or… Happy Day of German Unity! A day that is celebrated by not going to work, and…well, that’s pretty much it.

But you, being (probably) American, do not have a day off today. So to commemorate the occasion, allow me to introduce you to Zonen-Gaby (“Zone” is (was?) a slang way to refer to East Germany), who once graced the cover of the satirical magazine Titanic. Here’s a little backstory:

“The satirists were chatting about the crude TV shots showing how West Germans distributed bananas among East German citizens who had escaped through Hungary. The grandfather of Titanic, Robert Gernhardt allegedly said, ‘We’ll just show a young woman holding a banana in her hand. Easterner-Gaby in luck.’ Bernd Eilert spun the idea further: ‘And instead of a banana we’ll put a cucumber in her hand.’ Great excitement on the fun front.”

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“Easterner Gaby (17) in luck (West Germany): My first banana”

 

Note: I fact-checked the rumor that there were no bananas or other tropical fruits in the GDR. Apparently there were, but far fewer than in the West, and (of course) unevenly distributed. Per capita banana consumption in the East in the 80s stuck around 2 kg, whereas in the West at the same time people were eating 9 kg of bananas a year. Most of the Eastern bananas would have been concentrated in the cities (read: Berlin and Leipzig), so it is perfectly likely that someone from the country would never have had a banana before.

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