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Black snow in summer. Seen through a child’s eyes, it’s just as beautiful falling from the sky as the white flakes in winter. The black snow was emitted by the gasworks. At the beginning of the 1980s, Prenzlauer Berg was still submerged in the air of the early industrial age. As if Nina Hagen’s Michael had “forgotten the colour film” again. But childhood and youth were still normal and sheltered, and the air was thick in the West, too. While the Fehlfarben were bawling on about a “grey veil over the city”, teenagers in the East were singing the Thälmann “pioneer lied” in mass sing-songs. Whooping cough and big boys were feared on both sides, and in Prenzlauer Berg there were still soapbox cars, aluminium chips, and a coal merchant with a horse-drawn carriage. The soapboxes were actually Trabant cars, and the aluminium chips were East German coins. They could be used to make rings if you laid them on the tram tracks. Prettier than anything made on the “training day in production”, which was about as exciting as contact with working people or school in general. Betina Kuntzsch wanted to be a cosmonaut one day.

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