Barbara film DDR
Replies: 33 - Last Post: Nov 16, 2012 9:21 AM Last Post By: cheminement
Nov 12, 2012 1:32 PM
15The DDR voting system was a lot less subtle than you mention in Poland. The ballot paper was already marked with the "suggested" candidates (you can guess who they were) which, if you agreed with it, you were able to put straight into the ballot box. If you wanted to change one of the names, you had to go into a booth and mark the paper, so obviously the officials at the polling station knew who accepted the approved list and those who didn't.
Nov 12, 2012 2:10 PM
Similar in Poland. However it was fully acceptable to vote for the other two parties which were Democratic Aliance and United People's Aliance, in which typically farmers and people from countryside whould participate. So, changing the suggested order of candidates didn't cause any suspicions. The status quo was in favour of the leading party (Polish United Workers Party) and remained unchanged. Representatives from the other two parties had limted number of mandates and could receive posts like minister of sports, minister of agriculture, or minister of education at the best.
ps. I'm reading in wiki that the Democratic Aliance had an equivalent in DDR, Liberal-Demokratische Partei Deutschlands, LDPD.
Edited by: Fieldgate
Nov 12, 2012 4:27 PM
17Jack, Chicago became one of the biggest Polish population centres before Communist times. There was a lot of economic emigration from Poland before WW2, much of which went to Canada and the States. And like today, people tend to go where they already know somebody who might help them find a job or a place to stay.
Thanks, bjd...I was actually joking above and do understand that emigration to north America wasn't a phenomenon of 'communist times'...
I was told that, on the other hand, there was less in the stores than in countries like Czechoslovakia, where the stores had more goods and food but the people had less intellectual freedom.
For a number of reasons, Cezhoslovakia was subject to a particularly hardline version of communism which rendered intellectual freedom more-or-less redundant, in the public sphere...one of the interesting things about the post WW2 'settlement' was the way that each European communist country had its own individual form of government and society which differed from other countries around them...the Soviet attitude seemed to be that as long as they didn't secede from the Warsaw Pact and didn't threaten Stalinist government in the USSR itself, then they were free to experiment with forms of control that kept them within the Soviet orbit...step outside that line, like Nagy in '56 or Dubcek in '68, and all bets were off...
Would be interesting to know what you guys think of General Jaruzelski and his approach...a bit of a bogeyman in the 'West' but some of my Polish contacts hold the view that he was trying to walk a thin line between placating the Polish desire for freedom and Brezhnev's military divisions - massed in the woods across the border in present day Belarus - poised and ready to strike if things went too far in that direction...
Nov 13, 2012 1:52 AM
and thanks for your contribution......though my question was related to DDR not Poland, I believe.
Poland always had a long tradition of demonstrations and independent way of thinking boost by 2 invasive strong neighbours.
However if you travel today in the eastern par of BRD it gives you the impression that DDR never really existed. OK, from time to time you encounter someone over 30 saying it was a tough time, and that all. Mike9 wrote that most of informants moved to others part of the country, does it means they moved to the west part of Germany? as 1 out of 6 DDR burger were informants that means roughly 3 millions left their home, whoops!
note that I read that was 1 out of 3....had been informants at least once in their life.
on the other hand what happened to all those people working in the police at the border and different security services . Had they run they life as "business/security" as usual.
I also saw the film " die leben von die anderen" as in Barbara that "atmosphere" could ruin your entire life. Have those been promoted and have they got anticipate full pension( in west DM) as I understood DDR pensioners were allowed to retire (without any) in BRD in DDR times.
Nov 13, 2012 5:42 AM
It does exist in people's minds and mindset. Probably a much age ralated view.
A friend's wife is from former DDR. She says that her mother has never come to terms with what has happend, and probably never will.
Gen. Jaruzelski remains a riddle.
Among Poles opinions are divided. Some would hang him, others, including myself, lean towards the "view that he was trying to walk a thin line". What he did in Dec 1981, imposing marshal law, he explained as 'choosing the lesser evil'.
Nov 13, 2012 5:58 AM
Nov 13, 2012 6:55 AM
However I haven't got any answer yet, about what happened to the people who directly or indirectly ( but directly for the victims) support the regime.
do they live their life as if nothing was wrong ( but maybe DDR wasn't so bad anyway - everyone as a job for instance - it gives me the impression here by reading answers)
Nov 13, 2012 7:17 AM
22I don't think to many stasi informers moved west, everybody knew that they are around, the thing that changed after the wall fell you could check your stasi file and see who gave information about you to them, guess a lot of friendships broke up afterwards, others didn't bother at all to check what they knew about them.
I remeber one christmas we spend in the DDR, I'm from the west, and my dad started talking about something that wasn't approbiat, his friend ask him politly to shut up, my dad responed asking why we're in your appartment and nobody else is around, he told him that he should know that the walls have ears in this part of germany.
If you lived in the DDR and had relations in the west you could visit them for funerals, weddings or other such important family matters, but usually not the whole family, the husband or children didn't get to go, that way they made sure you returned, after you retired you could move to the west if you wanted so, the DDR had nothing to gain from you staying there and if the west paied your pension all the better.
Having family and friends in the west was also good because you got packages with coffee and other hard to get items, lots of pots crossed the border, in them were the things you weren't allowed to send ; )), they usually just x-rayed them and didn't unpack.
Some of the police men or from the army were taken by the western forces, as long as they weren't
in with the stasi above what they had to to do their work.
In a lot of heads the wall is still standing, travelling through there as a tourist you will not notice, but there are still a lot of people which wished that the DDR would have cotinued to exist, because they had an easier live then, unemployment is high, higher than in the west, they still don't earn the same money as people in the west, (Tariflohn Ost or West) makes a difference, they most of the time have less paied vaccation, 30 days west, 20 days east, my husband had a job interview with a company from the east, he came back and could have gotten the job but told me not under those conditions, there is still a border it's just invisible now.
Nov 13, 2012 8:20 AM
23I just found out about an interesting book on this subject -- about the postwar period in the various Central/East European countries. It's called "Iron Curtain" by Anne Applebaum.
Others have written about this too: Tina Rosenberg about how some of the countries came to terms with this history after the fall of the wall, and Timothy Garton Ash who actually went to look up his Stasi file. He isn't German, but had a file anyway.
Nov 13, 2012 2:04 PM
Even if she's married to Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski, I'm yet to see a documentary, or read a book, produced or written by an American, who had a good grasp of the subtleties of life in Eastern Europe.
Nov 13, 2012 3:04 PM
Nov 13, 2012 4:20 PM
Nov 14, 2012 1:13 AM
27Iron curtain by Anne Appelbaum: yes, I already read it, however it is more a doc about the situation before 1989.
My interest is on the aftermaths and social/in interactive DDR German relationships after 1989.
in Barbara film (she was in jail and "intraland deported"somewhere around Stralsund) how those people ( so far, I understood; were filed and some 100.000 spent some times in jails ( the one you can visit isn't really fun in Berlin-Hohenschönhausen) so, they today just cross the police guys or informant in the street and say "hello, how are you".
I am sorry but, I have a strange feeling, I do understand that the political strategy was not to create a civil war, but have the impression, that all those people who actively repressed freedom (for good or bad reasons) have a better life that those who demonstrated in Leipzig.
am I wrong?
Nov 14, 2012 2:05 AM
28Fieldgate, Applebaum has written a good book called Between East and West -- more of a travelogue along the shifting border from the Baltic to the Black Sea.
Of course, nobody who didn't live there can understand all the subtleties of life in Eastern/Central Europe, but sometimes an outsider can see things that people inside don't.
Nov 14, 2012 6:00 AM
29I don't think you can generalize it that way, some stasi people got good jobs others didn't, people that demonstrated in Leipzig got good job or didn't, in the DDR you didn't have to worry about your live, you went to school, university or learned a job and after that you had a job warranty for the rest of your live, even if you were a drunk and only showed up to work to sleep it off, you just couldn't get kicked out, if you worked good you were allowed to travel, only to certain destinations but it was very cheap, so if you like a very secure live where you know what you will be doing in 20 years as long as you play along the rules the DDR was not a such bad place and those are the people which would love to have it back.
Since there is no study what happend to all the people that demonstrated in Leipzig it's hard to tell if they have a better live now, they lost the security the regime gave them but gained freedom and I think a lot of them would say they have a better live now.
As to meeting people that arrested you that can happen just about everywhere, lets say I break into my my neighbours house, police arrests me, after serving my sentence if I come back here I would meet this police man quite often, the station is only ten houses away from where I live, to avoid it I would have to move to a different place or live with it, maybe not a good comparision but couldn't
think of a better one since I don't know how it's to live in a country where it's a crime trying to leave it.
In a way it's about the same as sorting out the Nazis after WW2, a lot of Germans joined the NSDAP to get a job or not to loose their job, but had nothing to do with the horrors the Gestapo did, some of them went to trial, others left the country, again others slipped through the system and made a good live for themselfs in Germany.
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