ppa

ppa is an abbreviation for the Latin “per procura”, which translates into “in Vollmacht” in Germany.  In English, one might say “on behalf of”.

Whilst it is common in English-speaking countries to see a letter signed with “p.p.” by a secretary, in Germany the letters ppa are used in front of the signature of a person in the company who holds the title of “Prokurist”.  This is usually someone who represents the management, eg. in a limited company (GmbH).

The Prokurist can approve payments, and many other things that are normally only carried out by the highest management.  What he or she can do exactly, is usually agreed in a special contract.  eg. represent the company in court or hire and fire employees.

Other common abbreviations are i.V. (in Vollmacht) and i.A. (im Auftrag), which are used by normal employees to show which role they have in signing a document.  i.A. is the most common, one example of usage being a simple letter to a customer.

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SED

SED stands for the Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands.  It was the official political party of the German Democratic Republic and was originally formed through the union of the East German social democrats and the communist party.

Its role as effectively the only party in East Germany was anchored in the GDR’s constitution.

After the fall of the Berlin wall, the SED was renamed into the SED-PDS and then simply into PDS: Partei der Demokratischen Sozialismus.  In 2005 they changed their name to Die Linkspartei, and in 2007 they converged with another party to form Die Linke.

Die Linke have received sufficient votes in some states – even western states – to have seats in local parliaments.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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FDJ

FDJ stands for Freie Deutsche Jugend and was the youth movement of the German Democratic Republic (DDR).

Although membership was voluntary, non-members often suffered pressure and discrimination and so around 80% of people between the ages of 14 and 25 were members.

Although closely associated with East Germany, the FDJ originally had branches in the western zones, before it was outlawed in the Federal German Republic (West Germany) in 1951.  In fact, its earlier roots were not in Germany at all, rather in Prague, Paris and London in the 1930s.

Today there are still FDJ groups in Germany, although membership numbers are much lower than they were before reunification.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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