The museum was opened in 2006 and it is situated in a huge industrial building from the 1970’s, an example of the socialist architecture in East Germany. The exhibition spreads on four floors and covers over 3 500 m². The museum shows 60 000 exhibit items and 140 vehicles. It is the biggest permanent exhibition of life in the East Germany.
East Germany, formally the German Democratic Republic or GDR (German DDR), was a state in the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War period. From 1949 to 1990, it administered the region of Germany that was occupied by Soviet forces at the end of World War II—the Soviet Occupation Zone of the Potsdam Agreement, bounded on the east by the Oder–Neisse line.
The economy was centrally planned, and increasingly state-owned. Although the GDR had to pay substantial war reparations to the USSR, it became the most successful economy in the Eastern Bloc. Nonetheless it did not match the economic growth of West Germany. Emigration to the West was a significant problem—as many of the emigrants were well-educated young people, it further weakened the state economically. The government fortified its western borders and, in 1961, built the Berlin Wall. Many people attempting to emigrate were killed by border guards or booby traps.