“NVA field soup”, “school kitchen solyanka” and tomato sauce with a hammer and sickle: the Federal Foundation for the Reappraisal of the SED Dictatorship sees canned food like this as a trivialization of the injustice committed in the GDR. Especially when cans in this design are sold by a large retail chain.

A few days ago, employees of the foundation discovered three products with the GDR state coat of arms in a Rewe market at the Ostbahnhof in Friedrichshain. The director of the foundation, Anna Kaminsky, then asked the Cologne group management how this was compatible with the company’s mission statement of special responsibility towards society.

After all, great injustice and suffering was brought to people in East Germany using these symbols – just think of the building of the Wall. The victims of the communist dictatorship must be remembered with dignity. Kaminsky was referred to the Brandenburg Rewe press office in Teltow, which, according to the foundation, said it was not responsible.

The markets listed such products “at the request of customers,” the reply said. “Packaging and product presentation” would be “the responsibility of the distributor”. The Federal Foundation should therefore contact the suppliers or the judiciary if they see a violation of the law in the products.

Kaminsky sees the answer as an “expression of a lack of history that leaves you stunned because the group shirks any responsibility for its range,” says the director. The cans are not the scandal, but the attitude of the second largest food retailer in Germany.

Rewe spokesman Thomas Bonrath essentially confirms the facts. The foundation was informed that Rewe markets in Berlin and the eastern federal states carried various products “from the suppliers MHV GmbH and Kelles Klädener Suppenmanufaktur GmbH” as optional, regional assortment modules.

In addition, the canned goods mentioned are also available from competitors. “Before the mail from the Federal Foundation, we had never received critical voices about the products.”