When the GDR still existed….
On the occasion of Reunification Day that we just celebrated I look back to the old times when there were still 2 Germanies. My mother grew up in East Germany, and although she moved away as a teenager, she is still in touch with some childhood friends, so the subject has always been present in our family – at least more than for those who had no relations at all with the other part of Germany.
What I remember is for example is an annoying bureaucracy of the East German authorities if you wanted to visit somebody in the GDR. It took us 3 attemps until we finally succeeded in travelling to Saxony. The first time the official invitation letter our friends had to send us arrived too late, the second time they misspelled my Grandma’s maiden name.
When we finally got there, I remember grey houses. In general, everything seemed a bit old-fashioned and outdated, just as if somebody put me in a time machine and pushed me back-to-the-future-like a few years back. But also: Cheap prices ( my mother’s friend’s husband found it quite amusing that when they went dining out and she saw the bill, she whispered to him: “Do they give you discount because you work for the HO?” ( HO = Handelsorganisation / trade organisation ) I have to add that it was the first time she went back to the GDR.
And last not least I remember friends people who were there for each other. Of course this was without doubt due to the problems ( for example, some goods were not available at all or only after queueing for a long time ) they had to face, but it is still a pity that this is now gone.
Making a phone call to the other part of Germany was neither easy. First of all you had to call an operator, and after a couple of hours waiting time they called you back telling you that your connection was now available.
P.S. This is also on: