Eastern Germany Then and Now

My name is Daniel. I was an English teacher in Seoul, South Korea, and am now a writer who has
published three books including South Korea: Our Story by Daniel Nardini.
                             Just a few months ago, a good friend of my wife’s visited the eastern
part of Germany as part of a tour of the country. Her friend visited the two beautiful cities of
Dresden and Meissen—two cities noted for the beautiful and exquisite porcelain. The other
things Dresden have become noted for is being one of the most visited cities in Germany
today and for its modern railway transportation. Access to the city is more easy than ever. You
can get to Dresden by airplane, high speed train and even bus (if you know the regional
transportation system). The architecture and scale of Dresden and Meissen are impressive to
say the least. It was not always this way. When I was in what used to be called the German
Democratic Republic (also popularly called East Germany or the Communist Germany), 
getting to Dresden was rather hard. Trains did not run that frequently, and they were old. More
than that, under the Communist system non-Germans were carefully looked over and many
parts of Dresden still remained in ruins as they had after World War II (the East German
government not having and not putting any money into reconstruction). As for buying the
famed Dresden and Meissen porcelain…….FORGET IT! The East German government
exported both Dresden and Meissen porcelain for hard currency. If you went into the Communist
East Germany you were carefully watched, and you had no legal protections or rights. I am
glad that this has totally changed and that foreign tourists to eastern Germany no more have to
give second thought going to and from Dresden than say to Seoul, South Korea. This is
something that those who have an interest in going to North Korea should think about. The last
thing somehow on a tour of another country want is to be searched, watched and even threatened
for just going into a closed Communist state.