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Episode Info:

The German Democratic Republic was known for being one of the more politically repressive countries in the former Eastern bloc, with its Stasi secret police keeping a firm grip on any form of dissent. But it is also known for its long tradition of nude bathing – known in Germany as Free Body Culture or FKK. In the mid-1950s, this tradition came under threat as the GDR government tried to ban nude bathing completely.

Unexpectedly for a country that had no tolerance for dissent, the East German fans of Free Body Culture fought back…

Time stamps

[00:19] Imagine it's the middle of summer [02:21] Train across the border [03:43] Meeting Dr Wolle [04:57] A bit of history [06:45] Lake Motzener [08:33] The 1930s & WWII [09:57] The birth of the DDR [12:39] FKK outlawed [15:07] Opening of the floodgates [17:13] Mass popularity [18:07] The Iron Curtain falls [20:00] Free Body Culture survives? [21:35] Conclusion [22:46] Credits

Further watching Further reading Thanks

Dr Stefan Wolle / for sharing with us his knowledge about the origins of Free Body Culture and its popularity in the former East Germany. Dr Wolle is the Head of the Research Department at the DDR Museum in Berlin.

Reinhard Gens / for inviting us to visit the AKK Birkenheide eV: FKK Verein (Birkenheide General Body Culture Association) at Lake Motzener, and for speaking to me about the history of FKK and his own experiences. Reinhard is retired and an FKK enthusiastic since the late 1950s.

Jürgen Krull / for inviting us to his club and talking to me about the history of FKK and Adolf Koch. Jurgen Krull is the President of the Familien-Sport-Verein Adolf Koch e. V. (Adolf Koch Family Sports Association) in Berlin.

Mark / for talking to us about this experiences with FKK. Mark is an FKK enthusiast and member of the Adolf Koch Family Sports Association.

The DDR Museum in Berlin / for their assistance. The DDR Museum is located in Central Berlin and is open 365 days a year.

Colin Delargy & Sabrina Schaffarczyk / for their linguistic assistance and helping Piotr navigate the Berlin FKK scene.

John Beauchamp / for becoming Dr Wolle's English voice. John is a seasoned radio journalist, currently working on Unseen Warsaw, a series of soundwalks located in Warsaw. 

Credits
  • Written, produced & presented by Piotr Wołodźko

  • Edited by Adam Żuławski

  • Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak

  • Hosted by Nitzan Reisner & Adam Żuławski

 

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