Since the nineteenth century, cleanliness and hygiene have played an integral role in the construction of bourgeois subjectivity and notions of self-governance in Europe. Drawing on this reservoir of potential signification, the spread of a mass consumer society in the twentieth century has capitalized on commodified images of health, hygiene, and cleanliness, while the maintenance and representation of clean bodies for modern men and women became virtually inseparable from consumption. The Nazis both accelerated and gave a racial spin to the idea of a clean, healthy body as the symbol of racially superior, socially productive, and sexually virile Aryans. Whether commodified and sexualized under consumerism or channeled into a murderous project under the Nazis, hygienic and healthy bodies became the object of pleasure and a signifier of superior social and racial identity. When these considerations are taken into account, it is important to inquire into the problems faced by the founding fathers of the GDR with regard to questions of health and consumption. The vision of the socialist “New Man” and the ideal of pure and healthy living that were so frequently invoked in the early years of the GDR must be seen as attempts to forge a positive identity for the new socialist state while avoiding the twin ideological dangers posed by the memory of Nazi racial policies and the implicit connections made between health, consumption, and freedom in the pluralistic consumer society to the west.