Who is Vũ Ngọc Roãn?

From socialist solidarity to racist exclusion

Communism v. capitalism

Life before and after 1989

His road to Germany

A contract worker in Berlin

Life with the Berlin Wall

Looking back at the fall of the Wall in 1989

Deciding to stay

Struggle with red tape and German bureaucracy

Life in Berlin after 1989

"We love our German homeland very much – to me, it is a second home."

Vũ Ngọc Roãn, 2021

Vũ Ngọc Roãn was born in Vietnam and moved to East Berlin to be a "contract worker" in 1982. "Contract workers" were hired by the GDR under temporary contracts from other socialist countries, mostly Vietnam and Mozambique. Vũ Ngọc Roãn worked in the VEB Narva lightbulb factory, close to where the East Side Gallery now stands. Today he is an entrepreneur, active in the textile industry and advertising. When he looks back at the period after the fall of the Wall, he recalls the bureaucratic hurdles that made staying in Germany so difficult as well as his delight at being able to get to know "the West". He also remembers new fears and situations in which he was threatened with violence. But Germany is nonetheless a second home to him.

Additional information:

The online exhibition "Eigensinn im Bruderland" shows eyewitness statements, materials and information on the life of "contract workers" in the GDR: https://bruderland.de/episodes/werktaetige/

Contemporary witnesses