Leopold Hoesch
Carolin Wagner
Vera Bertram
1 x 45'
Markus Gaal
The dawn of the economic miracle

75 years of NRW - WDR looks back at the zero hour, tells how the state took off. The 1950s in our state tell like a modern fairy tale. From nothing, around rubble, the state becomes the engine of the young Federal Republic. From conceivably poor starting conditions, NRW manages to soar to unimagined heights out of nowhere. The zest for life returns. Consumption and prosperity return.

At the beginning of the 1950s, the economic miracle took off and life in North Rhine-Westphalia became more reliable again. Awakening was the word of the hour. Between Bonn and Bielefeld, Minister President Karl Arnold saw to it that thousands of new flats were built. The first Photokina took place in Cologne in 1951 and Louis Armstrong toured NRW very successfully, shaping a new era with his music.

The second episode of the four-part WDR series "Unser Land in den 50ern" (Our country in the 1950s) focuses on the years 1951 to early 1954. Politically, Adenauer set a clear direction: Integration and recognition in the Western world. After the signing of the German Treaty in 1952, Bonn once again received foreign guests and Adenauer travelled the world.

The young state of North Rhine-Westphalia was buzzing. In 1952, the newly built Westfalenhalle was opened in Dortmund and the NWDR broadcast the first German post-war television programme from the newly built broadcasting centre in Cologne. Peter Millowitsch takes us back to the days when his father Willy managed to have the first live television broadcast from his Volkstheater. With the Etappenhasen, the Rhenish theatre became known throughout Germany. The Düsseldorf figure skating couple Ria and Paul Falk caused a sensation when they brought the gold medal from the Winter Olympics, in which West Germany was allowed to participate again for the first time, back to the Rhine.

Probably because of this spirit of optimism, the 1950s are still a decade of longing for many in Germany: Sarah Bokermann, born in 1978, from Gütersloh has dedicated her life entirely to the "Fifties". Her hairdressing salon resembles a museum from that time and customers from all over NRW come to her to have their hair done in style, because the right cut, whether on the head or in the clothes, became very important for women after the end of the war. People wanted to show themselves and be seen. The Burda patterns came out and became a great success. In the Lower Rhine, Hildegard Vermöhlen did an apprenticeship as a tailor in the 1950s, which would almost fatefully link her life's path with Aenne Burda. First she sewed for herself and her friends using Burda patterns and later, by chance, she actually became Aenne Burda's closest confidante.

Tonino D'Orsaneo's father was one of the first Italian mine workers in North Rhine-Westphalia. He came to Siersdorf near Jülich in 1953. This is where the story of the guest workers began. A few years later, Tonino D'Orsaneo, his brother and his mother followed their father to Siersdorf. Tonino still remembers how difficult it was for him as a 7-year-old to move from Abruzzo to a village in the Rhineland.

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