Producing Irons in Sörnewitz (1964)
Following the Soviet model, worker “brigades” were instituted as the smallest structural unit in GDR factories. The GDR also followed Soviet precedent in calling for “socialist competition” among the brigades, each of which was to vie for the titles “Brigade of Socialist Work” and “Best Quality Brigade.” Additionally, youth brigades were formed from the membership of the Free German Youth organization. For a group to qualify as a youth brigade, the majority of its members had to be under 25. “Socialist competition” aimed to motivate employees to achieve higher levels of performance, with the overall goal being to increase factory productivity. This photograph shows electric irons being produced in a factory in Sörnewitz; the two chalk boards show production goals for the month of June 1964 as well as the number of irons already manufactured. Photo by Jochen Moll.