Demonstration by the Polish trade union Solidarnosc in the pilgrimage city of Tschenstochau (Poland). The illegal trade union Solidarnosc grew into a mass movement that could no longer be stopped.
Source: AP Photo

Educational and cultural alternatives

[Translate to English:] Eltern gründen 1980 einen Kinderladen im Ostberliner Stadtteil Prenzlauer Berg. Sie wollen ihre Kinder nicht den staatlichen Kinderkrippen überlassen, sondern über die Betreuung selbst bestimmen. Der SED-Staat sieht in dieser Eigeninitiative seine kommunistische Erziehung infrage gestellt und veranlasst im Dezember 1983 eine Zwangsräumung.
Source: Der Bundesbeauftragte für die Unterlagen des ehemaligen Staatssicherheitsdienstes der DDR
Demolition of a gasometer in the East Berlin district of Prenzlauer Berg, 1984. The SED demolished three gasometers to make space for new homes and a parade ground for political rallies. Public protests against this destruction of historically important industrial heritage had no effect.
In the 1980s the SED leadership planned to build a major road through the Jewish graveyard in the Weißensee district of Berlin. Members of the group Women for Peace began protesting against the project in 1986, raising public awareness. The project was eventually abandoned.
Source: Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft
In the autumn of 1988 a number of young people were expelled from an East Berlin school for political reasons. People displayed solidarity with them across the GDR, discussing the problems in the education system. Marianne Birthler (top left) initiated the alternative evening school “Learning Differently”, where the young people began learning under self-determined conditions – about subjects that were taboo in East Germany’s schools.
Source: Privatarchiv Marianne Birthler
The Dutch Quarter of Potsdam in a state of decay, around 1989. Historical buildings that would have been worth preserving fell into drastic disrepair in many parts of the GDR, as the state left them to rot. Critics of this urban decay documented the state of the buildings and warned against losing traces of history, some of them forming initiatives.
Source: Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft/Siegbert Schefke
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