From the Scotsman:
They have seen the feel-good movies that captured the spirit of the good old days. They have eaten the food and even rebuilt a stretch of the Berlin Wall. Now the German appetite for ‘Ostalgia’, the love of all-things from the former communist east, is being satisfied with a spell in the army.
Germans who lost their pride along with their country nearly 15 years ago are queuing up in large numbers to spend £190 on martial weekends where the discipline is tough, the food grotty, but the thrill "unbeatable".
The venture has been launched by two brothers, Reinhard and Christophe Heyes, who have bought several monster T-55 Soviet-made battle tanks from a scrap metal dealer in Czech Republic along with a set of armoured cars. The guns no longer work but the engines still roar like thunder, and, for stood-down personnel of the former East German "People’s Army" in particular, the thrill of what-might-have-been is what lures them to the tanks’ battleground 50 miles north of Berlin.
It sounds like a masochist’s ball: sleeping under canvas, up at 6am on cold and wet mornings for 20 minutes brisk physical training in the mud followed by an ice-cold shower, bed-making and "personal care". Woe-betide the weekend warrior who doesn’t get his olive-green Volksarmee-issue bedside closet gleaming like a crown jewel.
If they're so keen on the military life, there's a struggle going on in Iraq at the moment to build some sort of liberal democracy against Jihadists and assorted Baathist remnants, where help might be appreciated. But that's, you know, for real...