Coming to a bookstore near you!* It reads “From IFA (East Germany’s state-controlled work-truck manufacturer) to Mercedes: Automobile Manufacturing in Brandenburg (the state surrounding Berlin) through the Fall of Communism” Mensch u. Buch Verlag is a publishing house I like in Berlin. Let me give a brief abstract:
Most of East Germany’s vehicle manufacturing was done in Ludwigsfelde, where a dismantled Mercedes factory built in 1936 for wartime production was rebuilt for at first scooters and motorcycles, then principally heavy work trucks like the one seen above and in this piece seen a few months back on here on autofrei. Two years after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the Ludwigsfelde plant went over to producing trucks for Mercedes, after the East German trucks failed to make headway in the free market. What then were the stories involved in the switch from the production of symbolic, communist work trucks to trucks bearing that shining herald of the West and of capitalism, the three-pointed star of Mercedes-Benz? How did ownership pass from one to the other and how was the bankruptcy of IFA portrayed in the media? Finally, how has the switch from Eastern to Western production been remembered by the people of Ludwigsfelde?
*Author’s Note: This is not a real book. I just wish it was.