographers from behind the Iron Curtain have been able to disseminate images of “closed” life to the public, giving us visual insights into the many differences – and similarities, at least superficially – between East German and Western life:

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Children playing with a soccer ball at the Berlin Wall in 1963. Source: Thomas Hoepker

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Source: A ‘hooligan’ in East Berlin, 1987. Hooligans are members of punk gangs usually organized around a particular soccer club. Harald Hauswald

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During an airshow in Magdeburg, Germany in 1974 a soldier and a woman spend some personal time together. Source: Thomas Hoepker

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Two men in East Berlin deliver coal to apartments in the city, 1974. Source: Thomas Hoepker

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German women planting potatoes in a field in 1975. Source: Thomas Hoepker

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A couple out dancing and enjoying themselves in an East German establishment. Source: Harald Hauswald

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A young couple getting close on the sidewalk as a ‘hooligan’ looks on. Source: Harald Hauswald

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A group of Sorbic youth gathers on their motorcycles near Hoyerswerda, Germany: 1975. Source: Thomas Hoepker

Erin Kelly
Erin Kelly is a freelance writer, artist and video editor that splits her time between the humid Midwest and the dusty corners of her mind.
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