|Photo from Pavel Danilyuk from Pexels|
Welcome to Season 2021 of the annual A - Z Blogging Challenge. Yesterday we made sure to strike while the Iron is hot.
Today's post is J is for
(Some Score) from the East German Judge
As you may have noticed, "when Harry met Sally" is one of my favorite movies. A somewhat absurd scene happened during the years the two were just friends and able to talk about everything. Harry told Sally about a dream he had:
I was making love, and the Olympic judges were watching. I’d nailed the compulsaries, so this is it, the finals. I got a 9.8 from the Canadians, a perfect 10 from the Americans, and my mother, disguised as an East German judge, gave me a 5.6. Must have been the dismount.
I never paid much attention to it.
The evil East German Judge was a cliché I grew up with in Switzerland.
When I was a kid and teen, Germany was still divided into Bundesrepublik (the Western part) and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). They were known for being supportive and (overly) ambitious towards their young athletes. It went as far as state-sponsored drug programs. I'll come to that in a minute.
Being a communist / socialist state that was not in favor of anything Western (think consumerism, capitalism...) of course they would not generously grade an American's performance ;-)
Sorry, Harry - try harder.
Kidding aside. Even though I thought I knew what went down in East Germany back then, I keep finding out more than I actually want to know.
Let's talk about the performance enhancing drugs they made their young athletes take - without their knowledge. The girls were as young as 13 years old when they were given "vitamins" to make them strong and help their bodies to recover faster from injuries.
Guess what, they were anabolic steroids that made the young girls' bodies change. So much so that they became more and more masculine. Which is great in terms of more muscles, less fat equals more strength. Not so great in every other aspect, though. Side effects from steroid consumption were known from as early as 1963, included increased risk of cardiovascular disease, liver problems, violent mood swings, extreme masculinising effects in females and a clear link with certain forms of cancer.
Rica Reinisch was a successful backstroke swimmer (Triple Gold at 1980's Olympic Games in Moscow) who has suffered miscarriages and ovarian cysts as a result of the drugs she was given.
|Photo by Alex Smith on Unsplash|
Heidi Krieger won Olympic Gold in shot putting when she was 20 years old. Having been doped for six or seven years caused her to be confused about her sexual identity. A gender affirmation surgery turned Heidi into Andreas.
In 2002 Andreas got married to Ute Krause, a former East German swimmer, whom he met at a trial against the people who were responsible for the planing and execution of "State Plan 1425"
The list of victims goes on, and it's sickening.
The people who were responsible were ultimately charged with "intentional bodily harm" and sentenced to 18 - 22 months on probation or monetary fines. Some still work in the diagnostic field associated with professional athletes.
This wasn't the only sh** the East German regime pulled off. Have you heard of forced adoptions of East Germany's stolen children?
Renegades who tried to escape from East Germany and got caught, were sent to prison or labor camp. If they had kids, they were brought to children's homes, where adoptions to families that were loyal to the socialist party, were facilitated. Courts withdrew the biological parents' rights in absentia.
Also they separated siblings.
Many parents have never managed to see their kids again, and brothers and sisters were not able to reunite, and it's not that they didn't try.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall the people responsible were not stupid. They destroyed documents in order to save their butts, and they're not talking either.
An unsuccessful fleeing to the West wasn't the only way for authorities to take away people's kids. An East German law actually demanded that parents raised their children to become active contributors to socialism. Failing to do so (it could have been something seemingly innocent like saying anything that was critical of the regime or reading the foreign press) often resulted in the parents' losing their parenting rights.
Another cruel thing they did was to tell unsuitable mothers that their baby had died, either at birth or a few days later at the hospital. These babies were given to better parents.
How did the authorities, namely the state security agency "Stasi", learned about these terrible mothers or parents?
Mass surveillance by informants. As many as one informant for every 6.5 citizens. Neighbors, coworkers, teammates, seemingly nice people would take notes about you: when you were going where, with whom. What music you listened to, what TV shows you were watching, it's hard to even imagine.
They didn't stop at notes. With technology developing, they hid cameras in casts, shopping bags and the like. So now they had pictures!
My heart is so heavy while I'm researching for this post. What upsets me the most that these things happened after WWII. At a time that the world claimed to never again blindly following evil regimes that treats people with contempt.
I'd like to wrap this up with something lighthearted.
It wasn't easy to come up with a phrase that includes a J-word. As an alternative to today's post, I was thinking of things organized people do just in case. You know, to be prepared.
Did you know there is a hockey player called Justin Case? He has no stats yet. He was deployed as a goaltender for the Northeastern University Huskies in season 2018/19. I guess he was the backup guy for the team. You know, just in case.
|Photo by Chris Liverani on Unsplash|
Have you ever heard of East Germany's violation of human rights?
Let me know down below. Please include the link to your post in your comment to make it easier for me to visit you.
Tomorrow I'm gonna need your help in order to Kill two Birds with one Stone - so please, come back!