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By the time it collapsed, the East German regime had co-opted it.Official propaganda even pushed the nudist norm to the outside world as evidence of the country’s progressiveness.“The ‘nudist unions’ were a by-product of the disintegration of imperialism in the area of body culture and sports,” the state sports organization declared in 1951.“As an expression of imperialist decadence, ‘nudist unions’ cannot be tolerated.” By 1954, nude bathing was largely banned from Baltic beaches even if it didn’t involve membership in any group.Rebel yells were heard as police approached: nudists had set up a warning system.
Josie Mc Lellan of the University of Bristol wrote in a 2007 paper: “The main reason for this was sustained civil disobedience on the part of East German citizens who found the policy ludicrous and refused to comply.
There can’t be many countries where a major political party’s leader would campaign on a nude beach.
But German politician Gregor Gysi, leader of Die Linke, the anti-capitalist party that is the third biggest in the current parliament, has done so this week to bemoan the declining popularity of naturism in his country.
So in 1956, nude beaches were officially allowed, and though ad-hoc attempts to clear them out persisted for some years, it was clear that the naked people had won.
FKK became an acceptable form of expressing individual freedom.
This largely leftist tradition is something to cherish at a time of political stasis; even if Die Linke’s attempts to whitewash East Germany are transparently self-serving, it has a role in keeping the undercurrent of rough, informal democracy alive.