A popular joke in East Germany involved Erich Honecker, leader of the German Democratic Republic, discussing hobbies with head of the feared Stasi secret police, Erich Mielke. Honecker says “I collect all the jokes about me”, to which Miekle replied, “Well we have almost the same hobby. I round up all those who tell jokes about you.”
The Deutsche Demokratische Republik, which existed between 1949 to 1990 was one of the most peculiar and sinister countries behind the Iron Curtain. The most feared police states in recent history, it was the embodiment of George Orwell’s dystopian 1984. The DDR museum, situated on the banks of the River Spree, where the Unter den Linden turns into Karl-Liebknecht strasse, is a fascinating insight into daily life in East Germany, where it’s estimated one in ten people worked as an informant for the Stasi.
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