18 May 2017 by Melanie Alperstaedt
A few weeks ago I had read the book „Die Normalität des Absurden“ from Heinz Schneider with great interest. I was pleasantly surprised to get the opportunity to interview him in person. Heinz Schneider and his wife Thea Schneider kindly offered to welcome me in their lovely flat in Mahlow! Here is the transcript of our conversation for you to read.
10 May 2017 by Praktikant
After the Second World War, more than 30% of the housing stock, 85% of classrooms and 80% of hospital rooms in Berlin were destroyed. What was to rise up from the ruins of the capital? The Socialist Unity Party (SED) saw a chance to include the rebirth of the city into the newly founded German Democratic Republic.
2 May 2017 by Maria Bartholomäus
The Trabant was the unchallenged symbol of everyday life in the DDR, meaning “companion” – and this car truly played a significant role in the life of many citizens of the DDR, just like a good friend. As a dream at first; for the waiting time for a new car was no less than 16 years, later as a status symbol, a set of wheels and hobby.
25 Jan 2017 by Miriam Schaptke
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!
30 Nov 2016 by Jörn Kleinhardt
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.
19 Oct 2016 by Jörn Kleinhardt
In order to keep motor vehicles sustained with fuel, an area-covering net of gas stations is required. As a result of the Second World War, the existing net of gas stations was divided along the different occupation zones after the West German brand „Gasoline“ was running all gas stations in all of the occupation zones in the beginning.
6 Jul 2016 by Esra Kurtoglu
Today we would like to introduce to you one of our tours, which of course is also suitable for school groups. The Karl-Marx-Allee Tour is a combined tour, meaning that it will start with a one-hour visit of the DDR Museum, followed by a two-hour walk along the Alexanderplatz as well as the socialist boulevard.
29 Jun 2016 by Jörn Kleinhardt
When World War II ended with the unconditional surrender of the German Reich, the Allied Forces occupied the different occupation zones. From the very beginning, the official instrument of payment was the Reichsmark, which had been introduced already in 1924 and which had survived the turbulent times of the Weimar Republic as well as the Third Reich. The old bills and coins continued to be in use during the transition period until June, 1948.
8 Jun 2016 by Jörn Kleinhardt
The Soviet magazine "Sputnik" (Russian for companion) has been published by the state-owned news agency "Nowosti" since January 1967. It was designed as a digest of the Soviet press and was not only adressed to Russians but also to readers from other socialist and western foreign countries.
18 May 2016 by Jörn Kleinhardt
Every technology enthusiast in the GDR was well accustomed with the products of the company ORWO. No wonder: The company used to have the monopoly on the production of chemical data mediums in the GDR. The history of the production site, Wolfen, however, is only familiar to few.
13 Apr 2016 by Dr. Stefan Wolle
On April 12 in 1961 at 7:07am CET, Juri Gagarin was the first human being to fly into space with the “Vostok-1”, where he orbited the earth within 108 minutes. This event represented a high success for all Eastern bloc countries which were in constant competition with the United States of America. Gagarin started in the Soviet place of Kosmodrom Baikonur, the biggest Soviet space mission launch center in southern Kasachstan.
16 Mar 2016 by Jörn Kleinhardt
In the German Democratic Republic, filling out a house book was regulated by law according to the reporting ordinance. But what does that mean exactly? How did such a book look like? Who was responsible for it? What was the benefit? Questions which we are going to answer in the following text. As an example we are going to talk about a copy from the early 1950s.
20 Jan 2016 by Jörn Kleinhardt
Even though the GDR had quite a number of economic problems itself, the small country nevertheless offered foreign aid to many places around the world since the 1960s, which within the socialist language use, however, was referred to as „Anti-imperialistic solidarity“.
9 Dec 2015 by Jörn Kleinhardt
During its entire existence, the official TV program in the GDR has been quite limited. After a 3 year testing phase the Deutscher Fernsehfunk (DFF) aired permanently on January 3rd in 1956. The era of state-owned TV in the GDR had begun. On the occasion of the 20th birthday of the Republic, the repertoire was extended by one additional channel in 1969. Along with the start of the second channel, the Deutscher Fernsehfunk (DFF 2), the age of color television began as well. Because of the very limited choice of media in the GDR, only one single TV guide was published.
2 Dec 2015 by Janine Henschel
People have been concerned with aesthetics and cosmetics already in antiquity. This was also true for the GDR. Even back then, a tired, aged and wrinkly skin was considered a disadvantageous feature. By wrinkling one's nose, raising and pulling together the skin of the forehead, pouting and squinting, parts of the dermal tissue and muscle activity are stressed only partially which eventually leads to unattractive wrinkles.
4 Nov 2015 by Jörn Kleinhardt
On October 29th in 1976, exactly 39 years ago, Erich Honecker was elected Chairman of the Privy Council by the People's Chamber. At that moment he had been holding all of the important positions in the GDR such as „General Secretary of the Central Committee of the SED“, „Chairman of the National Defense Council“ as well as „Chairman of the State Council in the GDR“ in personal union since 1976. Domestically, Honecker was at the peak of his power. But how did the little „Saarlander“ get into those influential positions? To answer this question, a look into history is necessary at first.
14 Oct 2015 by Maria Bartholomäus
On October 3rd in 1969, the Berlin TV Tower was ceremonially inaugurated in Berlin Mitte at the Alexanderplatz in the presence of Walter Ulbricht and other high-rank politicians of the SED party. At the same time the television broadcaster Deutscher Fernsehfunk started its emission and the era of color television in the GDR had begun. Prior to the construction there were constant internal discussions about the exact place and appearance of the tower. After agreement, the then-president of the Deutsche Bauakademie (German Construction Academy) Gerhard Kosel was instructed by the SED leadership with the overall instruction of the project.
8 Sep 2015 by Jörn Kleinhardt
Regarding the inner-German tourist travel with all its aspects, one will inevitably come across the East-German „minimum exchange“ and the West-German „welcome money“. But what do these terms exactly mean and what were their consequences for the people?
22 Jul 2015 by Jörn Kleinhardt
Holiday time is summer camp time! This slogan was true for many children who grew up in the German Democratic Republic. And, truly, the small republic established a great number of summer camps. The youth getaways were divided into pioneer's camps („Pionierferienlager“) and company camps („Betriebsferienlager“) and were spread all over the country. In the year 1989 alone there were 49 pioneer's camps within the GDR, as well as hundreds of additional company camps.