But it was the paratroopers who ventured into what was for them a totally different society. The vast majority of the men have made a success of their lives in a united Germany and hold their ground in commerce, as civil servants, policemen or even as soldiers. The camaraderie amongst the former soldiers of all ranks persists in various forms to this day. Entire companies meet regularly with their leaders or have formed small associations.

The largest organization is the Traditional Association of Paratroopers East, which has been in existence since 1992. New communities are being formed, such as the Paratrooper Interest Group (non-registered association), which organized its first international paratrooper meeting in Stendal in 2010, with others planned to follow. The former NVA paratroopers are not “preserving the ashes” but “fanning the flames” of comradeship among themselves and today approaching comrades who once faced them as a potential enemy.