Transitioning From Web Developer to Comic Book Author:

Eisenach and Wartburg Castle

We just got back from a weekend trip to Eisenach, where we stayed in the small with Sebastian’s parents (Sebastian is our good friend and neighbor in Magdeburg). in a neighboring village called Schnellmannshausen. This is a village with maybe 100 houses, certainly several sheep, a beautiful stream, rolling hills and some lovely German folk.

Along with visiting the Wartburg castle, which was a tiring but fun adventure, one of the more interesting events during our stay was just sitting at the dinning table, talking with Sebastian’s parents about Germany’s history–specifically East Germany. See, they lived in east Germany their entire lives. Until 1989, they lived under the rule of the DDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik). Sebastian’s grandparents, who live downstairs in the same house, remember life before WWII and the aftermath split of the country.

This just blows my mind.

When I see an old person in Seattle, I think, oh, nice, you must have seen a lot in your life. But in Germany, when I see an old person on the tram–or meet in a friend’s house, I’m totally at a loss. They lived through Nazi Germany, and, most likely in Magdeburg and in other parts of eastern Germany, probably lived in the DDR.

Fred and Rita, Sebastian’s parents, took us near the east/west Germany border, a short drive (just over the hill) from their house in Schnellmannshausen. They pointed out the area that the Stasi patrolled and explained the areas where you could, at the time of the DDR, encounter land mines and auto-firing border protection weaponry. Prisoners in their own land. They showed us the papers that allowed them to travel in and out of their town (within the rest of East Germany), which was specially guarded and identification enforced because of it’s location. Rita even had a receipt for an automobile request she made, which had a 20 year waiting list in the DDR. They explained all about the corruption and problems with the socialist experiment and how it broke down. Fred was even offered to become part of the Stasi, which he obviously declined.

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