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Archive for the 'DDR' Category

The GDR Transcript Pack

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

The “GDR Pack” is a collection of 6 transcripts, each in their own PDF file. The pack is a ZIP file containing the 6 PDFs and is available from the AllThingsGerman Download Store.

The transcripts in this pack are:

To find out more, visit the AllThingsGerman Download Store.



Stasi

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Stasi is the abbreviation for Staatssicherheitsdienst.  In the GDR this referred to the Ministerium für Staatssicherheit.

The Stasi monitored the people of the GDR, especially those with contact to people in West Germany.  Letters were opened, read, and re-sealed.  Telephone calls were recorded.

Many people co-operated unofficially with the Stasi, the so-called “IMs” (inoffizielle Mitarbeiter) and reported information about their friends and neighbours.  The Stasi then archived this information, creating a large source of information about the people that they were monitoring.

Much of this information was destroyed before German re-unification, although there are projects that reconstruct these documents leading to new revelations about who informed on whom.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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Solidaritätszuschlag

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

The Solidaritätszuschlag is an additional form of tax that was originally conceived to assist with the re-building of East Germany after re-unification.

It was introduced in 1991 and although there was a break of 2 years in the 1990s, it is still valid today and anyone who pays tax in Germany also pays this Zuschlag on top.

The Solidaritätszuschlag is often a point of discussion, especially a to how long we will have to continue paying it – 18 years after re-unification.  However, at the moment there appear to be no plans to discard it again.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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SED

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

SED stands for the Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands.  It was the official political party of the German Democratic Republic and was originally formed through the union of the East German social democrats and the communist party.

Its role as effectively the only party in East Germany was anchored in the GDR’s constitution.

After the fall of the Berlin wall, the SED was renamed into the SED-PDS and then simply into PDS: Partei der Demokratischen Sozialismus.  In 2005 they changed their name to Die Linkspartei, and in 2007 they converged with another party to form Die Linke.

Die Linke have received sufficient votes in some states – even western states – to have seats in local parliaments.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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FDJ

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

FDJ stands for Freie Deutsche Jugend and was the youth movement of the German Democratic Republic (DDR).

Although membership was voluntary, non-members often suffered pressure and discrimination and so around 80% of people between the ages of 14 and 25 were members.

Although closely associated with East Germany, the FDJ originally had branches in the western zones, before it was outlawed in the Federal German Republic (West Germany) in 1951.  In fact, its earlier roots were not in Germany at all, rather in Prague, Paris and London in the 1930s.

Today there are still FDJ groups in Germany, although membership numbers are much lower than they were before reunification.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


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