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Germany Divided: Experiencing DDR-Tag

Published: August 8, 2019

Campers woke up on Wednesday to a wall dividing the campground into West-Waldsee and Ost-Waldsee (West and East Waldsee). Teilnehmer (Ts, one-week campers) and Kursteilnehmer (KTs, two-week campers) found themselves in the western half, and the Leistungskursteilnehmer (LKTs, high school credit campers) and Lehrlinge (apprentices) were on the eastern side.

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Karl und “Helmut Kohl” led Morgenkreis (morning circle) and sang several upbeat songs to get the morning started, as well as singing “Wir Haben Hunger” (“We are Hungry”) to enter the Gasthof. The Morgenkreis in Ost-Waldsee sang one song and walked right into the Gasthof for Frühstück (breakfast). While there were announcement, songs, and an Essensvorstellung (meal presentation) in West-Waldsee before the meal, Ost-Waldsee could immediately start eating. 

Elections were also held during breakfast, with “Erich Honecker” winning in Ost-Waldsee with 92 percent of the vote, and Helmut Kohl winning in West-Waldsee with 40 percent of the vote, forming a coalition with the Freie Demokratische Partei (Free Democratic Party).

In order to go to Familie (small language group) in Ost-Waldsee, some campers had to apply for visas at the border. Counselors carried out Passkontrolle (passport checks) throughout the day to make sure no Ost-Waldsee campers had fled to the other side.

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There were generally fewer options for campers in Ost-Waldsee. Instead of a wide variety of Veranstaltungen (activities) like in West-Waldsee, Ost-Waldsee campers could choose between swimming, hiking, sports, and art. West-Waldsee campers were still able to make purchases at Café Einbeck and Waldsee Café using the old German currency, Deutsche Marks. In order to buy goods from Café Einbeck, Ost-Waldsee campers had to locate the Schwarzmarkt (black market) throughout the day, though Ost-Café offered one type of cake and juice at no cost.

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At the end of the day, West-Waldsee was preparing for a large music festival during dinner, and Erich Honecker announced that Ost-Waldsee would instead have two hours of Gesang (song hour) and then go to bed. Immediately, Erich Honecker was pulled aside and one of his officials read out a new law, announcing that Ost-Waldsee campers would now have Reisefreiheit ab sofort (freedom to travel into the West, immediately). The Ost-Waldsee campers ran through the border crossing and greeted their friends in West-Waldsee

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The whole camp came together for a debrief of the day’s events on the western side of the wall. Campers discussed their experiences, and counselors led a discussion on the history of divided Germany and the Berlin Wall. Following the debrief, everyone could enjoy dinner and the music festival as the wall came down.