Wednesday, January 27, 2021

The Privatization of East Germany

Before the reunification of Germany in 1990 there were over 8,000 state run enterprises in the GDR. The VEB (Volkseigener Betrieb) were publicly owned enterprises which were created after the second world war, during the period when there was a mass national nationalization of the private sector in the then Communist run half of Germany. 

Just before the fall of the Berlin Wall, in 1989 around 80% of East Germans were employed by a VEB. After the reunification of Germany the VEB enterprises were placed in the control of the Treuhandanstalt, an agency which was established to oversee the privatization of these thousands of state owned enterprises. The Treuhand broke up, sold and liquidated these enterprises bringing an end to many well known and established East German products.

What Became of the VEB is an interactive map which plots the fate of the thousands of VEBs in East Germany after the reunification of Germany and the establishment of the Treuhandanstalt. Individual enterprises are shown on the map using circular markers. The size of these markers represent the number of employees of the VEB. If you hover over a circle on the map you can view details of the company, including its name and what to the enterprise after reunification.

If you enter a town or city name into the map you can view an interactive satellite view of the town showing the location of all the local VEB enterprises during the era of the GDR.

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