Angela Merkel dressed

If you’ve been following us over the past couple of days you’ll know that South Korea has gone mad about photos purporting to be Angela Merkel nude, with over 16,000 page views from S.Korea alone yesterday.

The Huffington Post reported these same photos in 2013, and says they’ve been doing the rounds since 2009. It’s fairly clear that they’re a hoax, an April Fool’s joke, according to some.

What’s less likely to be a hoax is the following photograph.



From 1972, it shows a then 17 year old Angela Kasner taking part in a civil defence exercise under the watchful eye of an East German officer.

This photograph surfaced a couple of years ago and apparently did not meet with the approval of the German chancellor, who has always denied links to East Germany’s communist past. 

Personally, I don’t see this photograph as anything ominous. To be able to attend university, it was necessary to be part of these exercises, regardless of one’s personal ideologies, so there’s nothing particularly sinister about this, bearing the time and the divisions in eastern Europe.

What I’ve said before, and maintain now, is that -also within the time and the ideologies involved- I’d be wholly surprised if Mrs. Merkel hadn’t observed or participated in naturism as a part of normal, everyday life. Prior to the Berlin Wall and the communist bloc collapsing in 1989, east Germans were strong advocates of naturism.

After the war, naturism didn’t gain popularity in the capitalist west as it did in East Germany, where it took on more social significance. By the 1960s, it had become a mass movement, said historian Hans Bergemann, who in 2000 organized a touring exhibition in Germany on the FKK movement. 

“FKK became so popular that in principle no one noticed whether people were naked or dressed*,” Weinreich said of people’s casual attitude toward nudists.

With this mindset, can we really believe that the Chancellor never participated in naturism in her youth? I find that hard to believe.

One thing I would say is that if real photos ever were to surface of her participating in the naturist lifestyle, it would be an enormous fillip to the lifestyle not just in Germany, but right across Europe. Furthermore, I believe those photographs would be a enormous boost to Mrs. Merkel’s personal popularity. If such photos exist, there’s currently no evidence of them likely to appear. Naturism, it seems, is rather more of a skeleton in the cupboard of public figures than the political taboo of the past couple of decades: ‘I smoked a joint but didn’t inhale’.




(above: the young Angela Kasner)


Angela Kasner camping at Himmelpfort, 1973. Yes, there are facilities for naturism at Himmelpfort (although this is true for many locations in Germany)


*in naturism, this remains true, even now.



My Nude Debut: A series (Monika grows up in the DDR)

I am not a naturist in real life: any longer! I am not a regular naturist even in Second Life, I prefer the social interaction and shopping for clothes when I play, which isn’t a very regular occurrence. But I have been a naturist in the past in both of my lives, the real and the virtual.

Let me explain. I grew up in the DDR, the Democratic German republic, or East Germany as you might know it better, in the late 1960s and 1970s. Of course we were behind the invisible wall that divided us from western Europe, and the real wall that divided us from West Germany, the Federal German Republic as it was known then.

What you think you know about East Germany is probably mostly true, including the bit about East Germans embracing the naturist lifestyle. Of course we did. I maybe wasn’t aware of the full reasons as to why we were all so readily naked at the beach back then. Now, I know it is because it represented a little bit of freedom from what was a very structured and observed life. With the authorities watching all of us, and the Stasi spying on many of us, maybe even me, the FKK beach, the Freikoerperkultur beach, the nudist beach, was a freedom.

I grew a few kilometres outside the town of Wismar, not so far from the West German border, right on the coast of the Ostsee, the Baltic Sea, and summers were often spent at the beach perhaps just like people in West Germany, in England or in America.

I don’t remember that we ever wore swimming costumes at the beach. I don’t remember owning one. We simply went to the beach and everyone got naked to swim and enjoy the sun. I would meet schoolfriends there, male and female, and it seemed normal to see them naked. Or to see the butcher naked, or the woman who worked in the bakery, or my parents. All was normal. At home, at bath time, my brother and I would be bathed together. I cannot remember thinking that he looked so different to me that he had a penis and I did not, that I had a vagina and he did not.

There were four of us children. I have an older brother, two years older, and a sister one year younger and brother three years younger. When I was maybe ten years old all four of us would walk or bicycle to the beach and spend all day there, every day, in summer. At weekends our parents would accompany us.

I didn’t think I was naturist because I had no framework to say ‘this is strange compared to others in the world’. It was how things were. But I do remember starting to feel a little bit shy and embarrassed for one summer when my breasts began to grow, pubic hair appeared and I began to menstruate. For that time I was not so free with my naked body. My female school friends would have been the same. By the following summer the feels of shame or embarrassment at a changing body had gone, we were all back to being naked, every day in summer.monika1_001b

At home, too, all the year, nudity was normal in circumstances where nudity might be expected, either in the bathroom or between the bathroom and bedroom. There was no shame involved, and no shame even during the period of body change. As a young woman, rather than a girl, the act of being naked on the beach became a little more ‘cool’ with us maybe segregating by sex to spend time with a bunch of girl friends and the boys did the same. When ten years old I would have climbed naked onto the shoulders of my brother and he would throw me off and into the sea in our games. Following puberty? No. And in turn my younger brother would climb onto my shoulders and sit naked and I would do the same with him, throw him off into the sea. Games until puberty.

When the time came to choose a boyfriend I ended up with a guy in my brother’s class. Before we started dating we had long been aware of each other’s naked bodies. When the time came to make love for the first time we stripped without fear or embarrassment, already familiar with how the other one looked unclothed. It made the subsequent act of lovemaking much less difficult, I think, than for many others. My first time of sex was nice, I think, not awkward. This is a benefit of that naturist upbringing.

I moved away to Berlin, to university, and the naturism was no more. Of course I was quite accepting of the naked body. I slept nude on hot summer nights, I wandered my student apartment naked if it was warm. I was there at the Wall when people began to knock it down. It felt like such a release. Maybe it is appropriate or not to say that my boyfriend and I stood crying and laughing as it fell and my memory tells me I had an orgasm. My boyfriend and I went home and made love many times with a wildness I had not had in sex before or since.

Once free to travel, I travelled. Sometimes a naturist beach would be close and I would happily swim and sunbathe naked but I didn’t seek it out. I didn’t feel necessarily drawn to being naked. In fact, I bought my first bikini to wear on a beach because it looked sexy.monika3_001b

I have never married or had children. My partner and I now split our time between a home in Berlin and an apartment in Croatia. I sunbathe topless but rarely am I fully nude in public situations. I am not ashamed of my body, but it is a case of us not having much opportunity to be naked on beaches. We sauna together once a week and of course there is nudity there, of both sexes, but I don’t think of this as naturism.

East German naturists, 1989


(Received text translated via Google translate by Ella: Monika photos by Diane Toxx)

Die Berliner Mauer, FKK und ein Wiederaufbau der ideologischen Grenzen*



"Berliner Mauer" in Berlin-Spandau

Signs set into the pavement show exactly where the Berlin Wall sliced the city in two.

* Blog post title reads, in German, The Berlin Wall, naturism and the rebuilding of ideological borders

Twenty five years ago, next week,  The Berlin Wall began to fall, quite literally, and thousands of Germans from both sides of the divided city spilled through it. Even though I was a child, I recall my parents watching the TV in amazement as ‘The Iron Curtain’ was dismantled over the next momentous year or so.

Of course, the dismantling process of the Soviet Bloc had begun before November 10th. Poland had begun the domino effect as recently as August 1988, as it sought to wriggle free of Soviet control. Other Warsaw Pact countries followed suit. Hungary had begun removing its barbed wire border fence with Austria, effectively meaning those in the communist east could walk straight into the democratic west unhindered. But it was on a chilly November night, 25 years ago, the symbol of Europe’s division came down.

Other countries’ revolutions (largely peaceful) would follow from there. With the great symbol of division between east & west gone, the game was up.

Wismarer Bucht, FKK-Strand Ostsee, Sonnenbad

Two images of east German naturism, pre-1989 (source : wikipedia)

Behind the wall, life was very strictly regulated in East Germany. There were few freedoms, and people’s actions were controlled by the secret police, the Stasi. Because of this, naturism (‘FKK ‘, freikorperkultur or ‘free body culture’) was massively popular and remains so.

You can get a sense of how and why the FKK movement became so popular in East Germany here, in a (UK) Indedpendent newspaper report from 2009. In a way, naturism was one of people’s few freedoms, and they embraced it in a huge way.


Since the fall of the wall there’s been something of a mini-industry in books that have attempted to explain the movement’s appeal. You can also find a couple of videos here of archived TV footage (from the MDR channel) in which a female TV reporter, fully nude herself, interviews German naturists who are totally relaxed about being on TV naked. The one here (also listed in the previous link) is specifically about east German naturism, filmed in 1978.

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Since then it has seemed as if that political earthquake that led to freedoms for millions who grew up under communism has, rather than shatter old certainties, seen them coalesce in different ways. The ideological border of communism has been replaced by a world oddly less free, and more intolerant, than it was 25 years ago.

 I know you’re thinking that you know what I’m thinking. ISIL. Islamic fundamentalism.

Well, yes I am, and no I’m not. They’re easy targets as pillars of intolerance. I could probably reel of pages on what I find to be abhorrent about Islam compared to the paragraph or so which would cast it in positive light. But I could do exactly the same thing for Christian fundamentalism.

 The issue is why is the world an increasingly intolerant place? In the last 25 years we’ve seen people commit vile inhumane acts on one another, a decrease in manners and patience, an increase in not being able to tolerate the views of others, be it in naturism, in aspects of religion or anything else. It’s all rather depressing that what might have seemed like a new, more liberal world 25 years ago has turned into a more conservative place, with the views of others not being allowed to thrive within their own boundaries. Some research will show that, where East Germany’s widespread embracing of the FKK lifestyle saw thousands bathe and sun themselves nude on the Baltic coast and around lakes, unhindered, 25 years ago, reunification with the west has shown an increase in intolerance to the lifestyle. Indeed, shortly after the fall of the Wall, and West Germans began holidaying in the east, the extent of naturism shocked them to the extent German media began referring to Höschenkrieg – the Panty War. In the home of naturism, where naturism was widespread in the eastern half, the Ossi’s (the Easterners) suddenly found their bare beaches would require labelling, to that everyone would know where they stood on the issue.

Twenty years later, the Usedom beach near the German/Polish border would also become the scene of a small naturist ‘war’ over the right to bare arms…and everything else 🙂