The Harvest - The Aftermath of East Germany′s Fortified Border | Documentaries | DW | 03.07.2012
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The Harvest - The Aftermath of East Germany's Fortified Border

The sleepy village of Klein Vielen in the Baltic region of Mecklenburg is in for a rude awakening: it's the summer of 1990, and East Germany is no more. The winds of change reach even the remotest parts of the country...

The harvest is coming in this year, too

The harvest is coming in this year, too

The village of Klein Vielen lies in the north of what used to be East Germany. The Fall of the Berlin Wall and the opening of the inner-German border made a resounding thud here. A way of life and much of the sense of security that came with it vanished along with the dictatorial state.

10.09.2008 DW-TV Im Focus 3

Klein Vielen

Cameraman Pitt Venherm documented the transition from one era to another in this corner of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Almost 20 years later, he has returned with the reporter Dieter Roser to meet and speak with the same people again. But in many ways, they are not the same, at all.

10.09.2008 DW-TV Im Focus 2

Dirk Evert, Sigmar Hartz and Lothar Brandt reminisce

The Agricultural Production Cooperative, the APC, once dominated village life in Klein Vielen. It provided jobs that the people here thought were secure for life. Now, the APC no longer exists. In its place is a private farmers' cooperative that works almost the same vast area of cropland with state-of-the-art machinery and a fraction of the workforce.

10.09.2008 DW-TV Im Focus 8

Sigmar Hartz back on top of his combine

Before re-unification in 1990, Sigmar Hartz had worked for the APC as a "tractorist" or "harvest captain", as combine drivers were known in socialist jargon. The Fall of the Wall opened the way for him to fulfill a dream and become a truck driver - a dream that didn't last. Today, he's back on top of his combine, bringing in Klein Vielen's 2008 harvest. "Everything - our whole life has changed since the Fall of the Wall", he confirms.

10.09.2008 DW-TV Im Focus 5

Hartmut Lembke as an APC department head in 1990

Barely 30 years old at the time of Germany's re-unification, Hartmut Lembke was a department head for the APC. He has been through good times and bad in the years since then. Now he works on a hotel ship, guiding Danish tourists around his home region in Mecklenburg.

10.09.2008 DW-TV Im Focus 1

Hartmut Lembke shows tourists around his home region in Mecklenburg

Hartmut Lembke stresses that he still sees himself as an "East German". Even so, he wouldn't want the Wall back - "Now you can travel anywhere you like. But in East German days, that was not possible". And then there's Olaf Schultz, who rose from a farmhand on the APC to become a successful hauling contractor - and on the other side of the coin, Ulrike Böker, who promptly lost her job as "tractorist" upon re-unification and has yet to find another in any line of work.

10.09.2008 DW-TV Im Focus 4

Their Consume Store was once the center of village life: Inge and Georg Mittelstädt

Klein Vielen's own "whole life has changed since the Fall of the Wall". Before, the Consume Store was where everyone came to shop and catch up on the gossip. But the Consume closed long ago, and its operators, Inge and Georg Mittelstädt, are long since retired. They have a wealth of memories that they are quite willing to share. The people of Klein Vielen gather at the annual village festival and revive a feeling of community between them that many seem to have lost in their daily lives.

10.09.2008 DW-TV Im Focus 7

Inge and Georg Mittelstädt today

This two-part documentary intercuts video footage from 1990 and new material. It captures the former East German countryside in tasteful, contemplative images that provide insight into and speak volumes about East-West sensibilities - and even more about the people, their hopes, disappointments, happiness and sufferings.

Broadcasting Times - The Harvest, Part 1:

DW-TV
FRI 03.10.2008 - 18:30 UTC
SAT 04.10.2008 - 06:30 UTC
SUN 05.10.2008 - 12:30 UTC

DW-TV USA/LATIN AMERICA
FRI 03.10.2008 - 18:30 UTC
SAT 04.10.2008 - 06:30 UTC
SUN 05.10.2008 - 12:30 UTC

Broadcasting Times - The Harvest, Part 2:

DW-TV
FRI 10.10.2008 - 18:30 UTC
SAT 11.10.2008 - 06:30 UTC
SUN 12.10.2008 - 12:30 UTC

DW-TV USA/LATIN AMERICA
FRI 10.10.2008 - 18:30 UTC
SAT 11.10.2008 - 06:30 UTC
SUN 12.10.2008 - 12:30 UTC

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