>Despite Germany being divided by the Iron Curtain, Porsche enthusiasts in the Communist section of the country still accomplished their desires of a sports car, the 356 Miersch.

The year was 1953, with the Second World War ending eight years before. In Dresden, the Soviet soldiers were on the march again. Citizens in East Germany were rising against the Soviet-installed Communist regime.  

When freedom appeared possibly within reach, the Volkspolizei (East German People’s Police) and the Red Army swept in and crushed the uprising. Dresden was still suffering from the massive bombing it received during the war, with large parts of the city still in rubbles. 

Hans Miersch (shown here in 1993) with the love of his life

The once magnificent palatial structures like the world-famous Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) and the Zwinger lay ruined in the rubble. 

Hans Miersch, who hailed from Saxony, had been through much during his life. Ten years before, he was injured in the war, requiring an amputation of his lower right leg.

In the small town of Nossen, roughly 40 kilometers away from Dresden, he started a women’s shoemaking workshop. It was a bold move as he was in the Communist part of Germany. Private property was not encouraged, and large companies were taken over and became the people’s property. The planned economy was considered the law, and personal initiative was frowned upon.  

New owner Michael Dünninger only drives his Miersch 356 these days on special occasions

Yet, Miersch was not ready to let go of his dreams in his private affairs and professional life. He first caught a glimpse of the new Porsche 356 in the early 50s in a West German magazine. Decades later, Miersch looked back:

“From the moment I saw the first models, I knew: this is my dream.” 

The shoe manufacturer shared his dream with other car enthusiasts that he encountered in the East and West, but just like many others, his goal appeared out of reach.

The two German states were worlds apart. Travel to and from East to West was still allowed as the wall was not built until 1961. Still, the German Democratic Republic placed strict restrictions on trading with the capitalist Federal Republic of Germany. Even entrepreneurs like Miersch were restricted from importing a luxury car.  

The company car that he used was a self-built machine given a Hanomag body, matched with the chassis of a former Jeep-style Kübelwagen. At that time, the vehicle had been designed by Ferdinand Porsche -a

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By: Sports Car Digest
Title: The Story of 356 Miersch: Creation During a Divided Germany
Sourced From: sportscardigest.com/356-miersch/
Published Date: Tue, 27 Apr 2021 00:08:04 +0000

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