Since 1976 the History Workshop Journal is one of the world’s leading historical journals. It is part of the Oxford University Press. On the homepage of the journal you find a lot of interesting articles and essays. Most of them aren’t free and you can only read the abstracts. But, I found an essay which you can read completely for free.
It is an essay by Eli Rubin, the author of “Synthetic Socialism: Plastics and Dictatorship in the German Democratic Republic”. And it deals with the history of the Trabant, the “probably most potent symbol of Ostalgie” (p. 41) in this day and age. The title is “The Trabant: Consumption, Eigen-Sinn,and Movement” and you can learn a lot about the role of the Trabant in the GDR.
The essay is divided in four chapters:
1) AT THE INTERSECTION OF SOCIALIST CONSUMPTION AND COLD WAR AUTARKY
2) EIGEN-SINN AND CAMPING: THE TRABI IN THE FABRIC OF EVERYDAY LIFE IN EAST GERMANY
3) THE TRABANT AS PART OF THE ‘BEWEGUNGSSYSTEM’
4) THE ‘OBJECT OF DESIRE’ STRANDED: TRABANTS AS A FETISH AFTER 1989
It is again a little part of the GDR history, which will help you, as it helped me, to complete the picture of a bygone state, a state and a life situation that was really different to the today known one.