Today is the 29th anniversary of German Reunification. What actually took place on that day in 1990 is slightly more complicated. For one, East Germany formally “acceded” to the territory and constitution of West Germany, rather than two states uniting on equal terms. Whether the latter could actually have happened we will probably never know. We do know that unity is a work in progress, and that many East Germans not only experienced enormous upheaval in the wake of reunification but still feel like second-class citizens. This is one of the questions I explore in my book: what legacies did the 40-year division of the country leave in people’s lives and in society? Here is my post from October 3, 2017, which still rings true. All in all, I would still err on the side of celebration, even if unity is a work in progress. The Peaceful Revolution was an amazing thing and the courage of the protesters continues to inspire me.
And here, for German speakers, an essay by Ferda Ataman in Spiegel Online on another dark side of German Unity – the one fed by people who think “We are the people” means that certain other people are not “the people.” Toward the end she writes “Nobody would be the worse for wear if we looked at history from all angles.” Yes! It may require a modicum of effort, but is that a reason not to do it?