Everyday life in East Germany
From secret surveillance and popular protest to work, school and family life, Katja Hoyer weighs up what life was like for ordinary people during the GDR’s 40-year history
The story of East Germany has been largely told in the context of Cold War geopolitics. But while the country may have been an ideological battleground, ordinary life there still carried on regardless – people picked up supplies at the local shop, took their kids to school and enjoyed trips to the cinema. Speaking to Ellie Cawthorne, Katja Hoyer reexamines the experiences of ordinary people in the GDR to uncover a new perspective on the communist state.
Katja Hoyer is the author of Beyond the Wall: East Germany, 1949-1990 (Penguin, 2023)
Ellie Cawthorne is HistoryExtra’s podcast editor. She also contributes to BBC History Magazine, runs the podcast newsletter and hosts several live and virtual BBC History Magazine events.
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