Twenty years ago, tens of thousands of people inhabited a Russian city
called Arzamas-16, some 220 miles east of Moscow. Officially the city
was nonexistent; unofficially, its residents were building the Soviet
Union’s mighty nuclear arsenal.
When the Cold War ended 20 years ago, Elke Giese was East Germany’s head
designer. With her staff, she developed the look of the Socialist
Once a year, Gunnar Lahne, an East German engineer, gets together with a
group of friends. This fall they’ll meet again, but with a trace of
sadness. Not because they miss East Germany, but because they witnessed
its collapse as conscripts holed up in army barracks.