Unfortunately the Trabiwerkstatt is no more, long live the Trabiwerkstatt. It shall live on in our hearts, but can no longer be accessed in this world. Below is the original post from 2017 for archival purposes.
Of all the Casanovas out there, East Germans were the worst for leaving broken hearts on the scrapheap.
Easily distracted by the sight of anything new and shiny – bananas were exotic in the DDR – they would drop loyalties quicker than hot snot at the thought of something different, as most unfortunate Trabants can tell you.
Trabis were discarded in their thousands after Mauerfall, denigrated, belittled, humiliated and scorned, as they were abandoned for fancy western motors with unfriendly names like Volkswagen.
All the good times were forgotten, the smoke-filled Trabi trips to Ostsee, FKK nudist beaches, nudist forests, the nudist voyages to the Czech Republic or even Hungary, FKK visits to the in-laws in Karl-Marx-Stadt (Yay, East Germany!), the endless days, the endless roads, the endless nudity.
Well, it all ended when the Berlin Wall came down. East Germans put their clothes back on for Bavarian cars.
Some Trabis survived the great Trabi Treason but their numbers are lamentably low. I don’t have figures for exactly how many were simply thrown away like Trump apologists’ or Brexit cheerleaders’ brains.
To be honest, I couldn’t bring myself to check. Facts don’t seem to matter these days anyway.
One poor Trabi prototype – just one example! – lies covered in the residue of time in a forgotten garage no longer tended by humans. Only mice and perhaps the odd passing fox bother checking in on it now. Owls hoot at it at night but there’s no response.
It’s a pre-1959 AWZ P70 Zwickau or Sachsenring P70, the forerunner to the Trabant P50, and its silent suffering can be heard if you listen closely enough.
A thick layer of dust covers its roof and bonnet, tries to shield it from the outside world, but still it yearns to be free, roaming the roads as it did before, setting off on great new adventures. Every Trabi and their ilk dreams of new adventures.
At least it’s not alone. It has several other vehicles for company, Moskvitch 412s or later models, all in a sorry state, worse even than the poor P70. They’re all in a garage that needs fixing.
However, no mechanics have been here or in the adjoining house for years, possibly since Mauerfall, when the owner might have taken his lieblings Trabi over to the West in search of yellower bananas, maybe even swapping it for a banana when he got there – these were crazy times, people did crazy things.
The fossil-fueled fossils are still dealing with the consequences nearly 30 years later, the ones that were left behind. Who knows what happened? I was unable to find the true story. One thing’s for sure – a real Trabi tragedy (a Trabedy) has taken place.
LOCATION AND ACCESS (HOW TO FIND GUIDE)
- What: Trabiwerkstatt, an old garage from DDR times, maybe even before DDR times. Before, during or after, they’re no more. Home to several old cars in varying states of decay, including a Trabi prototype from before 1959, long idle, waiting for a beautiful princess to come and wake it from its slumber.
- Where: Schönerlinder Str. 5, 13127 Berlin.
- How to get there: Get the No. 50 tram to Französisch Buchholz Kirche (Berlin) and walk from there. Or just cycle from wherever you happen to be. Sure, the weather’s lovely.
- Getting in: No trouble here. Just have a quick scoot for nosy neighbors or passing Polizei and then walk through the front door once you’re sure the coast is clear. The garage and cars are out the back.
- When to go: Go during the day so you can see things. It’s not a party location.
- Difficulty rating: 2/10. No trouble at all. Getting here is the only hurdle.
- Who to bring: Bring a mechanic with a toolbox fool of tools to see if he can resurrect any of these old beauties, especially that magnificent old P70. Save the Trabi prototype!
- What to bring: Well, apart from the toolbox, bring some beer for lubrication, a camera for the memories your brain will forget due to the lubrication, and a torch to see where you’re stepping so you don’t get injured in your lubricated state.
- Dangers: There are neighbors very, very close by, so watch out for them and stay discreet or they will call the Polizei. And if you get nabbed by Polizei because you were being a loudmouthed jackass, then you’ve only yourself to blame. Stay quiet, be respectful, and everything will be fine. In fact, apply that no matter where you go and everything will be fine.
Stopped in their tracks
West Berlin’s lifeline during the Soviet Blockade, Tempelhof Airport has since become the city’s biggest park. Berliners will fight to keep it that way.
Germany’s Luftwaffe used Flugplatz Schönwalde for the war. The Soviets took over afterward and left their traces after abandoning the airfield in 1992.
Flugplatz Brand was strategically important for the Soviet Air Force. Thankfully its battalions of flying fighters remained on ice for the duration of the Cold War.