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Information on the Public Mood with Regard to Provisioning in Berlin and the District of Potsdam (May 19, 1961)

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A few days ago, comrade Erna Hedrich, an expert with the municipal administration, overheard the following conversation between two women on a train:
“Bring me some apples from the city again some time.”
“Impossible, ever since the ‘bigshots’ all left there isn’t anything special anymore. They’ve had large villas and roads built at the Wandlitzsee. They’d be better off taking the train again and seeing what the situation is like.”

The fellow passengers responded with laughter.

II. Notes about the provisioning situation in the Potsdam district:

1. Last weekend there was an inadequate supply of meat and sausage in the districts of Potsdam-Stadt and Potsdam-Land and in the industrial centers of the district. In some places, there were also problems with bread. In the city of Potsdam, no meat was available after 10:00 am on the last three Saturdays.

2. In Potsdam-Stadt, there is an inadequate supply of dishes in restaurants and likewise of drinks, especially non-alcoholic ones.
At the moment, the Park Festival is taking place in Potsdam, and many visitors from the GDR, the democratic sector of Berlin, West Berlin, and West Germany are present.

3. It should be noted that the allocation from the central authority in Berlin for the per capita consumption of food in the peripheral areas of the district is already below the district average in Potsdam. A part of the provisioning contingent for the population was used up by the robust travel and vacation traffic and by the vacation homes and vacation camps.

4. Comrades point out that a lot of Eastern farmers are currently traveling on the “Sputnik” (connecting train Potsdam-Berlin) to the democratic sector in order to sell asparagus illegally in West Berlin. The train is not being patrolled.

Source: SAPMO-BArchiv, DY 30/IV 2/6.10/29, 1-4; reprinted in Dierk Hoffmann and Michael Schwartz, eds., Geschichte der Sozialpolitik in Deutschland seit 1945. Bd. 8: 1949-1961: Deutsche Demokratische Republik. Im Zeichen des Aufbaus des Sozialismus [History of Social Policy in Germany since 1945, Vol. 8: 1949-1961: German Democratic Republic. Under the Sign of the Build Up of Socialism]. Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2004, no. 8/220.

Translation: Thomas Dunlap

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