Why Nudity Is a German Election Issue
Nostalgia for East Germany’s widespread nudism highlights a powerful political tradition.
There can’t be many countries where a major political party’s leader would campaign on a nude beach. But German politician Gregor Gysi, leader of Die Linke, the anti-capitalist party that is the third biggest in the current parliament, has done so this week to bemoan the declining popularity of naturism in his country. In doing so, he’s tapped into a lingering east-west culture divide, and maybe a few extra votes.
Gysi’s political career started in East Germany where he was something of a dissident within the ruling Socialist Unity Party (SED). In the 1980s, when Gysi was pushing for reform, the “free body culture,” or FKK as it is known in Germany, was widespread in Communist East Germany, a politically repressed people’s way of telling the world that they actually enjoyed freedom of a sort. In 1982, there were 40 official nude beaches in the Communist nation and lots of others that weren’t mentioned in the state-published guidebook.
Though the German nudist organization, DFK, still includes about 40,000 people in some 135 local societies, the numbers have been going down, and nude beaches are closing. It’s noticeable in Berlin; some of the city’s many lake-side beaches have given up their “textile-free” policies since I moved here in 2014. Read full original article…
Source: Bloomberg View
11 August, 2017, 7:10 pm