Former European diplomat, the author has travelled extensively in Central and Eastern Europe and recorded on film scenes of daily life, landscapes, cultural events and historic sites. This is an anthology of his photographic archives collected in 40 years of diplomatic activity for Europe.
For the largest part of the authors life, every city, town, village, or any place East of the border of the Federal Republic of Germany with the German Democratic Republic, the “DDR” was “out of bounds” or “off limits”. This was almost the same with any country, which was within the Soviet Union sphere of influence, be it located in the North-East or the South-East of Europe. Virtually they were all not accessible with only some very precise exceptions.
The author had been in Prague as a small child in 1945 with his parents on their flight from the invading Russian Army, He had been in East Berlin, “Capital of the DDR” in 1958 before the building of the Wall and had travelled extensively in, what is now called, the former Yugoslavia in 1966. He had also been for a few days to Budapest on an organised tour from Vienna, the only way to enter Hungary in 1967. Photos of these early adventures are included in this book.
All this changed dramatically just before and after 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down and one country after the other of Central and Eastern Europe became gradually part of the family of Western democracies.
It was thus a great experience, challenge, privilege and opportunity to see, visit and travel in these countries at a crucial moment of their history and at a turning point of their economy. The ensuing photos reflect some of these modifications. Now, more than twenty years later many things have become normal and a new generation has grown up in the East and West looking at those years as history taught in school only.