Life in the GDR

Leben in der DDR

Everyday life in the GDR

As a Socialist Unity Party, the SED controlled almost all areas of life in the GDR on the Soviet model. Tightly run mass organizations such as the Young Pioneers, the FDJ or the Federation of Trade Unions (FDGB) accompanied people from childhood to retirement - in school, at work, at sport and even on vacation. Expropriated companies and collectivised agriculture worked according to rigid five-year plans. Again and again there were supply bottlenecks, especially for consumer goods. Anyone who wanted to buy a television or a car waited years for it. Censorship and surveillance by the finely branched network of state security suppressed opposition movements. Resistance developed only sporadically under the protection of the churches.