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Deutsche Demokratische Republik All things related to the German Democratic Republic 1949-1989

View Poll Results: Would you like to have lived in the DDR/Did you like living in the DDR?
No, I would absolutely never have lived there/I hated it when I lived there... 131 40.56%
I would like to have lived there, but only for a short time to get to know the place 135 41.80%
I would love to have lived/I did like living there 46 14.24%
I don't care one way or the other 16 4.95%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 323. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04-22-2006, 01:17 PM   #16
NORE
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Points taken,I see.I did not intend doing any harm to your thought-exchange. Actually,I would have just left one statement,but I just had to reply on the post-checking,sorry for that.I won´t return to your holy halls again trust me.Since you felt like giving me the correct wording,I am afraid I don´t care much for stuff like that,on the other hand I didn´t want to insult you with the wrong wording.So now I carry on with mine and hopefully so will you.
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Old 04-22-2006, 02:06 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NORE
is that MfS für Anfänger?
Комите́т Госуда́рственной Безопа́сности 101 actually
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Old 04-22-2006, 03:05 PM   #18
Mike G.
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I've been out and gone for a week. Just noticed the new recent posts to the thread.

I will tolerate open honest thought exchange, even if there may be disagreement, as long as all are civil toward one another, and the dialogue is meaningful and contributes to the thread on which it appears.

Comments contributed to a thread by a member that consists of inflamatory verbage intended to insight the same type respnonse, and designed to knowningly and intentionally bring disruption to a thread however, will not be tolerated; and will not be permitted. I know it is tolerated on other Wehrmacht sub-forums. But it won't be on this one.

Consequently, any further posts to this thread or any other thread on the DDR sub-forum of the type posted by NORE will immediately be deleted - no exceptions. This applies to all, myself included.

We have the absolute best sub-forum on the Wehrmacht forum. And it will continue to be the best.
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M60-A2 Tank Commander Cold War proverb: “You can accomplish more with a kind word and a ‘Shillelagh’ than you can with just a kind word.”
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Old 04-23-2006, 11:15 AM   #19
ehrentitle
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I'm not sure there is value in asking this question in a collector's forum and perhaps it is time to close it out. This is because of the many Cold War era political and ideological issues attached to it. Reguardless of the answers someone is bound to be offended and it does nothing to advance our various DDR collecting efforts. I for one would be more interested in what it was like to live in the DDR, especially the experiences of those who served in the military.
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Old 04-23-2006, 07:30 PM   #20
Mike G.
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Unlike the other forums of which the Wehrmacht Forum is comprised, the people who lived in the DDR, and the people who served in that country's armed forces and wore that country's uniforms, medals, awards and decorations, are still alive.

Those of us who have an interest in collecting the militaria of this particular country, are in the unique position of being able to be placed in touch and contact with the men and the women who one time served. They have knowledge that cannot be gleened from any book or regulation.

Ralph and I recognized this from the very beginning. We have gone to great lengths to open the doors of the DDR Forum to these individuals. It hasn't been easy, and we don't have near the number of former East German particpants we would have liked at this particular time. But we have representatives, and they in my opinion are like "Gold".

There is nothing wrong with the subject matter of this particular thread. It was posed to DDR Forum members, including former East Germans, by a former East German.

It merely requires a simple comment by members wishing to respond, with either a positive or negative position qualified if they so desire, by an explanation as to their response.

The dialogue about which I expressed concern and which has prompted me to take action, was a personal attack against people of a former nation. It could have been against any people of any nation. Attacks of that type will not be condoned, regardless of whom they are addresed to, or are about. This forum is not the place. There are other forums for that type of behaviour.

Internet Forums are not governed by rules of democracy. They would all be quickly subject to chaos if they were, and would quickly become non-functional.

People can agree to disagree. And they can comment on this particular thread in the positive, negative or remain neutral of their own choosing. But they cannot attack a particular or specific group of people.

I'm not going to further explain my rationale or my response. Read the forum rules if there is any misunderstanding.

I'm not going to lock down this thread. Doing so would only mean that one person could come on this forum, engage in subversive behaviour, and cause all threads to be locked down, bringing the entire forum to a stand-still.

I'll simply delete inappropriate dialogue when it surfaces. In that context, when it does occur, I would ask of the rest of the forum members, to please not respond to such dialogue, as it only serves as fuel by which to feed the ego of the initiator of the offensive dialogue, thereby encouraging further offensive posts. Please just ignore it, and give Ralph or myself a chance to do our jobs.

The forum is not our forum. It is your forum. Ralph and I simply insure that it remains open and that it is there all of the time, for all of you to use.

No one is ever going to agree with everything that appears on this forum, or that is said on this forum. But I am certain we can all agree that outright verbal attacks on a specific person or group of people is not okay, and not to be tolerated.

I've spoken. In Sergeant terms - "Nuff said".
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M60-A2 Tank Commander Cold War proverb: “You can accomplish more with a kind word and a ‘Shillelagh’ than you can with just a kind word.”
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Old 04-25-2006, 06:17 AM   #21
Don D.
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I lived and worked in the DDR from 1989-1991 at the United States Military Liaison Mission in Potsdam. My job allowed me to travel throughout the country, meet the people and talk to them. Most didn't know they had it bad. It was like being in the 1950s, sorta like an old TV show. Things were civil, people were polite (except the stasi). But everytime I crossed the Glenicke Bridge it was like going through a time warp.
I still remember all the trabbis lined up at the bridge the night the wall came down. I had to drive down the side walk to get to the bridge. I would love to hear what those folks were thinking as they waited to cross. Were their expectations met or were they dissappointed by the expirience? For most this must have been the first realization of how backwards their country really was.
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Old 04-25-2006, 07:15 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddoering
. I would love to hear what those folks were thinking as they waited to cross. Were their expectations met or were they dissappointed by the expirience? For most this must have been the first realization of how backwards their country really was.
Hello
I can only tell you what my Father told me when he went to West Germany in 1986.He was allowed to travel once, because his brother lived in West Germany and married.He said,when he did arrive on the West Train Station,he started crying because he was just so touched about the Things over there,that were so much different to what he knew.It was overwhelming for him.
He said,the first Thing he bought was Grapes.You need to know first,Grapes in the DDR ,were somwhat rare like Bananas.It sounds funny but it is the truth.My Mom once stand in a queue for about 10hours to get some Bananas for his son(yes,I was a spoiled Kid ;-))
And on that Train Station they had sold all kinds of Tropical Fruits like it was nothing special.
like you said,it really was like a Time Warp.It hits the Nail on the Head.

For me,I was 9 when the wall came down and the first Time in Berlin 1989 was very exciting.I remember getting my first own Casette Recorder and I was so proud of it .
Because,we had Relatives over there,we regulary reveived the so called "Westpakete" with Toys,Cloth and Food.So I was already "slightly" used to it and it wasn`t completely new to me but still...very exciting
However,the most exciting Thing for me was the Walk through the whole Border System.Lots of Guys in Uniforms,checking Passports and everybody in that queue was so excited and curious.
Regards

Last edited by Thälmannpionier; 04-25-2006 at 07:30 AM.
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Old 04-25-2006, 07:25 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddoering
I still remember all the trabbis lined up at the bridge the night the wall came down. I had to drive down the side walk to get to the bridge. I would love to hear what those folks were thinking as they waited to cross. Were their expectations met or were they dissappointed by the expirience? For most this must have been the first realization of how backwards their country really was.
Hi Don, generally speaking you are right. Were expectations met or were we disappointed?...there is no straight forward answer to that question, as it is a bit of both and of course different people have different views on it all...Cheers, Torsten.
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Old 04-25-2006, 07:34 AM   #24
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Hi Andreas,

Thank you for your insight on East Germany as a child. Your comments about fruit are profound. When as a soldier stationed in Berlin, there were certain requirements (actually restrictions) by which we had to abide, when visiting East Berlin or East Germany. One of them was that we could not under any circumstances purchase fruit of any kind from any East German Vendor. There was nothing wrong with the fruit. We were told as you so elequently pointed out, that it was exceptionally rare in East Berlin and East Germany. And for that reason, it was one of the items off limits to us.

Cheers,
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M60-A2 Tank Commander Cold War proverb: “You can accomplish more with a kind word and a ‘Shillelagh’ than you can with just a kind word.”
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Old 04-25-2006, 07:54 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thälmannpionier
Hello
getting my first own Casette Recorder and I was so proud of it .
Because,we had Relatives over there,we regulary reveived the so called "Westpackete" with Toys,Cloth and Food.So I was already "slightly" used to it and it wasn`t completely new to me but still...very exciting
However,the most exciting Thing for me was the Walk through the whole Border System.Lots of Guys in Uniforms,checking Passports and everybody in that queue was so excited and curious.
Regards
I also still remember my first trip to the West fairly well....I went to West Berlin on 26th November 1989 while on leave from the army and meeting up with my girlfriend at the time...just checked the stamp in my Personalausweis for the exact date... I went across at Bahnhof Friedrichstrasse, went to see Checkpoint Charlie (Kochstrasse I think?), went through Kreuzberg for a bit (was not impressed by the living standards there) and went to Kudamm and Bahnhof Zoo, which was a lot more impressive than Kreuzberg of course, especially the Kudamm at night.... just like your father my father had been travelling to West Germany throughout the 1980's...his sister lives near Celle and my father is heavily disabled (lost a leg in an accident many years ago) and in the DDR disabled people and pensioners were allowed to travel to the West for upto 30 days every year and so, he always came back with a Trabant load full of stuff... Cheers, Torsten.
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Old 04-25-2006, 08:23 AM   #26
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Some fascinating stories here from our DDR genossen.

I'm glad someone stirring has brought this topic back into focus.

The way I see it from a Westerner's viewpoint is that in the former DDR things are far worse today than they were before. Yes the people are free, free to be unemployed and riddled with crime. Russia is the same.

Yeah, sure things will probably work out OK in the end, but I don't think it was the great "liberation" some would describe it as.

Not least of which, from a purely personal viewpoint (and without getting political), those values of which we Westerners speak aren't actually what we covet the most anyway - on a daily basis I can't say that freedom to vote for my government is something that I consider or appreciate...

Whats more probably 30 years ago, my own family had little more than the average family in the DDR anyway. The UK was poor (near bankrupt) for a long time...
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Old 04-25-2006, 09:03 AM   #27
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I find this line of discussion very interesting, but am at work and unfortunately do not have time for a very long response. I served in Berlin for 3 years in the late 80s and traveled frequently to East Berlin. I also made two trips with the US Berlin Brigade Historian (he spoke fluent German, I didn't) to East Germany in 1988, one to Lepizig in the Spring and one to Rostock in the Fall.

One quick story out of many from these trips. On the drive down to Lepizig we stopped in a small town to look at an old stone church were the bell tower was seperate from the mail building. We parked across the street from the church not far from a bus stop. As we crossed the street we were both eating Bananas we had brought with us for snacks. I can still remember the looks on the faces of the people waiting at the bus stop. It was like we had come from outer space.

Michael good memory. Yes the Berlin Brigade had restrictions from purchasing most food items in East Berlin to bring back to the West. you could however order food in a restaurant.
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Old 04-25-2006, 09:39 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kozlov

Whats more probably 30 years ago, my own family had little more than the average family in the DDR anyway. The UK was poor (near bankrupt) for a long time...
People in the DDR were not poor and did not feel to be poor. Living standards were relatively good with pretty much every family having a car, fridge, colour TV, etc. What we did not have were the relative 'luxury' goods, like the bananas and other tropical fruits, but there was plenty of any home grown produce...butcher shops and bakeries were full and cheap, there was no problem getting clothes, although they may not have been to Western fashion standards of the day, every family went on virtually free holidays every year (heavily subsidised by the state), health care was very good and completely free, schooling was excellent and completely free and so on...from the Western point of view, yes we may have appeared to be poor, but from my own point of view we were not at all....these things are all relative of course...Cheers, Torsten.
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Old 04-25-2006, 10:14 AM   #29
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Gents,
let me also tell a little. I am already a little older than the other Ex-DDRler here. my childhood was in the 60th and 70th. I can remember (and this is no fairy tale) which there bananas was without to have to be waiting long, also coconuts, pineapple, oranges and peaches. There were even Levi's Jeans. This was approx. till the middle of the 70s in such a way. However, one may not forget that I grew up in a chemistry region. There it was offered with pleasure a little bit more, so that the people were compensated for the violent environmental pollution. Then the things disappeared bit by bit from the stores. I believe, this was at the time when the "Delikat" stores were developed on and on. (In "Delikat" stores one could buy 'exotic' food, canned food, spices etc. from west-European lands and pay with GDR mark. The prices were shocking; e.g. 1 chocolate "Ritter-Sport" cost 12 Marks, a box Marlborogh cigarettes 8 marks)...As a child it dfid not hurts me, there was everything what I wanted. I did not know "RitterSport" at that time yet...
When it in the 80th went there not even was any more the good German ham at the butcher's....

AR-11
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Old 04-25-2006, 10:36 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by torstenbel
People in the DDR were not poor and did not feel to be poor. Living standards were relatively good with pretty much every family having a car, fridge, colour TV, etc. What we did not have were the relative 'luxury' goods, like the bananas and other tropical fruits, but there was plenty of any home grown produce...butcher shops and bakeries were full and cheap, there was no problem getting clothes, although they may not have been to Western fashion standards of the day, every family went on virtually free holidays every year (heavily subsidised by the state), health care was very good and completely free, schooling was excellent and completely free and so on...from the Western point of view, yes we may have appeared to be poor, but from my own point of view we were not at all....these things are all relative of course...Cheers, Torsten.
I grew up in the US midwest in the 60s and 70s and had a simular experience. We were poor, but I didn't know it at the time because I though everyone lived that way. I had handmade or hand-me-down clothes, ate a lot of basic meals, soup or a sandwich. Fried mushrooms were a special treat, but we had to go out and pick them ourselves. Fruit was usually apples or canned pears, peaches or on special occasion fresh pineapple, bannanas or oranges. Mom had a garden out back and she did a lot of canning of vegtables, corn, beans, etc which we ate all winter. Dad would buy a side of beef from the local butcher and put it in the freezer. And no part of the cow ever went to waste, we just about ate everything including tongue and tail.

There were four or five stations on the TV and they didn't all come in clearly. We did take vacations, but more often than not it was to visit relatives because hotels or motels were too expensive. We had good medical care, our small town had a country doctor that did about everything. I followed the US space program with great interest and watched the moon landing on our small black and white TV in 1969. There were great old war movies from the 40s and 50s on the TV late at night.

We did get toys a Christmas but nothing really expensive. Our Christmas stockings were filled with peanuts, walnuts, some hard candy and maybe a tangerine. There were no faxes, copiers, SUVs, hand held calculators, digital cameras. internet, E-bay, cell phones, blackberries, laptop computers, DVDs, etc... Before I went to college I had never ridden on a plane or travelled more than the next state, less than 500 miles.

We spent a lot more time reading and socializing then. Getting mail was one of the highlights of the week. Kids spent most of the summer outside playing and later working. School activities, Boy Scouts and Sports were an important part of life. The only music on the radio was country, blue grass or polka (lots of ethnic Germans, Poles and Czechs in our area).

Times were much simpler then. National politics and events like the Vietnam War and Watergate were in the background but didn't touch my daily life. If you asked me where East Germany was I'd probably wouldn't be able to locate it on the map.

I had a great childhood, but wouldn't really want to live that simple life now. I get tense when my internet connection or cable TV goes out for more than 24 hours.

Last edited by ehrentitle; 04-25-2006 at 12:39 PM.
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