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Merkel still hoards after East German upbringing, she says

The Local · 27 Sep 2010, 17:17

Published: 27 Sep 2010 17:17 GMT+02:00

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The 56-year-old German leader told Superillu magazine that she tended to overstock her cupboards "because you used to just get what you could in an economy where things were scarce."

"Sometimes I just buy things because I see them even though I don't really need them at the time," she told the magazine which was founded in East Berlin during the communist era and which specialises in issues facing eastern Germany.

Merkel, who lives in private apartment with her quantum chemist husband in Berlin's city centre, said she also still has a hankering for typical foods in the German Democratic Republic, as the repressive state was known.

Soljanka, a meat and pickled vegetable soup, schaschlik (kebabs) and lecso, a thick Hungarian vegetable stew, are a few of the eastern delicacies Merkel said she still savours.

Merkel said it took her several years to adopt western terms in her vocabulary, long opting to shop at a Kaufhalle, or “shopping hall,” as such stores were known in the east.

"But it occurred to me that since the 15th or 16th year of German unity, the word 'supermarket' has passed my lips more easily," she said.

Story continues below…

Germany on Sunday will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the unification of east and west after 40 years of division, prompted by the fall of the Berlin Wall in a peaceful revolution in November 1989.

East Germany's planned economy was marked by chronic shortages of consumer goods, just one factor feeding its citizens' dissatisfaction with the "Farmers' and Workers' State," as the communist leaders called the country.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

19:19 September 27, 2010 by auniquecorn
The only thing she´s hoarding is that massive amout of money she´s getting.
22:26 September 27, 2010 by Gretl
mlovett - I find my "hoarding" can be explained by a poor memory. "Do I need any of that? I don't remember, but if I already have some, it's OK, we'll eventually use it."
07:14 September 28, 2010 by Garth Rex
Do not be too quick to judge or to criticize those who appear to hoard compulsively: They often do so in response to earlier lives of poverty, hunger, want and deprivation.

Just....thank God that you have never experienced their pain!
09:39 September 28, 2010 by wood artist
This is not particularly surprising. People who grew up in the US during the depression carried the habits they learned throughout their lives, and my parents were both typical. They were slow to adopt credit cards, partly because they grew up carefully considering any purchase, and if you didn't have the money, you didn't buy it. They didn't really hoard, but they were careful about spending money, probably overly so.

It wouldn't surprise me if this is more common than not within the DDR. The desire to seek unique foods is also typical, and my mother used to complain that things she got used to making during WWII weren't available anymore. Usually they were inventions of the moment, because the "real food" wasn't available. I specifically recall a pudding product called Mazo (sp?). It's long gone, but apparently I really loved it as a small child.

13:48 September 28, 2010 by NYsteve
Personally, I try to keep my visits to the brothels to once or twice a month...can't believe Ms. Merkel goes there...OHHH...you said HOARDING".....OH, JEEZ, EXCUSE ME!
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