East german life

The Palace of the Republic opens in East Berlin with a celebration for its builders, technicians, engineers, architects, and anyone else who was involved in its construction. Two days later it opens to the public. The building is home to the People’s Chamber (the parliament of the GDR) and is also a conference and events centre. Built on the site of the old city palace, the imposing structure is the new jewel in East Berlin’s crown. Caretaker Bernd Wolfgang spent weeks preparing everything for the grand opening. In this film he talks about his first days on duty in the palace.

After the death of party leader Joseph Stalin on 5 March 1953 discrimination against Jews came to an end in the GDR. The police raids and persecution were halted, Community members detained in prison were set free and most of the Jews who had been expelled from the ruling party were rehabilitated. The communities, now smaller in number, were given grants to renew their synagogues, run a home for the elderly, set up a kosher butcher and maintain the Jewish Cemetery in Berlin’s Weissensee. The Jewish Community in the GDR began publishing its news bulletin, the Nachrichtenblatt , in 1961.

After the wall came down, Sauer went to work for a software company in San Diego before being recruited back to Germany. A few years later he was awarded a professorship at Berlin’s Humboldt University. Sauer continues his quantum computational research—with brief breaks to entertain international heads of states with his wife, German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Sauer’s new workspace is in a recently renovated lab on Humboldt University’s Aldershof campus, where the GDR’s Institute of Chemistry used to sit, just across from a former Stasi military barracks.

Egon Krenz was elected by the politburo to be Honecker's successor. Krenz tried to show that he was looking for change within the GDR but the citizens did not trust him. On November 9, 1989, the SED announced that East Germans would be able to travel to West Berlin the next day. The spokesman who announced the new travel law incorrectly said that it would take effect immediately, implying the Berlin Wall would open that night. People began to gather at border checkpoints at the wall hoping to be let through, but the guards told them that they had no orders to let citizens through. As the number of people grew, the guards became alarmed and tried to contact their superiors but had no responses. Unwilling to use force, the chief guard at the checkpoint relented at 10:54pm and ordered the gate to be opened. Thousands of East-Germans swarmed into West Berlin and the purpose of the wall was deemed now obsolete. The fall of the wall destroyed the SED politically as well as the career of its leader, Egon Krenz. On December 1, 1989, the GDR government revoked the law that guaranteed the SED the right to rule the East German political system, effectively ending communist rule in the GDR.

East german life

east german life

Egon Krenz was elected by the politburo to be Honecker's successor. Krenz tried to show that he was looking for change within the GDR but the citizens did not trust him. On November 9, 1989, the SED announced that East Germans would be able to travel to West Berlin the next day. The spokesman who announced the new travel law incorrectly said that it would take effect immediately, implying the Berlin Wall would open that night. People began to gather at border checkpoints at the wall hoping to be let through, but the guards told them that they had no orders to let citizens through. As the number of people grew, the guards became alarmed and tried to contact their superiors but had no responses. Unwilling to use force, the chief guard at the checkpoint relented at 10:54pm and ordered the gate to be opened. Thousands of East-Germans swarmed into West Berlin and the purpose of the wall was deemed now obsolete. The fall of the wall destroyed the SED politically as well as the career of its leader, Egon Krenz. On December 1, 1989, the GDR government revoked the law that guaranteed the SED the right to rule the East German political system, effectively ending communist rule in the GDR.

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