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Administrative Assistance (June 17, 1994)

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Career Setbacks

Of course, for many former [GDR] administrators, the Wende meant the loss of their jobs; the vast majority, however, stayed on. There were career setbacks: once Western standards were applied, former section heads suddenly found themselves as Referenten [officials responsible for a division]; department heads could barely be used as caseworkers. In the end, many were undone by their closeness to the regime, whether to the party or the security agencies. Manfred F., who came from West Germany and heads a post office, praises his East German personnel: “They all got the hang of it, and weak employees are something we also had in the West.”

He notices, however, that the pressure to cut personnel places a growing strain on his co-workers. The civil service in East Germany had far too many employees; in spite of numerous dismissals and the lower pay, personnel costs per citizen in East Germany are still one-third higher than in the West.

The basis for the building and rebuilding of the administration was the Joint Protocol on Principles that was part of the Treaty on the Establishing a Monetary, Economic, and Social Union of May 18, 1990. In it, the government of the GDR had agreed to reform its law on the basis of the principles of a liberal, democratic, federal, and constitutional [rechtsstaaliche] order – that is, on the basis of the Basic Law – as well as in accordance with the legal system of the European Community. Since that could be accomplished only with Western assistance, the federal government had committed itself to offering official help.


The administrative help occurred on many levels: the federal government had to set up around 4,200 agencies; among them, almost 200 in the federal bureaucracy proper, more than 1,200 in the area of defense, about 100 border control offices, and about 1,300 offices each for the postal service and the railroad. When those were set up, it was possible to retain most of the approximately 420,000 employees in the personnel reservoir of the predecessor offices of the GDR.

Within the framework of sponsorships, West German state governments placed nearly 8,500 employees; about 1,500 came from federal agencies and were used above all in the ministries. Incidentally, the federal government focused its personnel help on establishing property, land registry, and surveying offices, in order to create the precondition for a successful rebuilding by reorganizing the legal framework of property.

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