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Europe / East Germany, Existence thereof / E-T-I

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suze
151551.  Mon Feb 26, 2007 8:29 am Reply with quote

This is something which I've picked up from the outside forums - and having done a bit of digging it seems that there might be something in it. (Credit to violet/riga who originally picked this one up, and to Jan (Hans Mof) who brought it to my attention and supplied a couple of German language sources.)

Ernst-Thälmann-Insel (formerly Cayo Blanco de Sur) is a small island off the coast of Cuba, which Fidel Castro gave as a gift to East Germany in 1972 while on a visit to Berlin. It was renamed Ernst-Thälmann-Insel and a statue of Herr Thälmann was erected there (he was a former Chairman of the German Communist Party; his statue fell down in 1998 as a result of Hurricane Mitch and hasn't been picked up again).

The Einigungsvertrag (treaty of German unification) of 1990 makes no mention of this remote outpost of the DDR, which leads to the possible conclusion that it wasn't included - and hence continues to be East German territory.

A German website called Thema 1 stumbled across the existence of this island in 2001, and attempted to offer it for sale. At this point, Castro declared that he had never actually ceded the island, but that his action in 1972 had merely been "symbolic".

That would rather neatly solve what briefly threatened to become an Incident, but it doesn't really seem to be true. East German flags flew there, and an East German pop singer called Frank Schöbel made a record there (sadly, it seems to have been lost to posterity).

It needs some more nailing down, but there just could be something in this.

Sources:

post 151410 (violet/riga's original mention of the story)
http://strangemaps.wordpress.com/2007/02/20/79-east-germany-lives-on-as-a-tiny-carribean-island/
(her source, a blog post)
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernst-Th%C3%A4lmann-Insel (German language Wiki article)
http://www.zdf.de/ZDFde/inhalt/28/0,1872,2094396,00.html
(ZDF is I suppose Germany's equivalent to BBC2, so its website ought to be a tolerably reliable source. In German.)

The island's own website mustn't have paid its fees, because it now carries nothing but adverts for T Mobile.

 
Gray
152873.  Fri Mar 02, 2007 5:24 am Reply with quote

The English version of the Wiki article mentions that after reunification in 1990, Germany made no claim on the island (although whether that means they were told to bog of by Castro is anyone's guess).

Odd though, as the Germans are usually the first to claim their beach space...

 
Vitali
153036.  Fri Mar 02, 2007 9:59 am Reply with quote

A very interesting fact, Suze.
The Germans actually lost a tiny bit of their territory in 1964. It is a patch of farland called Verenahof that was readmitted to Switzerland. Will tell you more about it on Monday.

 
suze
153510.  Sun Mar 04, 2007 1:06 pm Reply with quote

The English language Wiki article has now been completely rewritten (translated from the German by Hans Mof and wikified by violet/riga). Don't we have some useful people around these forums?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernst_Th%C3%A4lmann_Island

 

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