Exploratory trips to East Germany: Stalls in Greifswald [27/30]



May 24 1990
Greifswald, Marketplace
Created By: Dagmar Lipper

License: Creative Commons License

From the Set

Exhibition theme: Encounters and Explorations

Stalls at the marketplace in Greifswald; the Magnet department store in the background; the townhall to the right


car, group of people, logo, market place, merchandize, trade (commerce), warehousing


deterioration, journey, landscape, leisure time



Text in image

Kaufhaus Magnet

Other items in this set


"After the fall of the Wall (and being able to enter East Germany without any difficulty), we, like many other West Berliners, started exploring the East. Berlin was once again a city surrounded by countryside – there was much to discover. Suddenly we became aware of the names on the transit route exits and looked them up to see what kind of places they were. In the past, we had always blanked them out because they had in any case been out of bounds for us. It was funny how, occasionally on Monday mornings in the office, we'd arrive and start the day by swapping notes about our weekend escapades. We recommended places to see or found tips of where to go in the newspapers.

Given that both my boyfriend and I are pretty curious people who like to sound things out when away on holiday, it went without saying that we take off at weekends in the months that followed. We wanted to explore places that had now become accessible to us – first East Berlin, then the region of Brandenburg and then, even further away. We had such fun exploring the Brandenburg countryside and its history; no less because we discovered things we hadn't been taught in school in North Rhine-Westphalia. I even know now where the legendary pear-tree on the von Ribbeck family grave is. In addition, I liked exploring the myriad old towns, which are still intact and whole. In contrast to Berlin and the Ruhr, which suffered much destruction during the Second World War, the region of Brandenburg got off lightly.

We of course also saw some depressing things. Our visit to the former concentration camp in Sachsenhausen made quite an impact on us since the display of genocidal machinery was still very graphic.

We were often dramatically confronted with the proverbial 'Ruinen-schaffen-ohne-Waffen' (create ruins without weapons). The city of Brandenburg was in a really sad state at the time. Here was an entire city that had been spared the destruction of WWII but which had since gone to the dogs because nothing had been done to maintain the basic structure of the buildings. The Schloss Rheinsberg (a castle in the administrative district of Ostprignitz-Ruppin), which was currently being used as a sanatorium, was in an equally woeful state. A great big heap of coals used for heating lay against the white wall at the back of the house; for sure not a good idea given that wet coal doesn't really burn very well.

Later our travels took us ever further out. We spent long weekends out in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains and went up as far as the Baltic Sea. Staying in guestrooms and holiday flats which were different to what we had known in the West – but not worse – represented a whole new experience for us. The conversations that ensued with our hosts about all the changes were equally interesting."

Dagmar Lipper (West Berlin)

Original Caption

"People were selling the cheapest Aldi yogurts at the market in Greifswald for 1 or 2 Deutsch Marks. I sometimes thought that if I didn't have any qualms about flogging cheap Western products, I'd be able to make a nice little bit of extra pocket money for myself."