German Democratic Republic, 2 Mark 1978, Berlin

"Why does a suburban train ticket cost 20 pfennigs here and 2 marks in the West? Because here, you have to travel ten times in order to get something." This joke circulated within the German Democratic Republic, the DDR, in the 1970's. Indeed, there was hardly anything to buy in the DDR in those days. Money would have been available, but there were no commodities. At least on first sight – if anybody happened to get marks from the neighboring Federal Republic of Germany, then all kinds of goods were suddenly offered. Because in East Germany, people trusted the DM, and were ready to sell things in exchange for it, which under normal circumstances they rather kept for themselves.