About Franz Strasser
For three weeks, I will travel back to the area where everything started and talk to people about all aspects of their last 20 years in a reunified Germany. Those I plan on meeting include the citizens of Altenburg, who saw the population of the city shrink from 55,000 to 35,000 when many left for better opportunities elsewhere and the people of Schlottwitz, who had built their own houses with the new currency and who saw them washed away in the flood of 2002.
With my camera and tripod, I will travel to areas where unemployment is as high as 17%, to cities such as Leipzig and Dresden that blossomed with the support of international tourism, and to places where the successor of the German Reich Party, the NPD, receives 11% of the vote.
When the Berlin Wall came down on 9 November, 1989, I was five years old and stood in our small kitchen in a housing complex in East Germany.
I did not grasp the events that were unfolding but I remember seeing the joyful faces of my parents who had lived all their lives behind the Wall, dreaming about another world out there to discover.
20 years later, on a sunny day in New York City, I saw the same expressions on both their faces when I proudly showed them my Masters diploma from Columbia University's School of Journalism - a place impossible to visit just two decades earlier. I now work for BBC World News America.
A lot has happened to the people of Eastern Germany since that day in 1989. It brought together two very different economies, reunited families, and started a new era for people living east and west of the former border.
This blog will be updated throughout my journey with videos and my notes. Your thoughts, comments and questions are very much appreciated.
PS: The first image in this post shows me standing in front of a Mercedes Benz showroom in West Berlin shortly after the Wall fell.