Telephone numbers in the German Democratic Republic

German Democratic Republic telephone numbers
CountryGerman Democratic Republic
NSN length8
Typical format002-xxx xxxx (Berlin)[1]
0xxx-xx xxxx
Access codes
Country calling code+37
International call prefix06
Trunk prefix0 (actually 0X)

Before German reunification, West Germany (including West Berlin) used country code +49 and East Germany used country code +37, each with its separate area codes and telephone networks. Calls between the two countries required international dialling, 0037 to call East Germany from West Germany,[2] and 0649 from East Germany to West Germany.[3] For incoming international calls, the second digit of the "canonical" area code (0 or 9) had to be omitted - e.g. while Leipzig's national prefix was 0941, its international prefix was +3741; Dresden's 0051 was +3751.

On 1 June 1992, all area codes were brought under the +49 code.[4] This had been introduced on 15 April, with the old and new codes running in parallel.[5] East Berlin's 002 area code had already been brought under the 030 (the former West Berlin) area code.[3] All area codes (except Berlin's) had the second digit (0 or 9) into the "canonical" code replaced by 3 (e.g. Erfurt's former 0061 (globally +37-61) area code[6] became 0-361 or globally +49-361).[7] In places, the code was changed entirely.

The +37x prefix was then freed up to be used by many of the newly independent states which were created following the collapse of the Soviet Union, which had previously used that country's +7 code (e.g. Lithuania adopted the code +370).[8] Some European microstates which had previously used the networks of the countries surrounding them also took on +37x codes, for example, Monaco adopted +377, replacing the code +33, which it had shared with France.[9]

Canonical numbers and meshnet shortcuts

The East German telephone network did not only consist of a strictly hierarchic star topology, but had additional meshnet links connecting (usually neighbor) areas directly. Thus each area had one "canonical" prefix (00x... or 09x..., with x denoting the district, e.g. 005... for Saxony) involving the central offices and a number of shortcut prefixes 02... through 05... bypassing those and reducing toll.

E.g. Zwickau had the canonical prefix 0074 (+37-74), but had different "shortcut" prefixes" from other areas, valid only in those - e.g. 036 from East Berlin. These "shortcuts" were not ported to the West German numbering plan.[10]


Because both "Germanies" did not see any part of Berlin as "foreign country", both parts of Berlin had special prefixes for each other: West Berliners could call East Berliners (from DDR 002-... or +37-2-...) with the prefix 0372 (just like another city/area, instead of 00-37-2) while East Berliners could call West Berliners (from BRD 0311-... or +49-311-...) with the prefix 8-49-... (like a local number, instead of 06-49-311-...).[10]


  1. ^ IUPAC Handbook, Pergamon Press, 1987, page 2
  2. ^ DDR: ein Reisebuch in den Alltag, Per Ketman, Andreas Wissmach, Rowohlt, 1986, page 419
  3. ^ a b Vorwahl — Wenn ja, wie viele?, Tageszeitung, 16 April 1992
  4. ^ Alte Auslandsvorwahl der DDR gilt weiter, Neues Deutschland, 11 March 1992
  5. ^ Neue Nummern für FNL, Tageszeitung, 15 April 1992
  6. ^ Eastern Europe: a directory and sourcebook, 1992, Euromonitor Publications Limited Euromonitor, 1992, page 241
  7. ^ Supplement to the Official Journal of the European Communities, Volume 39, Issues 113-119, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 1996, page 16
  8. ^ Eastern Europe with the Baltic Republics: On the Loose, on the Cheap, Off the Beaten Path, Jewlia Eisenberg, Fodor's Travel Publications, 1996, page 60
  9. ^ Hydrographic Review, Volume 73, International Hydrographic Bureau, 1996, page 179
  10. ^ a b de:Telefonvorwahl (DDR)

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