Discontent is growing in tandem as these provisioning problems have increased. In many stores, open and critical discussions are taking place, some of which are exploited by hostile forces for provocative statements. Many party members are saying that they do not know how to take control of these discussions. The sales personnel are dragged into such discussions every day and are speaking out about their situation with a lot of discontent and sullenness.
In the Lichtenberg locations of state-run and co-operative retails, the sales personnel referred customers to a recent retail conference, according to which there will be even less meat, bread, and butter in the coming weeks. In Treptow, Gretastraße, only ½ stick of butter will be given out per capita this week.
In the great industrial enterprises in democratic Berlin, intense discussions are being carried on about the provisioning situation, especially by colleagues living on the outskirts. In the VEB Bergmann-Borsig, questions about the provisioning with meat, bread, and potatoes are at the forefront. Some of the comrades in the enterprises are saying that when it comes to these shortages they do not have adequate arguments to pacify their colleagues. They maintain that it is high time for the government to finally issue an official response to this difficult provisioning situation.
Increasingly there are views (also among comrades) that the transformation of agriculture occurred too early and too fast, and that we are now experiencing the payback.
At the shovel milling works, 18 women demanded time off on Saturdays after 9:00 am to go shopping, since they can’t get anything in the outskirts in the afternoon.
In this context, a number of young workers maintained that with such difficulties, “we” cannot solve the West Berlin questions, especially since the RIAS [Radio station in the American sector] supposedly said: “The West remains firm. What now?”
In Köpenick, housewives explained while shopping that they were of course in favor of a peace treaty and did not want a war. But it was obvious that we are not able to provide people with all the basic necessities.
People in the stores are increasingly explaining that until now they have been reluctant to shop in West Berlin. However, at times, they are now forced to do so because of the growing shortages in supplies.
In general, the following mood is spreading in these conversations:
Contrary to the declarations of the press, things are not moving forward. At the moment, there are deficiencies that should not exist sixteen years after the end of the war.
In the process, the following statements are made to party members: “Talk is silver, silence is golden” – “Not only are things not moving forward, they are constantly moving backward” – “It is time for food ration cards to be introduced – conditions like 1945” – “In the war under Hitler there was at least meat and bread on a regular basis.”
“If the thing with West Berlin is not changed soon, we’ll all go broke” – “How long are people going to talk about West Berlin without taking action” – “Last year it was said: when the lilac returns to bloom . . .” – “Tell Mr. Ulbricht he should finally seal off the borders” – “Why is everything available at Wendenschloß for the functionaries. Vegetables, asparagus, strawberries, and other goods in short supply are offered there in abundance.”