Who is Quang Vinh Dao?

Dao's road to Germany

First impressions of the GDR

Impressions and significance of the Wall

Fall of the Wall and the Vietnamese community in West Berlin

Changes and worries after 1989

Uncertain future and problems with integration

Racism in the divided city and today

Opportunities in unified Germany

Dao's work and success

Germany: an immigration country

"We were left in the lurch then"

Đào Quang Vinh, 2021

Đào Quang Vinh was born in Vietnam in 1969 and moved to East Berlin to be a contract worker in 1987, aged 18. Contract workers were hired by the GDR state on temporary contracts with other socialist countries, mostly Vietnam and Mozambique. Đào Quang Vinh worked in the men’s clothing factory VEB Fortschritt Herrenbekleidung in East Berlin and attended language classes in the VEB Narva lightbulb factory, close to where the East Side Gallery now stands. After the fall of the Wall in 1989 he decided to stay in Germany rather than return to Vietnam. Looking back at the transition period, he remembers a feeling of being left in the lurch by the German government. Like all contract workers, he went through a long and arduous struggle to obtain residence and work permits. Today Đào Quang Vinh is site director of a language school in Berlin.

The online exhibition Eigensinn im Bruderland (Self-will in the sister country) shows eyewitness reports, material and information on the life of contract workers in the GDR:


Contemporary witnesses