DDR Museum in Berlin

This past weekend the hubby and I made a weekend visit to Berlin.  Neither of us had ever been before and we found to the city to be relaxing, artistic and cold!  Brrrr!  On our first day we visited the DDR Museum, which is an interactive hands-on museum that explores the everyday life of people living under a dictatorship.  This museum doesn’t show the famous Berlin Wall or crimes committed under said dictatorship but simply gives its visitors an idea of what daily life was like living under that power.  Through short explanations and discovering information hidden behind doors and walls, the museum gives an excellent idea of what life really was like not so many years ago.

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The museum has two main areas: one dealing more with daily life of the everyday person and the other dealing more military life of soldiers.  Since my knowledge of all military things is admittedly low, I really enjoyed seeing and discovering the daily aspects of their life.  Take for instance, this example of what birth control looked like:

I found it really interesting that they had birth control and that it was something so widely used and available.

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Also, behind one of the hidden walls was an explanation that in school most children were forced to learn Russian.

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Along with this explanation was the opportunity to write your name and have it translated into Russian.  The hubby’s and my name:

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I also found it fascinating that even though people were living under a dictatorship, they were quite liberal.  One example of this was that nudism was extremely popular.

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And then this little gem to illustrate the point.  I just can’t help but thinking about the artist that was commissioned to create all those little naked people playing volleyball with all their naked little body parts.  Such tiny penises to make!

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I think my favorite part of the museum was the exhibition showing a typical GDR apartment.  They recreated the apartment with furniture and appliances from actual houses from the time period and the funniest part to me was that it didn’t look so different from some Spanish houses today!

The hubby in his GDR living room:

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A typical bathroom (I’ve had bathrooms which look pretty similar to this one which makes me wonder who actually had better living arrangements):

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And then the kitchen set-up.  Inside the kitchen cupboards were information about the family life and how women were treated in the GDR.  As a bit of a feminist myself, I found it to be so intriguing.

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In the kitchen cupboard:

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A retro blender!

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Looking at the displays of daily life it was easy to forget that the GDR was a military regime (and a dictatorship no less!) but then seeing this information about what it meant to be a soldier and how everyone was expected to participate really brought it back to reality:

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A GDR jail cell for those who didn’t cooperate:

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An interrogation room where people being interrogated had to put their elbows in the holes on the table and cover their ears with their hands and answer questions like that for hours:

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One of the cars they had on display to play with and get an idea of what it was like to drive it in East Berlin:

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I admittedly knew (and still know) very little about that part of European history and the museum didn’t really help answer many of my questions but it gave me some insight to a very complicated topic.  I highly recommend this museum to anyone visiting Berlin for the first time.  Or to anyone that wants to get out of the cold for a few hours and have some fun with learning!

DDR Museum website

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