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A Shortage of Everyday Commodities (May 15, 1979)

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There is no good public discussion on supply issues; often you can hear people say, how will it be next year, when there are no elections and no thirtieth anniversary.

With respect to spare parts, especially for the Trabant,* too many consultations are being carried out all the way up to the Central Committee, but no changes ever come of them.

[ . . . ]

The [SED] county leadership in Torgau made the following verbatim statement in its report: “On this and other questions of local policy, the representatives, election assistants, and comrades will patiently reply in the coming days and will elucidate the generally positive results in the GDR and the county.”

The [SED] county leadership in Borna estimates that rumor-mongering is still very widespread on questions of supply, and that temporary gaps in certain assortments of goods give rise to speculation, nasty comments to sales personnel, and cheap propaganda. In this context, the county leadership reports on the firm actions of many comrades in Ferro Lippendorf and in the Borna consumer collective, where it was clearly documented that a number of workers were spreading untrue rumors to the staff about the supply of everyday goods in order to stir up public opinion. Comrades there categorically countered the rumors that are still in circulation. The BPO [Betriebsparteiorganisation or Company Party Organization] leadership of the “Bella” shoe factory in Groitzsch and the GO [Gründungsorganisation or Founding Organization] of IC Böhlen assess, however, that they are not progressing in the discussion on supply issues because the comrades often do not remain objective, and they express their own lack of understanding that things such as bed linens, chocolates, terry cloth towels, underwear, etc., are sold in the special stores at higher prices.

[ . . . ]

Source: “Parteiinformation vom 15.5.1979” [“Party Information from May 15, 1979”], PDS-Archive, Leipzig; reprinted in Christoph Kleßmann and Georg Wagner, ed., Das gespaltene Land. Leben in Deutschland 1945-1990 [The Divided Country. Life in Germany 1945-1990]. Munich, 1993, pp. 378-80.

Translation: Allison Brown

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