You should know by now, I love a bad pun. But how else am I supposed to introduce my plastic-bodied but quality Erika 105 typewriter?

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Since she was made in East Germany, my thoughts naturally turned to that much despised (and rightly so) former Chief of the GDR, Erich Honecker, and his wife, Margot “the Purple Witch” Honecker.

Honeckers

Erich Honecker was married three times – first marrying  a prison warden, Charlotte Schanuel (née Drost), after being liberated from prison in 1945.  Charlotte died suddenly from a brain tumour in June 1947. Details of this marriage were not revealed until 2003 –  9 years after Honecker’s death.

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Honecker’s second marriage, in 1949, was to Edith Baumann, a Free German Youth official he met on a trip to Moscow. They had a daughter, Erika.

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Not much of a connection, you might think, especially given that Erika typewriters were around a long time before the Honeckers came to power.

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Think again:

  • 1950, Erika Honecker is born.
  • 1950, the Erika line restarts after the war under the auspices of “VEB Schreibmaschinenwerk Dresden.
  • 1989, production of the Erika typewriter comes to an end.
  • 1989, Erich Honecker is ousted during the Counter Revolution of that same year.

I know… spooky!

In 1952, Erich Honecker fathers an illegitimate daughter, Sonja (b. December 1952) divorces his second wife and marries the child’s mother, Margot Feist, in 1953.  Where does that leave little Erika? I’ll tell you where, out of the picture.

According to Henecker’s personal butler, Lothar Herzog, when talking about Erika: “– “though they looked after their daughter, she stayed in a social facility from Monday through Friday. She went to school, first in Wandlitz, then in Berlin-Pankow. So, essentially, it was only on the weekends that she had a normal family life.”

Still, at least she shares her name with a loveable line of typewriters, bless her!

Familie Honecker beim Spaziergang im Winter

From Left to Right: Erich, Margot, Aneke (granddaughter), Erika. 

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Message left on platen by previous owner.

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