"Ein Blick in die Ostzone. DBZ SED-Propaganda in der sächs. Stadt Schmilka."
The sign reads: „The people of Schmilka‘s birthday present for our republic: 150 chicken
feed contracts and 2000 eggs on the free market!“ The photograph was taken in 1959, the year
in which, on 7th October, the GDR celebrated its tenth anniversary. For the first time since
the state was founded, the SED leadership had ordered extensive preparations for large-scale,
centrally planned anniversary celebrations. Throughout the year, campaigns were run which
mobilised particular groups (on the basis of profession, age etc). In October, a week was
devoted to the announcement of competition winners, festivals and rallies, and a military
parade in Berlin.
Using the slogan „For the people‘s prosperity, peace and happiness, we are setting the table for the republic’s birthday“, the government incited the people to even greater achievements than usual, such as the completion of the first stage of an ambitious seven-year economic plan. The declaration shown in this picture is a response to this. The words „on the free market“ on the notice indicate that, although ration cards had been abolished, there were still food shortages – particularly as distribution was regulated by the state.