When it tastes like erich
By annett ludeke
Childhood memories often have to do with smells and tastes. And since my childhood in the 80s took place in the GDR, these are sometimes unusual from today’s point of view and sometimes also very rare tastes. Fortunately my mother keeps these memories alive from time to time and prepares for me for example a solyanka according to the "traditional" recipe recipe to. Where with the tradition is such a thing. Probably every family had its own ideas about how a solyanka should taste and which ingredients were indispensable.
But the internet encyclopedia wikipedia already tells us that soljanka was well-known in the GDR: "in germany, the soup is particularly widespread in the east, as soljanka was one of the most popular dishes in the GDR’s gastronomy", is to be read there. Why I am with the "classics" I was nine years old when the wall came down, and until then I hadn’t had much to do with cooking, and after the fall of the wall, it was other dishes that attracted my attention. I am glad that it tastes today with me at home no longer only "like with erich" tastes. I like mediterranean cuisine, and I’m also happy to have a hearty french dish once in a while.
But some cake helpers survived the GDR and are still in action today. Whether it’s the egg cup in the shape of a rooster, which has gained a bit of fame as an ossi cult object, or an orange-colored pasta strainer into which i strain my spaghetti. So my personal 80s and the mediterranean cuisine have come together after all.
GDR visits and toothpaste envy
By susanne will
For me, the memory of the GDR is also linked to toothpaste tubes. I grew up with GDR relatives on my mother’s side. For us two sisters, this meant that we spent what felt like eternities on the way to leipzig sitting on the back seat in no more than 20 square centimeters, because everything under, above, between and behind us was covered with care packages. Once we had to put on ski suits for the relatives over our clothes, because even the last hole was plugged up for it it was cramped, stuffy, hot, at first from the border we fought sweating for more space, at first from erfurt it was bad for one, at first because of the rub-swollen air on the city sign of leipzig two. "They have nothing, it was then always. And what was with us? Because hidden between mountains of clothes were the really good things: the subigkeiten.
We rarely had chocolate at home, we had to buy it with our pocket money. There was no nutella either, my mother thought it was far too expensive, too greasy, far too unhealthy. And the toothpaste "blendi", the one with the funny animal on it, of course we didn’t have that at home either "you only pay for the packaging", my father used to say critically of consumer capitalism.
In retrospect he was right. But: the GDR goren were uberschuttet with chocolate, nutella and blendi. Okay, they shared their new treasures with us, the visitor. It was very socialistic. But as soon as we got home, we were told how we handled toothpaste in general. When the tube was empty, it was thrown away. But after the GDR we were told that "the children in the GDR" a supposedly empty tube was never immediately thrown away. They cut the tube open with scissors to get at the last bits in the folds. I still think of this today, 40 years later, every time I see an empty toothpaste tube. However, until today it has never been a blendi. And i still don’t cut open a toothpaste tube out of defiance.
By steffen standke when the wall fell, i was twelve. So I can’t report anything about contacts with stasi spies or even active dissidence. But it was still filled with raw, almost childlike curiosity about how it would feel, this western world that had been so vehemently withheld from us. As a native of cottbus, it seemed only logical to first visit west berlin, which was only 140 kilometers away and encircled by the GDR. What my parents did with me on the sunday after the opening of the wall. After a train ride of one and a half hours and a short passport control at friedrichstrabe station, we got on the subway. Which only spat us out again at – how appropriate – the kottbuser tor in kreuzberg. Today a social hotspot, this famous west berlin district lay in sunday peace and quiet.
Only the deutsche bank had opened. And so we got our funeral money – 100 marks per person. Only, what to do with it? To invest it completely in bananas and kiwi seemed absurd to me (I still don’t like either fruit very much). But first immerse yourself in the glittering world of ku’damm, tauentzienstrabe and wittenberg-platz, which awakened with the dammerung. And there – I don’t know if it was in the kaufhaus des westens or europa-center – I found out. I bought two funny paperbacks with stories of donald and scrooge duck, mickey mouse, daniel dusentrieb and co. Comics from the USA of all places, for our GDR superiors the incarnation of the power-hungry consumer-driven class enemy.
Anyway: happily I went home. My collection of funny paperbacks was to grow steadily in the following months. Like those of the best-known GDR comic strip "mosaik with the adventures of the "abrafaxes". I still collect them today.
More appearance than reality
By arkadius guzy
In a casket for bric-a-brac another five hundred and several hundred crumpled have outlasted the time. The old money has not only since today only krimskrams-value. During visits to poland at the end of the 80s and beginning of the 90s, even as a child, i had a few marks in my pocket money and quickly had rough bills in my hands and juggled with multi-digit amounts, as usually only bankers do. Because at the end of the 1980s, poland experienced a strong inflation, which reached its peak in 1989 after the release of prices. Inflation rose to several hundred percent. In an issue from that year, for example, spiegel reported that a kilo of butter in poland cost 4000 zloty – the equivalent of ten marks. At the beginning of the 90s, inflation was no longer astronomical, but still much higher than in germany, for example. The less money became worth, the more zeros were added to the price tags and the banknotes. Hundreds and five hundred was by no means the end of the story.
So there were not only thousands and tens of thousands, but at some point also hundreds of thousands and a one-million bill. Seen from today it was a crazy, unreal, hard to imagine time – as if it was just an episode from a fantastic netflix series. It ended at the latest in 1995 with the currency reform. Four zeros were capped: one new zloty was issued for every 10,000 polish zlotys spent to date.
Dad’s souvenirs from the west
By ulrike muller
I have to admit that I’m a little proud of being a true product of the east, even though I didn’t really get to know anything about the GDR. But something has outlasted the time: western toys. And it didn’t come in a west parcel, dad brought it back especially for my brother and me from a trip to west berlin. He was there, of course, but not with us. After all, the authorities wanted to make sure that the young father would also return. In the monkey is hidden a music clock, which can be wound up as you like and can still be wound up today. The hol zerne mannchen from composable parts also still lives. That this toy was something special, I have even as a three year old spurt. When the wall came down, my mother took my brother and me by the hand and drove us to berlin. She wanted to see the event with her own eyes.
Every party one less
By kerstin vath
I turned 16 in 1987. Finally I was allowed to go out (mama please leave out this bracket when reading)! – of course i have climbed out of the window before, but that’s not the point here!). At that time we still had discos, pubs and parties in hammelburg and a baker, with whom we after the visit of the "ice-cream parlour", had to go have been in the bakery at night. A night life that could not have been better. What do the earrings in the picture have to do with it, you ask?? I have only single pieces! It was the time of shoulder pads, stretch jeans (or alternatively, we sat down in the bathtub with the jeans and let them dry on our bodies so that they would be really tight afterwards) and coarse earrings. And I loved coarse earrings! But at least every 2. Weekend i had one earring less – mostly my favorite one.
I also lost a lot of other things, including six house door keys (my father even had the door lock changed once)!). A gene that seems to be passed on: my son is currently missing his indoor soccer shoes and calculator!
In the case of earrings, however, i was apparently not the only one to lose individual parts. Sooner or later it was fashionable to combine a plug with a chunky earring. What I didn’t finally lose back then now lies in my jewelry box as a memento – until my daughter discovers the treasures.