German hotel recreates communist life
October 25, 1999
The new tourist attraction, Hotel Sittavia, is located in what used to be East Germany, and comes with many of the trappings of a trip across the Wall.
Visitors at an authentic-looking checkpoint at the hotel are required to surrender their passports and change their money into East German marks. Guests can use the now-obsolete currency to buy things inside the hotel.
For hotel guests who once lived in communist East Germany, it's both strange and amusing.
"When you get here and first see the border guard, it's a shocking feeling. You remember a lot of things that you experienced over the course of 40 years living in East Germany, both good and bad," guest Martin Boemer said.
But it's only been 10 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Is that long enough for baby boomers to start feeling nostalgic and to stop feeling bitter?
The hotel manager still has some image problems to iron out.
"A man on the phone called me a 'red swine' and 'communist pig' and told me to go back to where I came from. I told him to come here and have a look, but he hung up," said manager Guenter Ziemann.
But some guests said nostalgia could never be as bad as the real thing.
"This is too nice. I have different memories of the GDR (German Democratic Republic). But if they want clients in the restaurant, it must be so. It can't be as dirty as the past," said one.
Berlin Bureau Chief Chris Burns contributed to this report.
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