25 Vintage Photos Provide A Peek Into Life In East Germany

The wall came down

What life was like in East Germany
During the Cold War and following the construction of the Berlin Wall, many parts of the world had few ways of fully ascertaining what life was like in East Germany. Indeed, the Eastern Bloc state was isolated from the West in both physical and ideological senses for decades.

Aided substantially by the Internet, years after the wall came down photographers from behind the Iron Curtain have been able to disseminate images of “closed” life to the public, giving us visual insights into the many differences – and similarities, at least superficially – between East German and Western life:

Children playing with a soccer ball at the Berlin Wall in 1963.

A ‘hooligan’ in East Berlin, 1987. Hooligans are members of punk gangs usually organized around a particular soccer club.

During an airshow in Magdeburg, Germany in 1974 a soldier and a woman spend some personal time together.

Two men in East Berlin deliver coal to apartments in the city, 1974.

German women planting potatoes in a field in 1975.

A couple out dancing and enjoying themselves in an East German establishment.

A young couple getting close on the sidewalk as a ‘hooligan’ looks on.

A group of Sorbic youth gathers on their motorcycles near Hoyerswerda, Germany: 1975.

In 1974, a Soviet soldier looks over an event in the medieval city center of Bautzen, Germany.

School children on a class outing having an ice cream break in front of a shop in Erfurt, Germany in 1974.

A parade in East Berlin in 1959 – marking the 10 year anniversary of the proclamation of East Germany.

A parade marking the 35th anniversary of the proclamation
of East Germany held at the Karl-Marx-Allee in 1984.

Young men in a rainstorm with German flags at Alexanderplatz Square in East Berlin.

Hooligans jump a fence and rush the field after a closely fought soccer match.

A storefront complete with propaganda poster in East Berlin, 1974.

An abandoned train car covered in graffiti on the streets of Prenzlauer Berg, 1974.

A man rests under the dandelion fountain in Dresden, in the city center of Prager Strasse.

A German Punk youth with shaved head in East Berlin, 1984.

Three men riding public transit look dreary from a long day on the job.

Armed guards watch over a public soccer event to make sure the hooligans in the crowd do not get out of hand.

A pantomime theater group eats on a rooftop in East Berlin, 1984.

A hooligan passed out under a tree post soccer match, while the others in attendance leave the area.

A group of female performers dancing for the audience at Friedrichstadt Palace in East Berlin, 1984.

Anti-Nazi graffiti on a wall in an East German city, 1990.


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