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German History in Documents and Images
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Helmut Schmidt and Erich Honecker at Schloss Hubertusstock on Lake Werbellin (December 11-13, 1981)
Relations between the two German states worsened when the GDR government decided, on October 13, 1980, to increase the amount of foreign currency that visitors to the GDR from “non-socialist foreign countries” were forced to exchange for East German marks. (From that point on, visitors had to purchase 25 East German marks per day.) Additionally, in a speech delivered that same day, Erich Honecker put forth his so-called Gera Demands: as a precondition for the further development of inter-German relations, he called for the recognition of GDR citizenship, the closure of the Central Registration Office for Political Crimes in Salzgitter, West Germany (this office documented political offenses in the GDR), the transformation of permanent representative missions into embassies, and the regulation of the Elbe River border. From December 11-13, 1981, Honecker (right) and Chancellor Helmut Schmidt (left) met for working discussions at Schloss Hubertusstock on Lake Werbellin in Brandenburg (East Germany). There, Honecker’s Gera “demands” were toned down a bit, assuming a form perhaps better described as “wishes.” Although no further agreements were made at the meeting, it demonstrated that a German-German dialogue could still be maintained amidst the “Second Cold War.”