Which year was a disaster for Germany

The 1986 nuclear reactor disaster: Chernobyl and the GDR

Measured values ​​have been published

On May 3, 1986, the GDR was one of the first states in Europe to publish a table of figures with the radioactivity values ​​in the air in Berlin for the period from April 30 to May 2, 1986. The interpretation of the values ​​was immediately followed by the heading: "Stabilization a low level ". Nobody could do anything with the numbers - the comparative numbers were missing. "We weren't able to classify the values ​​until years later," says Sebastian Pflugbeil. "It was kept secret that the values ​​were around 1,000 times higher in the two days before. It was never added later that they later increased by a factor of 100 again." Citizens of the GDR were also not to learn anything about other measured values. A heavy thunderstorm in the Magdeburg area on the night of May 5th to 6th, 1986 caused radioactive dusts, vapors and aerosols from the atmosphere to get into the ground; Radiation exposure was measured in rainwater, meadow herbs and in the earth that was a thousand times higher than normal. In the Cottbus district, the milk had a level of radioactivity these days that exceeded the permissible limit values ​​by up to 700 percent.

Fruit and vegetables in abundance in the department stores

The shelves in supermarkets were surprisingly full of fruit and vegetables in the spring of 1986. The products were actually intended for export to the Federal Republic of Germany. But nobody wanted them there anymore. But neither in the GDR. People had been warned through western television. Sebastian Pflugbeil has not forgotten his anger, "when the lettuce, which was grown in the area around Berlin and was normally sold for foreign currency in West Berlin, no longer found buyers in the West. Instead, it was found in the department stores in the eastern part of Berlin and, when it was not bought there either, it was used in the lunches of kindergartens and schools. The informed children left the salad, the others ate two or more servings ... "

"Mother always washed the salad"

On June 25, 1986, two months had passed since the Chernobyl disaster, Erich Honecker also prepared to give his GDR citizens expert advice in an interview on how they can best protect themselves against radioactive radiation: "Too We were six children at home and our mother always washed the salad. " In the interview, however, the SED chief also revealed his unease about the development of nuclear power: "I am of the opinion that nuclear power is not the last word."

"Störfall" by Christa Wolf appears

In the spring of 1987, barely a year had passed since the Chernobyl disaster, Christa Wolf's book "Störfall. Nachrichten einer Tag" was published by the Aufbau Verlag in Berlin. And the most amazing thing about it was that it was even allowed to appear in the GDR. "O heaven, radiant azure. According to which laws, how fast does radioactivity spread, favorable and unfavorable. Favorable for whom? And was it at least useful for those living directly at the place of the outbreak if it spread, favored by winds? If did it ascend into the higher layers of the atmosphere and set off as an invisible cloud? In my grandmother's time, the word 'cloud' could not be imagined as anything other than condensed water vapor. White, possibly a more or less beautifully shaped, the imagination stimulating structure in the sky. Hurrying clouds, sailors in the air, who walked with you, who sailed with you ... "

MDR News | 04/24/2020 | 5:45 p.m.