Life in DDR

March 1, 2012 § 8 Comments

It was a popular car. DDR Museum, Berlin. Dec 24, 2011.

Located right across the Berliner Dom on the River Spree, it was the playful DDR Museum where visitors can have a hands-on experience to see how life was under dictatorship. I’m sure this museum isn’t interesting for someone who lived through his childhood in the East Germany, but for me, it was a really fun place to spend a few hours… and it was also one of the few places that opened for business on Christmas’s Eve.

This exhibition is really cool for how they display every information. You get to see the object up close, or even touch some of the display. There was an old car by the exhibition entrance (which was a very popular model in the DDR) and visitors could get inside, take the driver’s seat and turn the key. Then the screen in front would play a video of the street as if you were driving the car on the street in east Germany. Right, it wasn’t top notch technology, but hey, it’s not bad to enjoy some kitschy tourist thing from time to time.

Besides models of the Berlin Wall, and prison cells, this museum was all about people’s life in the old days. Lots of stories were told with the help of these display items. Visitors could open lots of drawers and closets, and found some old objects insides: household items, popular food brands and even clothing. It was like opening a gift box, you never know what’s behind it! This definitely encourage people of all age to get involved and learn some history. I then walked into a typical East Germany apartment. It was on the petit size with an old fashioned sofa, a small coffee table, white table cloth with floral edging. Of course the TV was playing some DDR propaganda.

Real passport with stamps for crossing the border of East Germany. DDR Museum, Berlin. Dec 24, 2011.

Watching government propaganda at an apartment in East Germany. DDR Museum, Berlin. Dec 24, 2011.

Their tiny kitchen made me looks like I'm 6 feet tall. DDR Museum, Berlin. Dec 24, 2011.

Big table. The telephone was actually playing some stories. DDR Museum, Berlin. Dec 24, 2011.

Apparently, all German keep a gun in their first drawer. (Note to self) DDR Museum, Berlin. Dec 24, 2011.

Old cash machine. DDR Museum, Berlin. Dec 24, 2011.

There was a film playing inside the museum. Some East Germany’s residents were interviewed and they were asked about what they think about the living situation. Most people said they wished to have better shopping options, some people said their apartment were in a reasonable size, a few even said life was not bad…… surely government’s propaganda.

The interactiveness of DDR museum was so awesome, and it almost made life in East Germany seems fun. I made a video clip to show how they display stories of some general stationary. You could touch the “shadow” of every item, and then some info would pop up on the touch-screen-table. Sorry for the poor quality, but you get the point.

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§ 8 Responses to Life in DDR

  • Purely.. Kay says:

    Wow.. that museum looks pretty awesome. I would love to visit that place. Well.. I usually love mostly all museums 🙂

    • Katharine says:

      I love museums too! and I must say, this one stands out particularly.
      Not only with tons of informations and stories from that part of history, it really get you involved. My mom didn’t speak English at all, but she had a fun time opening every closet!

  • Looks like a great museum. I think the car is a trabant? The Trabant (which in medieval German was a foot soldier or personal guard) was an automobile that was produced in former East Germany and was the most common vehicle in that country but was also exported to neighbours inside the communist bloc. It was called the People’s Car and was so popular, and production was so inefficient, that it could take up to fifteen years to deliver after placing the order. In Krakow there is a communist tour which actually uses original Trabants!

    • Katharine says:

      YES! That’s *the* people’s car, a trabant! I couldn’t beliebe how popular it was that people had to wait for over a decade to get it! It’s amazing cars can represent a particular life style, a time period, and in this case a political situation. It really touches me when I read the part that people lived in the East Germany longed for a car, as it’s one of the few things that offered a taste of “freedom”.

  • Arjan Tupan says:

    Oh, looks very interesting. I was staying in the hotel next to it when I was in Berlin, but I was there only a very short time, so I didn’t go in. Will surely do that next time.

  • DDR Museum says:

    Of course we would be glad to welcome you all in the exhibition!

    Andrew, you’re right about the Trabant. The word “trabant” means also companion in Slavic, therefore it’s also German word for a natural satellite. This seems to be the naming’s motivation!

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