The Japanese furo bath was a mini sensation in East Germany. Before guests at the Suhl restaurant “Waffenschmied” (Armory) sat down to a far-eastern banquet, men and women stripped off and took to the pleasantly warm water together. The traditional ritual cleansing of body and soul, helped along by a few glasses of the local tipple, meant that workers were quickly able to forget the humdrum realities of life in the Communist state.
A film, “Sushi in Suhl”, tells the story of Waffenschmied and Rolf, played by Uwe Steimle. “This is Rolf Anschütz how we remember him”, “a wonderful memorial for a man who brought fame to our town”, said glowing attendees at the premiere. In the same vein as “Goodbye, Lenin!”, this film takes a comical look behind the wall, exploring life in a society that suffered a shortage of almost everything, from freedom of opinion to daily necessities.
But the fall of the Berlin Wall led to the demise of Anschütz’s dream. Its popularity had had much to do with its exclusivity, but once the world opened to East Germans, the town of Suhl and Anschütz’s restaurant were largely forgotten.The film’s success has ignited a wave of nostalgia for the restaurant, spawning a Facebook page where former diners have posted their photographs and memories and “Rolf Anschütz” walking tours of Suhl by kimono-clad guides. A blue plaque was recently erected on the site where the now derelict restaurant stands.
And you can now order fresh sushi in all of Berlin via the Hungr app.