GDR Cultural Policy and the Wende at Ironworkers’ Stadium, November 1989

This video of a match report on an GDR Oberliga football match from November 25, 1989 has been making the rounds for a while, and I thought I’d post it here with a translation of the moderation as it’s a nice little window into the social changes taking place in East German at that time.

The game in question between Lokomotive Leipzig, a team typically to be found at the top of the East German table (though not in this year) and BSG Stahl Eisenhüttenstadt, a weak sister of GDR football, at Stahl’s homeground, Ironworkers’ Stadium, just over two weeks after the opening of the Berlin Wall on November 9th.

Giddy with the new freedoms that have blown in with the winds of change, the reporter from East German television exercises his responsibilities as a member of the fourth estate to ask tough questions of a representative of state power, here Dr. Teetz, the head of Factory Sport Group Stahl’s “Football Section”. He touches on the then popular theme of fair pay for labour and critical aspects of East German cultural policy.

Here’s a transcript of the clip (well, most of it anyway!)

0:00 – 0:30

Moderator:           Those who decide to attend a football match in Eisenhüttenstadt get something for not too much money. (To fan 1) You just bought a ticket for the match. How much was it?
Fan 1:                    One mark ten.
Fan 2:                    Student price is 45 Pfennig
Fan 3:                    One fifty.
Fan 4:                    I’m a pensioner so 45 Pfennig.
Fan 5:                    I have a season’s ticket for 10 marks.
Moderator:            Is that a reduced-price ticket? (thanks to Bernd W. for help with that translation!)

Match Report Itself

2:15 – 3:28

Post-match Interview with Dr. Teetz, the head of the “Football Section” of the
Factory Sport Group Stahl Eisenhüttenstadt.

Moderator:        Now the question of questions for Dr. Teetz, head of the “Football Section”. . . Dr. Teetz, that was the eighth tie in a row for the Eisehnüttenstadters, or in other words, the eighth game in a row without a bonus.

Dr. Teetz:           That’s correct and regrettable for the Collective. Despite this, however, I have to say that we have shown once again that we are able to motivate this team, through the performance that they bring and the emotion that the fans bring to the                                   team.

Moderator:        To come back to the question of game bonuses, would it be possible to raise the ticket prices to 5 marks? Then the players could get a bonus.

Dr. Teetz:           (Signs audibly) Naturally we are not pleased with the current ticket prices. You know yourself, at 1,10 for a standing room ticket and 1,60 for a seat, I can’t accumulate any money for investments or things like bonuses, but I think we’ll be able to come to an agreement on raising the ticket prices with the region here in the coming days.

Moderator:        The only question that remains open then is what do the fans have to say about this?
Would you pay 5 marks to get in?

Fan 1:                 For this game? No, I don’t think so.
Fan 2:                 I’ve been coming to this stadium since 1954. I’d pay 5 marks.
Fan 3:                 Sure, sure, I’ll always go to the football match.
Fan 4:                 Nope, I don’t think so.

Oh, and by the way, the match ended 2-2.





  1. Love Dr. Teets. Still in the world of “collectives” and “accumulation” but already catching up with the world of “investments”.

  2. Bernd Wilms said:

    The question prior to 00:30 is “Ist das ‘ne Ermäßigte?” = “Is that a reduced-price ticket?” (concessions ticket in British English). In contemporary Germany you would expect ermäßigte tickets to be available for schoolkids, students, pensioners and in some cases the unemployed. It would seem illogical for the young man interviewed there to have a concessions ticket, but then

    As a point of comparison, a single-game terrace ticket to a Bundesliga match at the time would probably have cost about 10 marks (West) as well.

    It becomes increasingly difficult to come by clips of the remaining matchdays of that 89/90 season on YouTube (excepting Dresden, whose championship season is well documented). That may be coincidence, but I like to think it’s because beginning in spring, people just stopped videotaping those reports as the Oberliga became increasingly irrelevant. The Oberliga went away on 3 December 1989 for the winter break and didn’t return until 24 February, shortly before the Volkskammer elections. In the meantime, Bundesliga clubs had already started signing GDR players for immediate or end-of-season transfers, and the conversation about the republic had gone from discussing its future structure to discussing the parameters for confederation. After 18 March, the only focus was on the currency union and the impending reunification. The amount of videos picks up again in 90/91 and if I had to wager an unscientific guess, I’d say that’s due to people realizing early on the historic nature of that season as a qualifying round for the Bundesliga.

    Thanks for the great clip!

  3. Bernd Wilms said:

    If you’re looking at the Oberliga as a prism through which to track the Wende, another way to do it is to simply track the creep of Western advertising into the league.

    Prior to the Wende, GDR teams generally only played in adidas when they competed in the European Cup. Accordingly, the only time Western products would be advertised at grounds would be when GDR teams played against Western teams in European competition. Otherwise, it was usually ads for local East German products, sometimes ads for local newspapers and more rarely propaganda slogans.

    You can see this in the highlights of Dresden-Magdeburg on 8 November 1989:

    Both teams are playing in East German kits, although Dresden’s are more modern. Magdeburg’s have the same old-style number font that’s been used in the Oberliga since the 1960s. The ads visible at the ground are for FORTSCHRITT Landmaschinen (agricultural machines, definitely an Eastern product given the name PROGRESS), ORWO film, robotron Computer, Uhren aus Ruhla (watches from Ruhla) and KSD Spezialsportgeräte (sports equipment). This is the pride of Saxony’s socialist industry on display. The two other ads have interesting, almost cynical slogans: Germed – Arzneimittel international (“Germed – International Pharmaceuticals”, actually the brand for GDR pharmaceuticals and somewhat odd for a country that would soon be dependent on pharmaceutical imports) and Radeberger – in aller Welt (visible at 1:10 using the still-familiar Radeberger pilsener script, “Radeberger – around the world” is interesting given that Radeberger, while brewed near Dresden, was sold almost exclusively for hard currency at Intershops, Interhotels or for export).

    These ads are unchanged for the Dresden-Cottbus match on 25 November:

    The league then goes on its winter break. In February 1990, CWL (Cesar W. Lüthi, one of the predecessors of today’s Infront) signs its first broadcast rights and marketing deal with the East German FA. The league returns on 24 February 1990 as Dynamo travel to Hallescher FC Chemie:

    There are still no Western ads on display in Halle, but we do see the debut of new kits for Dynamo. They’re now outfitted by adidas and they have a shirt sponsor: Klingel Versand, a West German mail-order catalog. Hard to say where they’ve got the shirts from: Shirt cycles then were longer than they are now, but the shirts look like the model used by the West German national team as early as 1984 (

    There’s no online footage of the 3 March home game against Bischofswerda, but we do have footage of the 10 March game against FC Karl-Marx-Stadt:

    FCK are wearing Puma. There’s little footage but we don’t see any Western ads here. Things look different two weeks later for the visit of Carl Zeiss Jena:

    There are now ads visible for Klingel, Holsten pilsener (from Hamburg), something called “Boards & Sport” and “Echt Felsenbräu” (a beer from Franconia). Ads for Centrum (a department store) and “Silicone aus Nünchritz” are relegated to the background.

    On 7 April, Hansa Rostock come to town.
    We don’t see much of the match, but there is a prominent ad for “Südmilch” (milk products). Also, some of the GDR ads behind the goal have been removed.

    In the meantime, change is coming even more quickly to the smaller grounds. A visit to Brandenburg on 21 April shows the stadium there full of Western ads:

    On 28 April, Dynamo host already-renamed FC Berlin.

    The pitchside ads are now arranged prominently behind the left goal. There are almost exclusively ads for Western products: Klingel, Holsten, Südmilch and West cigarettes (iconically using the slogan “Test the West”). Jägermeister is in one corner, Karlsruher Versicherungen (insurance) are behind the other goal. Only a Praktica ad on the other side and behind one goal remain, along with the boards arranged in front of the stands as almost an afterthought. Dynamo are now wearing a new Erima kit that looks much like what West Germany’s Kaiserslautern had that season. Berlin are in a Patrick kit much akin to that worn by St. Pauli.

    The league program ends on 26 May with a home game vs. Lok Leipzig.
    Dresden are improbably dressed in a purple (!) adidas shirt, a version of the 1990 Soviet World Cup shirt ( The ads around the stadium are mostly Western.

    Perhaps one last sign of the times comes on 2 June, as the already-renamed 1. FC (formerly SG) Dynamo Dresden and PSV (formerly Dynamo) Schwerin contest the final of the FDGB Cup (FDGB being the organization of unions in East Germany):

    Schwerin is wearing a Western sponsor, the Neue Revue (an illustrated magazine). The ads around the ground are strangely mostly eastern, but one quick-thinking businessman has secured a prime spot at midfield: Willi Britsch, a car dealer from Neukölln in West Berlin whose dealership survives to this day. In the weeks and months to come, the sale of used cars to unwitting Easterners would become one of the biggest clichés in East-West relations.

    By March 1991 you can see Dynamo fully prepared for the Bundesliga ( The PRAKTICA ad under the scoreboard is gone and replaced by ads for Pepsi and Polsterland (2:21). There are new green and white plastic seats visible, the Eastern brands in front of the stands have been cleared away and the ad boards are now arranged in two rows all around the pitch according to the Western standards of the time.

    It took just 18 months to completely transform Dynamo Dresden’s stadium, and yet for the most part things remained relatively constant: The team kept its name (if not the prefix), kept its colors, kept some of its players and remained near the top of the Oberliga. For all the changes visible in those videos, Dynamo Dresden was probably a place of relatively little change compared to everything going on in the world at large.

  4. EHSTOS said:

    I went to see this game and paid 1,60 for a seating. I was 10 years old at the time and I remember it was the first game after school on Saturdays was abolished. I also remember that the prices were slightly higher when Stahl played against teams that were still in the European cup such as FC Karl-Marx-Stadt.

    • Ein Zeitzeuge! Very exciting. Thanks for reading/writing!!!

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