East Germany jokes

East Germany jokes

Jokes in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) frequently included political characters (e.g. Erich Honecker), the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) and mundane life dealing with economic scarcity.


Structure of jokes

Comparisons between countries were also common—for example between East Germany, the Soviet Union, and the United States or their citizens.

Jokes in relation to social and professional groups, in particular, officers of the Volkspolizei were often portrayed as brainless.

The Q&A-type jokes of Armenian Radio were also common.

Jokes in relation to national, regional or ethnic groups: about Russians, Poles, and the Saxons.

Other, general categories of jokes were also Fritzchen jokes (with an unsuspecting young boy, called Fritz).


Economic scarcity

  • What would happen if the desert became a socialist country? Nothing for a while, and then there would be a sand shortage.
  • How can you use a banana as a compass? Place a banana on the Berlin Wall. East is where a bite has been taken out of it.
  • A customer orders a Trabant car. The salesman tells him to come back to pick it up in nine years. The customer: "Shall I come back in the morning or in the evening then?" The sellers: "You're joking, aren't you." The customer: "No, not at all. It's just that I need to know; the plumber comes at 3pm then."

Country and politics

  • Which three great nations in the world begin with "U"? - USA, USSR, and Our GDR (German: USA, UdSSR, Unsere DDR). This alludes to how official discourse often used the phrase "our GDR", and also often exaggerated the GDR's world status.
  • A school teacher asks little Fritz : "Fritzchen, why are you always speaking of our Soviet brothers? It's 'Soviet friends'." Fritz responds: "Well, you can pick your friends."
  • The teacher asks: "Fritzchen, what is the difference between capitalism and socialism?" Fritz replies: "Capitalism is the exploitation of man by man. Under socialism, it is the other way around."


  • Honecker and Mielke are discussing their hobbies. Honecker: "I collect (ich sammele) all the jokes about me." Mielke: "Well we have almost the same hobby. I round up (ich sammele... ein, figuratively) all those who tell jokes about you."
  • How can you tell that the Stasi has bugged your apartment? There's a new cabinet in it. (This is an allusion to the underdeveloped state of East German microelectronics.)


Erich Honecker presents an award to Stasi chief Erich Mielke, 1980
  • 'Early in the morning, Honecker arrives at his office and opens his window. He sees the sun and says: "Good morning, dear Sun!" The sun replies: "Good morning, dear Erich!" Honecker works, and then at noon he heads to the window and says: "Good day, dear Sun!" The sun replies: "Good day, dear Erich!" In the evening, Erich calls it a day, and heads once more to the window, and says: "Good evening, dear Sun!" The sun is silent. Honecker says again: "Good evening, dear Sun! What's the matter?" The sun replies: "Kiss my arse. I'm in the West now."' (from the 2006 Oscar-winning movie The Lives of Others)
  • "What's the difference between Honecker and a telephone? None! Hang up and try again." This is a pun with the German words aufhängen, neuwählen, meaning both 'hang up' and 'hang', meaning both 'hang up the phone and dial again' and 'hang him and vote again'.


Show-cased Trabant 601, 1963
  • What's the best feature of a Trabant?: There's a heater at the back to keep your hands warm when you're pushing it.
  • A West German visitor is driving a Mercedes through East Germany on a rainy night when his windshield wipers stop working. He takes it to an East German mechanic, who tells him there are no Mercedes windshield wiper motors in the GDR, but he will do his best to fix it. When the businessman returns the next day, to his surprise the windshield wipers are working perfectly. "How did you find a Mercedes windshield wiper motor in the East?" he asks the mechanic. "We didn't," replies the mechanic, "We used the engine of a Trabant."


  • What was the most-frequently used word at the German-German border? "Goose meat". (Gänsefleisch, sounds like the first three words in Gönn'se vielleischt mal 'n Gofferraum bidde offmachn? in the Saxon accent, Können Sie vielleicht bitte mal den Kofferraum öffnen? in standard German, which means Could you please open the trunk? ) This joke cannot be fully understood unless one realizes that most East German border guards who worked at the West German border were recruited from Saxony, the most populous part of the country and larger parts thereof without availability of West German broadcasts.[citation needed]
  • The doorbell rings. The woman goes to the door and shortly comes back startled and turns to her husband, seeking help: "Dieter! There's a man standing outside who only asks 'Tatü tata'" (Tatü tata is onomatopoeia for the sound a police car siren makes). Dieter goes to the door and comes back laughing. "It's my coworker from Saxony, asking "'s do Dieta da?" (Ist der Dieter da?, "Is Dieter there?")

See also



  • Clement de Wroblewsky: Wo wir sind, ist vorn – Der politische Witz in der DDR, Hamburg 1986, ISBN 3-89136-093-2(German)
  • Ingolf Franke: Das große DDR-Witz.de Buch, 500 kommentierte DDR-Witze, Forchheim 2002, ISBN 3-937547-00-2 (German) ("The Big Book of Jokes from DDR-Witz.de," 500 commented GDR jokes)
  • Ingolf Franke: Das zweite große DDR-Witze.de Buch, weitere 500 kommentierte DDR-Witze, Forchheim 2003, ISBN 3-937547-01-0(German) ("The Second Big Book of Jokes from DDR-Witz.de," other 500 commented GDR jokes)
  • John Rodden (2002) "Repainting the Little Red Schoolhouse: A History of Eastern German Education, 1945-1995", ISBN 019511244X, pages 139, 143, 163, 164, 186, 189, 190, 394, 424, 425, 442 (search for "jokes")

External links

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