Höchster Kreisblatt, Monday, November 13th, 1989, p. 3


The new shopping paradise for Leipzig, Plauen, Zwickau

This is an English summary. The full article is only available in German. By Peter Schmalz

This is an exceptional day in Hof, a small town near the inner-German border in Bavaria, because the town has never seen so many people walking its streets on the same day.

The town has 52,300 citizens, and at 6 o'clock p.m. the welcome money for GDR tourists had been paid out 40,000 times. Many GDR tourists do not really understand why they are presented with the sum of DM 100 just for visiting.

The reasons may be found in the Western Germany constitution, but to practically bring in all the bank notes is a different problem. Around noon, payments had to be frozen for a short time, and new bank notes had to be ordered from the regional bank.

However, most of the money stays in town, exchanged for various goods.

Late in the morning, cars are banned from the city centre to make room for all the tourists. Shop opening rules have been relaxed by the government, and most shops stay open.

Many shops had supply chain problems because they cannot order new stock before monday.

The weekend shopping spree almost failed due to a lack of change, but after local radio station broadcast an S.O.S. to local banks, enough coins were able for circulation.

People and small businesses in Hof are now hoping for better times - their location near the border was too remote to attract many tourists before.

Maybe a dream has come true for a yong man exchanging addresses with a blonde he met on a shopping trip. "Maybe we'll meet in the East sometime!" - "Sure, if it becomes as easy for you guys to visit us..."

  Frederik Ramm, 2001-07-22