1. Justin

    Justin Owner Administrator

    Josef Czikmantory has only love for his Trabant, which carried his family from the East bloc to the West in 1986.

    It's been said that beauty is skin deep, but ugly is to the bone. The late and clearly not lamented communist-era East German Trabant was not only ugly but plug-ugly.

    To say it looks like a clown car insults all the other clown cars.

    Time magazine wrote of the Trabant, "This is the car that gave communism a bad name."

    But one man's eyesore is another man's amore. And when Josef Czikmantory sees his much-maligned Trabant gleaming in the Southern California sun, what he sees is freedom. What he sees is an escape from the yoke of Soviet-style socialism. What he sees is something beautiful.

    It was a 1975 Trabant 601 that carried Czikmantory and his family from the Eastern bloc to the West in 1986, when freedom seemed an elusive and priceless commodity.

  2. Keri

    Keri Leader

    Funny how his first taste of "Freedom" was being told he was required to have car insurance...

    Again, the question that western-style wage slavery apologists refuse to answer:

    The Freedom of WHO to do WHAT? To WHO?
  3. RogerDerSchrauber

    RogerDerSchrauber Loyal Comrade

    You had to have car insurance in the GDR. There was essentially one company, Staatliche Versicherung der DDR, a Kombinat which took over more and more of the workers' insurance concerns as time went on. All the old firms had been kicked out by the USSR after the war. No competition, no incentive to do a better job for it or their customers. But no profits either. Gotta take the good with the bad, I guess.

    You mostly paid a flat rate for your car insurance. The insurance system in the GDR for car drivers looked good on paper, but had a lot of problems in the real world. Internally, they couldn't pay their bills, and were hemorrhaging money the whole time in the GDR.

    But for the customer, there were no reductions on one's insurance, if one were an accident-free driver, and one got no points or extra fees tacked on one's insurance if one had accidents. There was also no lowering of fees if one lived in a poorer area, or if one had a smaller car. The only thing which might affect one's car insurance would have been a larger engine displacement. The policy holder got complete damage reimbursement, just as one would for house, liability, life insurance, etc. The tax authorities made up for the massive losses in insurance payments through paying out of general funds to make up the difference.

    Nevertheless, from the standpoint of the average person, at least in terms of the reduced expectations of people living in the GDR, the insurance system worked out well for the customer. The insurance appraisers generally showed up quickly, and the insurance settlements didn't take an especially long time to be issued.

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