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Why Nudity Was So Popular in East Germany

East vs. West: Berlin Wall Divided Two Attitudes Toward Nudity

When the Berlin Wall fell 20 years ago last week, East and West Germany had to integrate two very different cultures. Freedom may have spread quickly through the East, but nudity — the East's favorite and perhaps only freedom — never caught on in the West.

Freikörperkultur (FKK), or liberal body culture, was really the only way to rebel in the East, where the most quotidian details of people's lives were observed by the Stasi, East Germany's secret police. Though the East German government forbid FKK at first, many government officials were into walking around nude, so they protested with the argument that "doing FKK" did not mean you weren't a good communist. Good point — don't they put kids in school uniforms to level the playing field? What's more egalitarian than wearing nothing!

Yet on the west side of the wall, the attitude toward nudity was more on par with America and its don't-even-discuss-it-in-public ethos. A West German interviewed a former East German for Vice magazine to find out what's so great about wearing nothing. Check out some of the highlights after the jump.

On where you could get naked in the GDR: Well, if you’d walk down the street naked people would have thought you’re completely nuts.

On whether public nudity was socially accepted: More than accepted.

On the non-sexual nature: It’s about as sexual as going to the sauna.

On why nudity is still popular: Because East Germans are more relaxed, I presume the East Germans have also got the wilder sex life. There are statistics about that and I heard stories that in East Germany there was no good TV program, which resulted in two things drastically going up: a) sex and b) alcoholism, so we could add c) nudism but I have no proof for that thesis.

Source: Flickr User rugosa rosa

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