Many thanks for the link, I visited East Germany in 1994 essentially as the restoration work was really starting to gain momentum.

It was fascinating to see and go inside buildings and note the bullet holes in buildings of more than one town or village I visited. One couple invited me up to their roof-top apartment, fifth floor with sloping ceilings and hot and cold depending upon the weather. In their building, parts of the stairwell walls still had a myriad of bullet holes in the falling apart plaster.

They told me that there was no possibility of doing any repairs as there was just no money, living in an occupied country is tough. I felt sorry for them, they were both about 25 years old and were virtually unemployable. Their schooling had been heavy into many things political, which was mandatory for all students. The western part of Germany, was basically shut off to them as their university education was considered valueless in West Germany as there were too few subjects they had studied, that mattered to western businesses.

In Jena, which had a thriving photographic industry in pre-war times, had by 1994, changed dramatically. I was told that there about 5,000 residents who held a PhD in Jena alone. I was led to understand that about 500 of them retained their jobs, or a job, the other 4,500 highly technically educated and trained people, were mostly jobless.

In the family owned Guest house on the outskirts of Jena that I stayed in, the waitress had a PhD in Chemistry. She had that job because not only did she speak German and Russian, she spoke English, which was essential for any hospitality staff in that place at that time. I learnt from this waitress that the head of the security forces from Russia spoke German, so it was a bit of a two way street. I found out years later, that the person she was talking about was Putin.

Sad situation.

Mick.