Test the West!
Metamorphosis in East Germany
"Test the West!" is a two-part documentary about the tremendous changes
East Germany and its people are going through as they shift from one economic system to another. Written and produced by a former native of East Germany, these videos offer an insider's perspective to the very complex issues surrounding the fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent reunification of Germany.
"This video is very informative, straight to the point and at times even amusing. Contrary to other films I have seen, "Test the West!" has a certain sense of reality that makes it more believable."

Professor Frank D. Hirschbach, University of Minnesota

Trabant car
Part I, "First Encounter with a New System"
visits East Germany in 1990 and documents the initial chaos created by the sudden shift in politics.

Watch East Germany in a strange mix of old and new... Take a ride in a Trabant car, watch folks try out their first Hamburger. Listen to their stories, their hopes , their dreams and fears for the future.
© 1991, 30 minutes.
East German farmer
The Trabant used to be East Germany's most ubiquitous car. It's body was actually made of cardboard with a plastic coating, hence the nickname "Pappe" (German for "cardboard").

It had a horrible two-stroke engine, puffing out signature blue clouds as it sputtered by. What did it sound like? Join us for a ride!
Rebuilding of Dresden
Even before the official reunification, the huge influx of Western goods (and East German's rush to buy them) lead to a total collapse of the local economy. As most of Saxony's agricultural firms are going under, this farmer trucked potatoes straight into the city in hope of a sale.
Construction, on the other hand, is booming. After more than 40 years, East Germany is finally rebuilding castles and churches bombed during the war - and the construction cranes towering over city skylines signal a new beginning for the country.
"Shoemaker is a very astute commentator,
with a superb grasp of the more disquieting implications of instant capitalism -
and "Test the West! is the kind of documentary that will provoke vigorous discussions among viewers. Highly recommended."

- Video Librarian

Part II, "The Rebuilding of a Country", returns to many of the same places and people in 1993, and observes the further progress of democratization.

It documents the harsh realities that capitalism brings to East Germany, as well as the continued elation and hope among its people. The process of rebuilding has begun... but it is far from over.
© 1994, 48 minutes.
Lenin statue toppled The first homeless in Dresden
As Lenin-statues are toppled and the political climate of East Germany opens up, other more ugly signs of life under capitalism begin to show. Unemployment rises to 15%, and suddenly, there are homelss on the streets - a sight East Germans had only known from Western television.

Most adults struggle with their new lives under a completely unknown system.
But there is a new generation growing up, all ready for the future - whatever it may bring.
Both parts of "Test the West!" have an English narration with dubbed German interviews. Color, live action.
Part I: 30 minutes,
Part II: 48 minutes

DVD copies are available to schools and libraries for $59.- (Each DVD includes both parts). This price includes public performance rights for use in the classroom. Price for individuals (home use only!) is $19.- per copy.
A new generation of East Germans
Click here for a TEACHER'S GUIDE on using this video in the class room

Follow this link for our other documentary on East Germany