Nostalgia for the goods, symbols, and culture of the former East Germany. Also: ost-algia, ostalgie. (German: ost, east + nostalgie, nostalgia.)
"Die DDR Show" and at least three other retro programs like it are riding an unprecedented wave of nostalgia for all things East. Communist-era products that had long disappeared from German supermarket shelves are enjoying rapidly rising sales. Reissues of East German films and music are selling like hotcakes, as are a slew of new books by young authors telling tales of their childhood in the East. At "DDR" parties in Berlin and Leipzig, guests arrive wearing youth-league uniforms and dance to old Eastern bands, such as Die Puhdys or Karat. The phenomenon even has a name: ostalgiea combination of the German words for "nostalgia" and "east." It will be 13 years this week since the German Democratic Republic (GDR) disappeared from the map, but, in the German popular imagination, the former country seems more alive than ever.
Stefan Theil, "Red Again," The New Republic, October 13, 2003
Ostalgia. It means nostalgia for the East, and 13 years after the fall of the Berlin wall, it's changing the way Germans view life in the former communist German Democratic Republic. Across the country, and especially the old East, tourist shrines are popping up commemorating the defunct regime. Floods of newly eager visitors are snapping up socialist-era "relics" and souvenirs. One enterprising business group even plans to cash in on the craze by opening a GDR theme park in Berlincomplete with surly East German border guards who rummage through your belongings, looking for counterrevolutionary "contraband."
So hot is "Ost," in fact, that trendy Berliners have taken to throwing so-called East parties. Guests dressed in the blue shirts of the former Communist Youth Organization cavort in halls bedecked with GDR flags. They quaff Rotkppchen, or Little Red Riding Hood, a sparkling wine produced by one of the few East German companies to survive the transition to capitalism, and they dance to the tunes of a bygone era.
Wieslaw Wawrzyniak, "Hello, Lenin!," Newsweek, May 12, 2003
Q. What do you think of the wave of "ostalgia" that has come over the East, where people are throwing GDR parties, singing old Communist songs and putting Erich Honecker's picture back on the wall?
A. I wouldn't call it nostalgia. No one wants the old system back. But I understand that they are suffering from the everyday problems of the switch from dictatorship to democracy and command to market economy.
Brandon Mitchener, "Q&A: A Lesson From East Germans?," International Herald Tribune, October 4, 1993