• period: 1950 up to 2000

1950 – 2000

Plan for the construction of Rostock's seaport, 1958 Plan for the construction of Rostock's seaport, 1958

region Mecklenburg

In 1952 Mecklenburg was divided into the districts of Rostock, Schwerin and Neubrandenburg. Political power was exercised by SED district leaders. District councils were administrative organs.

1958 to 1975 the Baltic Sea week of the Baltic Sea countries took place in the district of Rostock. The background was the GDR’s struggle to receive international recognition.

The “coast border brigade” was established in 1958 and, in 1961, part of the “NPA border troops.” The MfS controlled the border crossings and monitored the population.

In 1952 the SED promoted the producers’ cooperatives (LPG). That ended with forced collectivisation in 1960. In 1953 more than 500 hotel and guesthouse owners were dispossessed. There was significant investment in shipbuilding and shipping. The university established a technical shipbuilding faculty. The food industry was established in district towns. The three northern districts were to become “industrial-agricultural districts.” The last remaining private businesses were nationalised in 1973. In 1972 the number of guests in the Baltic region reached the 2 million mark.

The first demonstrations against SED politics took place from 19.10.1989 after prayers for peace. Communal round tables were the first democratic forums. The party landscape changed at the same time. The federal state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania was established in 1990 with Schwerin as the state capital. The CDU led the first two governments. Since then the state premiers have come from the SPD.

Democracy led to a new political culture and personal freedom but also to separation and short-term advantages.

In the market economy the coastal regions with manufacturing trades and thriving tourism and the weak south-easterly region drifted apart. The last GDR People’s Chamber in 1990 re-established private land ownership. The number of people working in agriculture in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania fell to around 75 %. Businesses were taken over by new and returning farmers.

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Historical-technical museum in the former army research station Peenemünde. Opened in 1991 Historical-technical museum in the former army research station Peenemünde. Opened in 1991

region Western Pomerania

The regions of Western Pomerania are incorporated into the districts of Rostock, Neubrandenburg and Frankfurt/Oder in 1952. Power lies with the district and municipal leadership of the SED,

The national shipyard in Stralsund, the Peene yard in Wolgast create a new source of employment. Almost 90 per cent of the fishing and processing vessels are delivered into the Soviet Union. The state-owned chalk works open 1957 in Rügen. Fish processing plants are built in Barth and Sassnitz. Crude oil is extracted in Reinkenhagen near Grimmen since 1960. The ferry terminal in Mukran opens in 1986. Faced with the political transformation in Poland, it secures the merchant shipping routes to the Soviet Union. The VEB foundry and engineering works “Max Matern” is busy in Torgelow.

Over 500 hotel and hostel owners are expropriated in 1953, especially on Rügen. New managers are installed in the facilities. The recreational division at the Free German Trade Union Federation (FDGB) runs flourishing holiday homes, sanatoriums, rehabilitation centres and bungalow settlements. Baltic tourism attracts over three million guests by 1988.

A student strike prevents the conversion of the medical faculty into an academy of military medicine in 1955. But a department of military medicine, operated by the People's National Army (NVA), opens nevertheless. The GDR naval university in Stralsund is named after Karl Liebknecht in 1960.

The church was mistrusted in the GDR. The youth community, with 25,000 members in the north, was discredited as being "subversive" in spring 1953. The Catholic Church in Western Pomerania counts 37,000 believers by 1962. The Evangelical Church of Pomerania calls itself the 'Evangelische Landeskirche Greifswald' after 1968.

From 1958 to 1975, in the district of Rostock, the Baltic Sea Week of the Baltic Sea countries supported the struggle of the GDR for international recognition. In 1984, Erich Honecker receives the Swedish Prime Minister, Olof Palme, in Stralsund.

Full employment, equal rights and social security created a feeling of "being able to survive". Political monitoring was generally blended out. Attempts were made to copy the western way of life.

In the autumn of 1989, Protestant churches were centres of protest against the SED-led GDR. Demonstrations of the New Forum take place after prayers for peace. The first SPD association of the three northern districts forms in Stralsund in 1989. The State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is reconstituted in 1990, and Schwerin is made capital city. Landesverband Vorpommern e.V. unites stakeholders advocating a state of Western Pomerania, but to no avail.

The infrastructure is expanded. Rügenfisch AG and Rügener Badejunge are successful under the umbrella of Rotkäppchen GmbH. Swiss company Omya AG takes over the chalk processing. The shipyards are subsidised. The number of tourists passes the 5-million mark. A growing disparity between the economy of the coastal areas and the weak region in the south-east of Pomerania emerges.

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Exhibits from the period 1950 up to 2000:

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