Posts Tagged ‘ generation wall ’

Free German Youth Lessons – “Generation Wall” by Mark Scheppert

18. April 2015 | von | Kategorie: Aktuelles, Blog, Mauergewinner Leseproben

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn spring 2008 Sylvie’s brother visited us together with his girlfriend in Berlin. These two are very pleasant visitors. We don’t have to entertain them at all. No cultural programme to arrange, no endless thinking which historic sites of the capital they don’t know yet. We didn’t even have to buy the current city magazines to search for the latest musicals, movies or theatre plays. Andi and Kati are interested in… nothing. Very pleasant, as I said! They both were born in the south west of Germany, in the so called Pfalz, like my Sylvie. This is obviously one reason why they often pelt me with questions about my East German youth for hours. Thus, I wanted them to soak up some education about this time by sending them into the GDR museum opposite the Berlin Cathedral and the ruin of the Palace of the Republic.

In the evening Andi and Kati already awaited me excitingly at the door smiling from one ear to the other. They had seen the Mufuti (multifunctional table) from the movie “Sonnenallee”, next to a real East German wall unit. Andi had sat in a Trabi for the first time in his life and Kati was taught how to tie a knot into the red triangular scarf of the children’s organisation in the GDR (Junge Pioniere). I was completely knackered from a hard capitalistic working day and thought that this museum visit had answered all their questions about my ex-country. Far from it! Now they wanted to know everything about the GDR, their curiosity was doubled or even tripled, and everything about this vanished country was most ingenious. I went to take a green booklet and a beer and told them a totally different story.
During the GDR-season of 1985 / 86 there were these two highlights of my life: At the beginning of the year 1985 we were affiliated solemnly to the Free German Youth and in March 1986 Jugendweihe took place – the ceremony in which teenagers are given adult social status – the biggest event of my life so far receiving a lot of presents. Between these two events, however, we had to prove our maturing process by attending a ten-hours-course of the Free German Youth. Naturally this was linked to a threat saying if one of us is absent two times and has no convincing excuse, he or she won’t take part in this mega party Jugendweihe. One after the other had to write something about this course into the youth lesson’s booklet. Probably this is the reason why I still keep this green booklet in my possession. I had to write about the last event and never handed it back.

I read out of this green booklet to the West German audience who gained another valuable insight into the country I had grown up.
The first lesson was called “We fulfil our revolutionary bequest!” Most of the 8th graders fulfilled this by visiting the concentration camp Sachsenhausen. Sabine wrote the following about this trip into the green youth lesson’s booklet: “On 18th September 1985 our class visited the concentration camp memorial Sachsenhausen. Mrs Rittich, Mrs Demant and Mrs Seil accompanied us. Arriving there we were welcomed by our guide Mr Stenzel who had been detainee himself in this concentration camp.”
Camp
I stopped here although Sabine had written exactly one page about this trip as she and all the others were supposed to do. We misbehaved completely at this trip. Nobody had really taught us that there were people having emotions and real victims to touch from this Hitlerite fascism. In our socialist daily routine we only vowed that we would do everything to avoid a repetition of these atrocities. We were not prepared for food rations of 150 grammes per day and heaps of corpses. Kati said that she was also sent to the concentration camp Ravensbrück when she was quite young and she grew up in West Germany. And suddenly we were discussing poor educational policy in East and West Germany, though I only wanted to tell them something about my life in the GDR. After a while I turned the pages and decided to read out only one sentence from every youth lesson in the green booklet.

The second youth lesson was named: “Friendship to Lenin’s country – matter of the heart of our people”. Naturally we visited the House of the German-Soviet Friendship (DSF). In sixth grade we always made our Russian teacher who came from Moscow cry with the following slogan: “Russki, Russki you should know that your language is just too slow!” In the DSF house we didn’t dare to talk like that and therefore were bored to death. However, Daniela wrote into the green booklet: “Comrade Steyer taught us a lot about the Soviet Union, how the people live there, how the gas pipeline BAM was built – the Baikal-Amur-Magistrale – and many other interesting things.”
The third youth lesson which was called: “Culture and Art make our lives nicer and richer.” seemed to be slightly better. We were supposed to visit the Jahn sports park. Similar to the other ‘events’ we were disappointed bitterly once again. It is enough if I just repeat what Lars wrote into the green booklet. “Then we went to the exhibition rooms. An old man waited there for us. After we had put off our jackets we entered the sports exhibition in a small room.”
The guests from the West looked at me with big and pleading eyes, but I continued without any reaction.
The fourth youth lesson was titled ‘The other one beside you.’ Our class went to the newly built park named after the communist leader Ernst Thälmann. Somehow it was a little bit more interesting this time since a quite cool guy led us through the construction site and even the scaffolds. The massive monument of Ernst Thälmann nicknamed Teddy was erected only recently. Thus, Lydia remarked quite correctly: “This visit was very interesting and good fun. Despite our breaches of discipline we experienced many new things.”
Schluss
The fifth youth lesson in this series was called ‘Our Socialist Homeland’ and we were supposed to visit the People’s Police museum. A popular children’s song says: “The people’s police officer, who means well for us, he carries us home, he is our friend.” But these friends there were all completely unsympathetic, had a Saxon accent and one could imagine that concerning crimes they wouldn’t react indulgently. The importance of our visit in the People’s Police museum you can hear in the following sentences that Didi wrote: “When we arrived, the speaker Colonel Schmidt introduced himself. Another comrade guided us through the exhibition.”
Number six was called: ‘Peace is not a present.’ This was the event when I didn’t take part having an excuse. No, I had never been an absentee at school, a normal East-Berlin flu had struck me down. The others went to see the East German border troops. Hence, I can only read what Mario wrote into the book: “At the entrance gate an officer of the border troops welcomed us. First, he showed us a radio and a field telephone. Then we had a look at some of the tools that were used while escaping and also at some pictures of the injured people who tried to trespass the East German border. He acquainted us with some weapons and explained the function and advantages to us.” Andi and Kati were shocked shaking their heads in disbelief.
I was fit again for the next topic: ‘Your right and your duty in a socialist country’. We went to the court in Berlin – Friedrichshain. But this visit was one to forget soon, too. A very strict looking judge was telling us in a one-hour-lasting monologue how a trial takes place. After that she responded to our questions for only two minutes and disappeared. Cake wrote in our book: “We were also surprised about this small courtroom, since they appear much bigger in the movies. It would have been even better, if we had taken part in a real trial.”
‘Scientific technological progress – a challenge for you’ was the topic of the 8th lesson. We went to the completely shabby, but nationally owned company NARVA that used to produce light bulbs. Now we could see what publically owned manufacturing meant: rusty old machines, long dark passages without any ventilation, and moody people standing in a crowd at the corner, smoking and chatting. Next to the lathes and on a stack of fluorescent tubes there were lots of empty brown beer bottles. We were welcomed by a comrade in the traditional room. Although NARVA light bulbs were delivered around the world, successful tradition surely looks totally different, thought Bergi obviously when he – surprisingly honest – wrote into the book: “The visit at NARVA was not nice at all. I’d describe it as a complete failure.”

Ebook "Generation Wall"

Ebook “Generation Wall”


The last but one youth lesson was dedicated to the topic ‘Your workforce is needed’.
The funny thing about it was that we went to see our mentors’ brigade at Centrum Warenhaus, the shopping centre at East station where we had done several shoplifting competitions. Today I cannot say whether Ute suspected something when she wrote into the book: “A member of our mentors’ brigade depicted the exhausting daily routine of a saleswoman. I believe that everyone of us now sees everything with different eyes and pays more attention to honesty.”
The final youth lesson that finished us off completely was called: ‘The world is changed by us’. This time I was supposed to write into the small green book. There was nothing to think about in detail, since it was only checked whether somebody had written into it, not what. We went to the Archenhold observatory in Treptow, and this was actually the best of all lessons. We were watching movies and observed some of the faraway stars, that were also well visible during the day, through the huge telescope. Furthermore, the woman guiding us through the observatory was extremely pretty. Nevertheless, I only jotted down: “We experienced a lot of new things worth knowing, however, we are already thinking of the coming event – our youth initiation ceremony, the most important ceremony of our lives.”
I closed the little green book, all the others looked at me and their sleepy eyes told me that they felt hungry and had heard enough for now from the East German dome. Mission accomplished, I thought to myself.
ddr-museum
Half a year later at one weekend Sylvie and I didn’t know what to do, and thus finally decided to go to this odd GDR museum in Mitte. Having chilly and damp Berlin crappy weather a huge queue of tourists waited in front of the entrance to the past. I multiplied the crowd with the entrance fee of 5.50 € and suddenly had a great idea. I would open an event agency! My customers from West Germany, Europe, even from the whole world would have to pay 200 € for my guided tour. At the beginning the tourists would solemnly join the Free German Youth at the assembly hall of the Polytechnical Secondary School named Käthe Duncker, of course receiving a blue shirt and the badge. By Trabi we would pass Leninplatz and continue to reach Teddy Thälmann and his massive head monument. After a short ceremony there and a quick side-trip to the sports traditional room of ‘Dynamo’ at the Jahn sports park we would join a socialist show trial at the court before we finally go to have lunch at Centrum Warenhaus our shopping centre at East station. We would have been served Goldbroiler – which is East German for chicken – and a filling side dish – preferably chips and Leipzig mixed vegetables – East German for peas and carrots, for vegetarians they would serve potatoes with lecsó. After an amazing guided tour through the nationally owned company for the production of light bulbs called NARVA – nowadays there are many West German advertising agencies working in this heritage-protected traditional building – the three highlights of the tour would come up. In the House of the East German – Soviet Friendship we could meet young Soviet Komsomole members and while visiting the People’s Police museum the majors decorated with huge shoulder straps. At the East German border troops my troops would be allowed to go up the watchtowers and to lead the shepherds through the barbed wire areas. At the end of my tour every participant who would like to retain the lent Free German Youth blue shirt as a golden keepsake only has to pay 50 €. The fully completed and stamped badge would be included.
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Suddenly I was torn out of my daydream because Sylvie pulled my shirt asking me whether I would really like to wait longer in front of this damned GDR museum. I shook my head and looked at the last standing concrete piers of the nearly finally dismantled Palace of the Republic. I sensed that I absolutely do not want to travel into the past, since there is only one place left of our former Free German Youth lessons that has not changed in any way. In this grove in Treptow one can still watch the stars and while observing them through the telescope one notices: everything remained the same, only that we have changed.
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Ebook “Generation Wall” – Amazon.de in Germany

Ebook “Generation Wall” – Amazon.co.uk in Great Britain

Ebook “Generation Wall” – Amazon.com in the USA
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Meine Schwarz-Rot-Gold-Trilogie

10. Juli 2012 | von | Kategorie: Aktuelles

P1000273

Mit dem Buch “Alles ganz simpel” ist meine Trilogie endlich vollständig. Nunmehr werden drei Generationen vor, während und nach dem Mauerfall literarisch eingefangen.

Nach meinem Werk “Mauergewinner”, welches – nicht nur wegen der Auszüge bei Spiegel Online – noch immer gelesen wird, war ich natürlich besonders nervös gewesen, wie der Fußball- und Reiseroman „90 Minuten Südamerika“ beim Leser ankommt.
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Ich hatte das Buch in einer guten Schreibphase verfasst und für mich ging es dabei – obwohl ich das nie zugeben würde – um viel. Entweder: „Das war´s dann wohl mit der Schreiberei“, oder „na siehst du, es geht doch.“
Es ging! Nachdem die freundlich gemeinten Lobhudelein aus dem Freundes- und Bekanntenkreis durch waren, flatterten die ersten Rezensionen ein, und derer nicht zu wenig. Eigentlich möchte ich hier keine Zeitschrift explizit erwähnen, aber dass mein Buch bei 11freunde sehr gut wegkam, war schon saucool.
Etliche, mir vormals größtenteils unbekannte Fußball- und Reisemagazine haben (manchmal auch kritisch) über die „90 Minuten“ berichtet und selbst SPON veröffentlichte wieder eine Leseprobe. Bei Fritten, Fußball und Bier gibt es mittlerweile sogar eine Rubrik unter dem Namen „Schepperts Weltreise“.
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Mein drittes Werk „Alles ganz simpel“ ging dann auch leichter (fast simpel) von der Hand. Im Prinzip ist es ja nur durch den Tod meines Vaters entstanden, da ich mich in der Zeit danach viel mit meinem Opa unterhalten hatte. Insofern ein Glücksfall, denn wer hat schon einen (noch so fitten) 86jährigen Großvater der zudem so viel erlebt hat? Sehr schön war übrigens auch, dass die Aufzeichnungen dazu bei etlichen kühlen Bieren im Paule in Biesdorf entstanden sind – das nenne ich dann mal Schriftstellerleben!
Die Zielgruppe war zwar hier nicht so richtig greifbar, dennoch wurde das Buch in der lokalen Presse bisher ganz gut besprochen und besonders unsere erste gemeinsame Lesung war der Knaller. Volles Haus und richtig gute Stimmung. Heute bin ich froh, dass ich mir die Zeit genommen habe, seine Geschichte niederzuschreiben.
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Parallel dazu entwickelte sich unsere Lesebühne „Die Unerhörten“ nach ein paar Störfeuern prima. Wir hatten erstmals unzählige „Auswärtsspiele“ in anderen Stadtteilen, waren zu Lesungen und im Radio eingeladen. Außerdem gehören wir zu den Nominierten für die Beste Lesebühne Berlins 2011 und treten regelmäßig einzeln in der Feuerwache in der Studiobühne Friedrichshain auf.
Im Mai 2012 erschien unsere erste Kurzgeschichtensammlung unter dem Titel Süß-Sauer bis Schaf.

Hört sich alles toll an, oder? Okay, um ehrlich zu sein: leben kann ich davon nicht – auch wenn der eine oder andere eines meiner Bücher für sich, die Oma, Mutti oder den liebenswerten Freund bei Amazonien oder im Buchhandel bestellt.

Aber die unzähligen positiven Reaktionen haben mir Mut gemacht, in irgendeiner Form weiterzumachen.
Wie, wann und was werde ich noch sehen.

In diesem Sinne
Lasst es scheppern!

Mark S.

(Nachtrag 1: Zu “90 Minuten” habe ich 2012 sogar noch ein Ebook als Nachtrag veröffentlicht: 90 Minuten Update – Was bis zur Fußball-WM 2014 geschah)

(Nachtrag 2: Den “Mauergewinner” gibt es auch in Englisch als “Generation Wall”)

(Nachtrag 3: Douglas Adams sagte einmal in etwa: “Jede gute Trilogie hat mindestens vier Bände!”)

Frühcafé-Talk mit Mark Scheppert (24.01.2012) – TV Berlin Video
Eine Kindheit und Jugend in Breslau während der Weimarer Republik und in Hitlers Reich. Einen mörderischen Weltkrieg und die Kriegsgefangenschaft. Die Gründung und den Aufbau der DDR vom Mauerbau bis zum Mauerfall. All das hat Horst Schubert miterlebt und später seinem Enkel erzählt. Unter einem Pseudonym verfasste dieser das Buch „Alles ganz simpel“ um den Weg vom Hitlerjungen in Schlesien bis hin zum Alterspräsidenten der Linken in Marzahn-Hellersdorf zusammenzufassen. Heute morgen ist der Autor Mark Scheppert zu Gast.

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“Generation Wall” for free!!!

19. Januar 2012 | von | Kategorie: Blog, Mauergewinner Leseproben

Generation Wall

Generation Wall


Only this weekend (01/20/2012 – 01/23/2012) you can get my ebook „Generation Wall“ for free!
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(nur dieses Wochenende (20.01.2012 – 23.01.2012) gibt es mein Ebook „Generation Wall“ gratis!)
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With the publication of his autobiographical debut novel ‘Mauergewinner’ (Engl.: Generation Wall) Mark Scheppert was immediately quite successful. He even reached number one of the BoD bestselling list in Germany.

“He hadn’t moved a single bit – but nonetheless converted from Ossi to Wessi. His whole life M.S. has been living in the Eastern part of Berlin. At his 37th birthday he experienced his personal turnaround.”
Spiegel Online

– Amazon.de in Germany
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– Amazon.co.uk in Great Britain
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– Amazon.com in the USA
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– Amazon.fr in France
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– Amazon.it in Italy
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– Amazon.es in Spain
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When I started writing these stories in 2008, I pledged to create something NEW and EXCEPTIONAL about the German Democratic Republic that does not exist so far and reflects the feelings of my generation. Why? Well, it was odd. Nowhere in these supposedly typical literary monuments for this dematerialised country, I could picture myself. I did neither belong to this generation of “Zonenkindern” (“Children of the occupation zones” by Jana Hensel), nor did I live in “Sonnenallee” (“At the shorter end of sun alley” by Thomas Brussig or in a “Turm” (“The Tower” by Uwe Tellkamp). My youth, my experiences and my fights with this strange place called GDR did not occur in these books. And certainly not my emotions that I associated with this time. Bizarre.
Was I so different?

That could not be true. Once again I had this sinister feeling that until today we, the Ossis, have not found our own voice that is able to tell the stories of our past with dignity and self-confidence, humorous but sober, without playing something down, kitsch, nostalgia or glorification and definitely far away from coming to terms with the political past.
I thought that in this reunited Germany, there has slowly grown an image of the GDR that has nearly nothing in common with the GDR I lived in.
Has a piece of me indeed vanished with the GDR? My experiences and memories were still alive, but to keep them, I needed to write them down. I had no idea how difficult it turned out to be to reflect this time as I planned – witty, honest but also cautious and avoiding typical patterns.
I tried hard not only to remember but to connect past and present, to find out what the heritage of the GDR did to the Germany of today. Moreover, I wanted to know in how far the former living in the GDR has influenced my personal development.

I knew what I was looking for, the tiny little things, the precise ones, the details that maybe can show the whole situation. My family with all its strange rituals, my friends with all their mad ideas, school, sports competitions and my personal surroundings – all those parts form the whole thing. And not to forget – this strange feeling to be submitted to the merciless mechanisms of a totalitarian state – that was coming up for the first time at this age.

The right genre for all this, were fast-paced short stories. I did not intend to create a literary monument, but something that entertains and draws the reader into the plot.

What came out were 16 stories with 16 typical events. But they are also connected. Minor characters of one story become main characters in others. Some themes occur twice or will be intensified at a certain point. Finally, the whole affair is created in each reader’s mind leaving enough space for personal connections.

My greatest wish with this book is to create a whole feeling, a whole experience that covers my view on the GDR, as I am convinced that I am not the only one that is different.

I would like to share and conserve the memories that shaped me, but at the same time are somehow universal. I believe that many Ossis find themselves in these stories and all the other readers will gain insight into the ordinary days of a world they did not become acquainted with.
In occasion of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, these stories describe a different view on this vanished country and will hopefuly fight oblivion.

Mark Scheppert

Ebook "Generation Wall"
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Generation Wall

23. August 2011 | von | Kategorie: Blog

Generation Wall

(Exerpt)
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…although I visited several countries after the Wall came down, since I was allowed to do so, I didn’t set foot in the USA. This country had formerly been class enemy No. 1, the imperialist exploiting superpower, the evil. For years they had hammered it into my mind: GDR good, USSR very good, FRG bad, USA very bad. Perpetually, we had to be on the lookout against Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan and to be prepared to defend ourselves, like the proud Vietnamese did. Travelling into this country? By my own choice? Never!
However, because of a new job I had to visit this country of the unlimited dumb, greedy for profit American people. Despite the prospect to see New York and San Francisco I didn’t enjoy to pack my bags. This trip would only have one positive aspect, to visit one of my mates from old GDR-times in California. This bastard had changed political wings completely and has been living in San Diego for quite a while.

Armee

Our boot camp in 9th grade had not been the first pre-military youth training centre in my life. There had been several Junge Pioniere exercises with the slogan “March for our probation”, where we had to find our way through the woods by using compass and map only. Every twenty minutes a new group started and the first order was “Quick march!” The following assignments were triangle shooting, first aid, to move hand over hand along a rope, hand grenade long throw, and matching maps. At the finish we got tea and solyanka from the field kitchen, and in the afternoon they handed out the badges and certificates on the manoeuvre ball.
In 1986, however, we had to go to the pre-military training camp for two weeks which was run by the East German society for sports and technology. We looked forward to this event, since it was only for the boys, while the girls had to join the boring corpsman class that took place at school at the same time. The guys who didn’t go to the camp because of being in frail health were considered to be the biggest sissies and even the girls laughed at them. The tough guys received their army clothes in the school basement on Tuesday before the trip. On Saturday we met at East Station (Berlin-Ostbahnhof) and felt like elite soldiers of a secret combat unit, since we hadn’t seen each other in these wicked army clothes. The trip to the pre-military training centre took us about one and a half hour. There we met all the other 9th-graders from Berlin and were divided into the different shacks. The competitors of Rosa-Luxemburg-School and the wimps from the school of music Hanns Eisler joined our group of a hundred.
Our petty officer was a chubby man with a rosy looking face who came from Saxony. While at the beginning we had to do 20 press-ups for punishment and long runs through the forests, he became more and more laid-back. Why not? He didn’t have any stress with us. For there were rumours going around the camp that another class had sung the Horst-Wessel-song and beaten up their petty officer so that he ended up in hospital. Consequently, this class were sent home. In contrast to them we were absolutely obedient and good boys. But maybe it was just the case that our petty officer was only too lazy and not in the mood to do more sports. He had to run the same distance as we did and I saw in his face that he absolutely didn’t enjoy it. During the breaks he smoked three cigarettes at the same time where normal people could only smoke one. And although he came from Saxony, he wasn’t about to hassle the boys from Berlin. Luckily, he was a decent and fair superior.

Camp

Just before the trip to the pre-military training centre I had seen the movie The Great Escape with Steve McQueen – obviously in the West German TV-channel ARD – and being very enthusiastic about this film I took one utensil with me into the camp – a ball. In the movie it was a baseball which Captain Virgil Hilts “The Cooler King” threw against the walls for hours. My ball was only a tattered, grey East German tennis ball. I took it with me wherever we went, on the marches, to the runs in the forests and to the musters. I was always playing with it.
During a break in the forest Bergi came to me with a massive limb of a tree and asked me to throw the ball. Tremendously he blasted it at least 60 metres away into the woods. Naturally, it didn’t take much time until the others also wanted to have a try. But Bergi used his monopoly position to hand the bat over to only two other people, until he hit it for the second time. My position was even superior – I was “The Cooler King”, since I owned the ball!

Holigan

We started to play baseball, even though nobody knew the rules. So we adapted the rules from burning ball that we had played several times in PE. One team had to hit and run while the other one occupied the four corners and the rest of the playing surface, then tried to catch the ball as fast as possible and throw it back to the fielder. If the batsman managed to run around the field, he would receive one point. In case the ball reached the catcher earlier or the batsman didn’t stop at one of the corners on time, he would have been out. After one round teams changed positions. Soon we played this wicked game during every single break.
At first our petty officer was lying in the meadow, smoked his cigarettes and watched this horseplay. We really had good fun. Soon some of us turned out to be absolutely talented and real specialists. Some hit the ball very high, far away or very precisely into one corner and it disappeared in the woods. Some others sprinted very skilfully to catch the ball and tossed it directly back to the fielder with enormous power. Moreover, the catcher had already tinkered himself a huge glove. I wasn’t very good at all, neither with running nor with throwing or catching the ball I was a help for my team. Nevertheless, I owned the ball!
On the next day, nearly everybody had his own bat and the following evenings all the boys carved, filed and polished their wooden sticks. After one week most of the clubs looked like real baseball bats. The second day already our petty officer couldn’t just watch the match, he wanted to join. Probably, it was good luck that during his second attempt he hit the ball so perfectly that it disappeared in the woods, and he jogged around the field with a huge smile in his face making his first point.

jungs

From now on we didn’t do anything except the official sports competitions, the daily musters, and our baseball matches.
In the middle of the forest we had found a glade where we built our own field having proper corner flags and marking lines. Meanwhile, we all had our own little idiosyncrasies, how to put on the kepi, how to swing the bat or what a cool sentence one had to say before hitting the ball. In the middle of the socialist sister state forest of the GDR we practised an all-American game. We appreciated this unbelievable liberty outside of our barbed wire fenced barracks.
For any reason we didn’t go into the forest on the last but one day of our pre-military training camp and everybody seemed to be very unbalanced and even petulant. Suddenly, some of the boys asked me to go to the sports ground of the camp to play. The news about the match got around rapidly and 20 people grabbed their bats and went to the field. Normally the sports ground was quite crowded with people playing football. But fortunately nobody was there when we arrived. We marked the corners with some pieces of clothing and picked the two teams. During the last one and a half week we improved a lot. Hitting, running, throwing and catching appeared to be very professionally. The kepis and cool sentences were perfectly set. I was in the catching team and concentrated obsessively on the ball and the whole match, like my team-mates. Thus, I didn’t notice that more and more boys from other groups of a hundred came to watch curiously what was going on here. When suddenly Bergi hit the ball fantastically and unreachably for everybody, 300 people cheered from the sides, and I almost couldn’t hide my tears of emotion. Although the match was immediately closed by some officers of the National People’s Army, we had been the baseball playing heroes of the camp for one moment. We had won the hearts of nearly all the people in the barracks.
Every day we were reminded to be prudent and companionable here in the pre-military youth training centre. And they had reached their aims. None of the 20 baseball stars – not even our section commander Lars – had ever revealed that we didn’t do anything else but playing pre-military training camp baseball in these two weeks. With my ball!

P4290163

At the terminal in Los Angeles my friend Matze gave me a hug and smiled. We went to his gigantic, black SUV, where there was enough space for at least eight people. Then we went straight along the coast to San Diego. A pleasant sea breeze blew from the blue Pacific Ocean and Nirvana was played on the radio as if on cue. My friend pointed at the glove locker. Obediently I pressed the button. Matze knows a lot about me, also that I am a sport fan. However, I hadn’t told him the story of my 9th grade pre-military training camp baseball experience. In the glove locker I found two tickets for the Major League Baseball – a marvellous welcome gift.

More?

Ebook “Generation Wall” – Amazon.de in Germany

Ebook “Generation Wall” – Amazon.co.uk in Great Britain

Ebook “Generation Wall” – Amazon.com in the USA

Ebook "Generation Wall"
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“Generation Wall” – English ebook about a childhood in the GDR and East Berlin

4. Juni 2011 | von | Kategorie: Blog

Generation Wall

Now 15 stories of the “Mauergewinner”, describing my childhood in the GDR and East Berlin were translated into English.

Ebook “Generation Wall” – Amazon.de in Germany

Ebook “Generation Wall” – Amazon.co.uk in Great Britain

Ebook “Generation Wall” – Amazon.com in the USA
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Book description “Generation Wall”:

When I started writing these stories in 2008, I pledged to create something NEW and EXCEPTIONAL about the German Democratic Republic that does not exist so far and reflects the feelings of my generation. Why? Well, it was odd. Nowhere in these supposedly typical literary monuments for this dematerialised country, I could picture myself. I did neither belong to this generation of “Zonenkindern” (“Children of the occupation zones” by Jana Hensel), nor did I live in “Sonnenallee” (“At the shorter end of sun alley” by Thomas Brussig or in a “Turm” (“The Tower” by Uwe Tellkamp). My youth, my experiences and my fights with this strange place called GDR did not occur in these books. And certainly not my emotions that I associated with this time. Bizarre.
Was I so different?

That could not be true. Once again I had this sinister feeling that until today we, the Ossis, have not found our own voice that is able to tell the stories of our past with dignity and self-confidence, humorous but sober, without playing something down, kitsch, nostalgia or glorification and definitely far away from coming to terms with the political past.
I thought that in this reunited Germany, there has slowly grown an image of the GDR that has nearly nothing in common with the GDR I lived in.
Has a piece of me indeed vanished with the GDR? My experiences and memories were still alive, but to keep them, I needed to write them down. I had no idea how difficult it turned out to be to reflect this time as I planned – witty, honest but also cautious and avoiding typical patterns.
I tried hard not only to remember but to connect past and present, to find out what the heritage of the GDR did to the Germany of today. Moreover, I wanted to know in how far the former living in the GDR has influenced my personal development.

I knew what I was looking for, the tiny little things, the precise ones, the details that maybe can show the whole situation. My family with all its strange rituals, my friends with all their mad ideas, school, sports competitions and my personal surroundings – all those parts form the whole thing. And not to forget – this strange feeling to be submitted to the merciless mechanisms of a totalitarian state – that was coming up for the first time at this age.

The right genre for all this, were fast-paced short stories. I did not intend to create a literary monument, but something that entertains and draws the reader into the plot.

What came out were 15 stories with 15 typical events. But they are also connected. Minor characters of one story become main characters in others. Some themes occur twice or will be intensified at a certain point. Finally, the whole affair is created in each reader’s mind leaving enough space for personal connections.

My greatest wish with this book is to create a whole feeling, a whole experience that covers my view on the GDR, as I am convinced that I am not the only one that is different.

I would like to share and conserve the memories that shaped me, but at the same time are somehow universal. I believe that many Ossis find themselves in these stories and all the other readers will gain insight into the ordinary days of a world they did not become acquainted with.
In occasion of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, these stories describe a different view on this vanished country and will hopefuly fight oblivion.

Mark Scheppert

Generation Wall


About the author:

Mark Scheppert was a landscape gardener, a removalist, a clerk, a student, Forestry Commission person, a harvest hand, an agent, an event manager, a travelling salesman, a stock clerk, a postman, an advertisement canvasser, and a swamper. But all this he didn’t find exciting. Therefore, he began to write a little.
With the publication of his autobiographical debut novel ‘Berlin Wall Champs’ he was immediately quite successful. He even reached number one of the BoD bestselling list in Germany.

“He hadn’t moved a single bit – but nonetheless converted from Ossi to Wessi. His whole life M.S. has been living in the Eastern part of Berlin. At his 37th birthday he experienced his personal turnaround.”
Spiegel Online

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90 Minuten Südamerika als Ebook

21. Mai 2011 | von | Kategorie: Blog

90 Minuten Cover Ebook

Seit heute gibt es mein Buch “90 Minuten Südamerika” auch als Ebook im Kindle-Store bei Amazon. Da sich ja schon ein paar Leser gefunden haben, den “Mauergewinner” und “Generation Wall” auf diese Weise zu lesen, ist es sicherlich nicht schlecht, dass es diese Möglichkeit nun auch für meinen Reise- und Fußballroman gibt.

Hier gehts zum Ebook “90 Minuten Südamerika” Viel Spaß beim Lesen!

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