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Topic GDR | March 1st, 2017

The so-called miniature books are books of a very small size with a page length of not more than 10 centimeters. They were especially en vogue in the late 19th century. Since they did not need a lot of storage space and were light and handy, the books were a perfect traveling accessory in a time where the mobility of the people increased due to the industrial and technological progress. The small books were also very popular in the DDR. Their content can be described as a literary mirror of the society and varied from classics of world literature, political manifestos/speeches to city guides, sports events, fairy tales, cooking books, erotica and biographies of famous people. Editions which dealt with a certain city or touristic attractions of an area also often contained a number of photographs, turning the mini books into a sort of small illustrated books. The complex and hand-made documents were usually equipped with a fitting slipcase made from cardboard and fabricated in publishing houses which were specialized in the production of mini books. The books which are part of the collection of the DDR Museum were mostly produced in the Offizin Andersen Nexö Leipzig publishing house. They used to be popular collector’s items even in the DDR. Among the collectors of today, there are also many who are still fascinated with this sort of object; perhaps because of the limited stock volume.

Mini books in the DDR – great works of literature in a small format - Bild1

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Topic GDR | February 14th, 2017

For quite a long time, there was no production of youth fashion in the DDR at all. Young people had to wear the same designs as the adults, simply adjusted in size – grey and dull, not trendy at all.


New clothes for the youth: “JuMo 68 – breezy and colorful” - Bild1

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Topic GDR | February 8th, 2017

This delicious, filled farmhouse bread is perfect in case you have invited some guests into your home. You can easily prepare everything in advance and don’t need to be in the kitchen all the time. Instead, you will have plenty of time for your visitors. The savory bread is also great as a dinner meal, or on the couch, in front of the TV….


Filled farmhouse bread to DIY - Bild1

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Topic GDR | January 25th, 2017
“Sibylle” – the Vogue of the DDR - Bild1

For women in the DDR, the “Sibylle” was an inspiration as well as an illusion at the same time. Artistically sophisticated photos made by recognized photographers such as Roger Melis, Günter Rössler or Sibylle Bergmann used to adorn the pages. Models were wearing chic clothes which were not available on the market, provoking seemingly utopian desires in the readers. The “Sibylle” was delivering the fabric of dreams: With the help of patterns for sewing, included in each edition, the fashion-conscious reader was able to tailor the favorite dress herself. Fashion photos were only for inspiration – clothing off the rack was never shown in the magazine. The “Sibylle – Zeitschrift für Mode und Kultur” (German for “Sibylle – Magazine for fashion and culture”) was not only filled with fashion – the publication was also dealing with the topics art, literature, travel and theater. Portraits, essays and interviews with famous personalities were characterized by a high journalistic level. Disenchanting things such as following different diets, however, were missing. Those in charge were demanding a high level of quality and content.


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Topic GDR | January 11th, 2017
The constitution of the DDR through the ages - Bild1

Throughout its entire existence, the German Democratic Republic had a total of three valid constitutions. The original constitution is from 1949, the founding year of the DDR, and consists of 144 articles. Due to the political developments in the 1950s and 1960s (for example dissolution of states, construction of the Wall, Cold War) a revision of the old constitution was inevitable.


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Topic GDR | January 4th, 2017
What remains from the DDR? Part XIV: Nature in the border area - Bild1

The German Green Belt

 


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Topic GDR | November 30th, 2016

In order to satisfy their daily consumer needs, the citizens of the DDR / Soviet occupation zone had a number of possibilities to do their shopping. Already in December of 1945, a consumer cooperative with the simple name of “Konsum” was established. Only three years later, almost 300 independent consumer cooperatives existed in different cities. The German Consumer Cooperative Union (German: Verband Deutscher Konsumgenossenschaften / VDK) had the task to satisfy the needs of the population, covering as large an area as possible and establishing as low prices as possible. The selling organizations were substantially different. There were larger stores and supermarkets called “Kaufhalle”, whereas village consumer cooperatives dominated more rural areas. There were also Konsum shops adjacent to larger factories which were gladly used by the shift-working employees. For the villages which did not have a Konsum at their disposal there were selling busses which delivered groceries to the inhabitants of the village. In the 1950s, there was even a Konsum-ship called “Kambala” for the inland sailors in the DDR. Since 1954, Konsum stamps were given out as trading stamps. Like that, members of the consumer cooperatives were able to receive an annual refund for a part of their turnovers at the selling organizations.

Shopping diversity in the DDR – HO, Konsum, Centrum Warenhaus and co. - Bild1

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Topic GDR | November 23rd, 2016

You probably all know the term „goulash“. But have you ever heard about the Hungarian phrase “pörkölt”? To be honest, I have never heard of it before, either. Pörkölt is the equivalent to the dish goulash, as it is referred to outside of the Hungarian area. The texture, however, is slightly thicker since it is being cooked for a longer period of time.


Deer Pörkölt with red wine - Bild1

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Topic GDR | November 16th, 2016

The border between the two German states did not only divide the people into East and West, but also the product world. Some of the articles which were developed in the DDR have survived the transformation after 1989 and have their fixed place in today's supermarkets in western and eastern parts of Germany.


What remains from the DDR? Part XIII: DDR products - Bild 1

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Topic GDR | November 9th, 2016

 Rügen is located in the Baltic Sea and belongs to the German state of Mecklenburg- Western Pomerania. With an area of 976 m² it is the largest island in Germany. It offers beautiful open-air baths with fine, long sandy beaches, making the island a popular vacation location. The so-called Rügen bridge connects the island with the mainland which is why the city of Stralsund is also called the „gate to Rügen“. Many tourists are drawn to the area by sights such as Prora, Kap Arkona or the chalk cliff.


Tourism in the DDR: The island of Rügen - Bild1

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