GDR Santa

So, I’ve updated the annual be kitschig Christmas post with the mask of GDR Santa but just in case you have missed it, here is the DDR Weihnachtsmann for Wordless Wednesday.

GDR Santa Clause Nikolaus DDR Weihnachtsmann be kitschig blog
DDR Weihnachtsmann-Maske

The avid reader of this blog knows, I will always respect copy right laws and I just wasn’t able to find a decent photo of GDR Santa. The wonderful VEB Orange in Berlin Prenzlauer Berg took a photo of an old DDR Weihnachtsmann mask for me and also pointed out the painting in the window. VEB Orange specializes in goodies from the 70s and 80s, especially from the former GDR. If you are looking for orange vintage things, this is the place to go!

ddr weihnachtsmann maske GDR Santa Nikoluas be kitschig blog
DDR Weihnachtsmarkt

See, my childhood memories are not really in black and white. There just seemed to be less color back then. This painting was part of the window display with lots of TV Towers in front of it. You still see the jest of it. Green branches? No. Christmas lights? No. Happy people? No. What you do get is a Santa that could easily play Hannibal Lecter.

What makes the GDR Santa so scarry?

Well, they really didn’t have an easy time with religious holidays in the DDR and the shortage of pretty much everything didn’t help much during Christmas season. With a full mask, anyone could pass as Santa. With only two tiny slits for eyes, most kids wouldn’t even recognize their closest neighbour. Oh, those eyes …

Weihnachten in der DDR be kitschig blog berlin

That is why I used to hide behind the oven on Christmas Eve. By the way, childhood trauma like this may lead to heortophobia, the fear of holidays, or even Christougenniatikophobia, the fear of Christmas. Comes complete with the fear of opening gifts, doronophobia, as well as the fear of snow, chionophobia, although we don’t seem to get that in Berlin these days …

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15 thoughts on “GDR Santa

    1. There are entire books dedicated to Christmas in the GDR. They really tried to get rid off it but gave up eventually. The German words they made up are pretty special. If you were lucky, you got some Bückware for Jahresendfest.

      1. Which does prove how resilient any culture is… Buddhism in PRC. The Orthodox Church in Russia. I had to look up Bückware. Got it. Jahresendfest is New Year’s Eve, right? Tschüss. 😉

      2. Oh sorry, let me clarify. Bückware meant that someone had to bend down to grab it, which means not the customer but the sales person because that product was hidden under the cash register, like a can of pinapple. Jahresendfest was supposed to replace Christmas, cause you just cannot say THAT word. There was a word for angel decorations, Jahresendflügelfigur (end of the year wing figurine) but it is believed that people in the GDR only used the term ironically. Salut!

      3. Bück is to bend, right? Read about it. It’s like “under the counter.” A whole concept. Like queuing for days to buy toothpaste…
        And recently, the Venezuelan Minister of Health said in an interview, about toothpaste shortage, that it was not necessary to brush your teeth 3 times a day. That it was a capitalist scheme… Sigh.

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