GDR Society and Social Institutions: Facts and Figures by G. E. Edwards (auth.)

By G. E. Edwards (auth.)

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The weekly creches and residential homes were set up to care for small children from broken homes, orphans, children who had become separated from their parents when the latter left East Germany for the West and those from one-parent families where the parent had difficulty in looking after them. The number of children in such homes varied between 9000 and 10000 in the 1950s but has been dropping since the 1960s and now averages about 4000 per year. l3 3 Creche children in Berlin in the 1980s Creche places and percentage of children under 3 years attending creche 43 Year Total no.

0 who have been iII for a long period. Very few children remain for long in residential homes. Most children who have lost their families are adopted before the age of 3. 45 The other type was the seasonal creche set up in the countryside. These creches were only open during the busiest weeks of the agricultural year. che and Kindergarten, built by volunteers Sachsenbrunn over a two-year period, 1976 In work on the land changed slowly and this has meant that all year round there is employment open to women.

Officially it is felt that a marriage which is clearly unhappy and bad for the partners and their children is immoral and should be dissolved. If children are not involved then a divorce is generally granted very easily. The mechanism of divorce is simple. One of the partners fills in a straightforward form which requires details of employment, education of the children, accommodation and attempts made at reconciliation. The court then requests information from the other partner (Erwiderung zur Ehescheidungsklage) so as to assess how the conflict has come about, whether it is possible to effect a reconciliation and the possible outcome of a divorce for the partners and the education of their children.

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