Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License.
"Ostalgie: Revaluing the Past, Regressing into the Future,"
1. A post-unification neologism blending the widely used, infantilized designations for West and East Germans ("Wessis" and "Ossis"), the term "Wossi" is supposed to represent those West Germans who have melted their original "West Germanness" with certain aspects of a now devalued East German identity.
2. All translations from the German are mine.
3. For more detailed critical work on the Treuhand that reveals its overzealous drive toward privatization, its bias toward collective business structures, its sale of property to dubious Western German buyers, and its support of attempts to get rid of East German competition see Jan Priewe, Otto Köhler, Wolfgang Dümke, and Peter Christ.
4. A recent article in a local East German newspaper states that feelings about their second-class status are widespread among East Germans. See "Gefühle von Unterlegenheit."
5. In Becker's novel, Honecker's reinstatement is supported by the new global players China and Brazil who will by the 21st century, from which Becker supposedly writes, have divided the world between themselves with Germany as the designated border. The recreation of the GDR is not resisted by the West, with the exception of a well-organized Turkish army in Kreuzberg.
6. But the West German news coverage about East Germany is as fabricated as the GDR's reporting about West Germany, since it keeps insisting that "the country was still unified [and] the East a landscape that is trying to bloom" (161).
7. See also Gert-Joachim Glaessner for a more in-depth discussion of these processes of elite displacement.
8. As sociologist Andreas Pickel puts it, "there is ample evidence that the actual path followed serves the interests of West German actors, and since similar evidence is available to justify parts of this depiction of colonization, all unfavorable effects of transformation can be explained in terms of a representational bias in favor of West Germans" (64). As a result of the absence of political representation, two-thirds of East Germans believe that the possibility of democratic participation in the unified Germany is not greater than it was in the GDR (Duckenfield 56).
9. According to Andreas Staab, East Germans' initial embracing of Western consumerism bore a striking resemblance to the FRG's economic boom of the 1950s, when a wave of gluttony and consumerism compensated for years of material and consumer privation (146-7).
10. According to Andreas Staab, already in December 1991, almost three-quarters out of a total of 100 surveyed households deliberately chose Eastern over Western products, a sharp rise from 50 percent in December 1990 and 65 percent in mid-1991 (145).
11. As Duckenfield's article shows, such East German defiance on an individual level can also be successful. East German resistance to the abolishment of the green arrow, a GDR traffic rule that allows right turns at red lights, resulted in its re-introduction in the East and its standardization throughout unified Germany.
Becker, Thorsten. Schönes Deutschland [Beautiful Germany]. Berlin: Volk & Welt, 1996.
Boym, Svetlana. Common Places: Mythologies of Everyday Life in Russia. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1994.
Brezan, Jurij. Die Leute von Salow [The People of Salow]. Leipzig: Kiepenheuer, 1997.
Christ, Peter, and Ralf Neubauer. Kolonie im eigenen Land. Die Treuhand, Bonn und die Wirtschaftskatastrophe der fünf neuen Länder [Colony in its Own Country: The Treuhand, Bonn, and the Economic Catastrophe of the five New Länder]. Berlin: Rowohlt, 1991.
Dahn, Daniela. Wir bleiben hier oder Wem gehört der Osten [We Will Remain Here or Who Owns the East]. Hamburg: rororo, 1994.
—. Westwärts und Nicht Vergessen [Westward and Don't Forget]. Berlin: Rowohlt, 1996.
Duckenfield, Mark, and Noel Calhoun. "Invasion of the Western Ampelmännchen." German Politics 6.3 (December 1997): 54-69. doi:10.1080/09644009708404488
Dümcke, Wolfgang, and Fritz Vilmar, eds. Kolonialisierung der DDR. Kritische Analyse und Alternativen des Einigungsprozesses [Colonization of the GDR: Critical Analysis and Alternatives of the Unification Process]. Münster: Agenda, 1995.
Ebenshade, Richard S. "Remembering to Forget: Memory, History, National Identity in Postwar East-Central Europe." Representations 49 (Winter 1995): 72-89. doi:10.1525/rep.19184.108.40.206p0265t
"Gefühle von Unterlegenheit" ["Feelings of Inferiority"]. Mitteldeutsche Zeitung 8 Feb. 1997: 1.
Glaessner, Gert-Joachim. "Regimewechsel und Elitentransfer. Parlamentarisch-politische- und Verwaltungseliten in Ostdeutschland" ["Changes in Regime and Transfer of Elites: Parliamentary-Political and Administrative Elites in East Germany"]. Deutschland Archiv 6 (1996): 849-61.
Hegewald, Wolfgang. Ein obskures Nest [An Obscure Place]. Leipzig: Kiepenheuer, 1997.
Lange. "Was kann man denn schon verändern?" ["What Can One Change Anyway?"]. Die Zeit 10 January 1997: 5.
Misselwitz, Hans-J. Nicht länger mit dem Gesicht nach Westen. Das neue Selbstbewußtsein der Ostdeutschen [No Longer Facing the West: The New Self-Confidence of East Germans]. Bonn: Dietz, 1996.
Pickel, Andreas, and Helmut Wiesenthal. The Grand Experiment: Debating Shock Therapy, Transition Theory and the East German Experience. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1997.
Staab, Andreas. "Testing the West: Consumerism and National Identity in Eastern Germany." German Politics 6.2 (August 1997): 139-149. doi:10.1080/09644009708404478
Stewart, Susan. On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1984.
Szczypiorski, Andrzej. Europa ist unterwegs. Essays und Reden [Europe is on its Way: Essays and Speeches]. Trans. Klaus Staemmler. Zurich: Diogenes, 1996.
Ulbricht, Reinhard. Spur der Broiler. Wir und unser goldener Osten [Trace of Roast Chicken: We and Our Golden East]. Berlin: Rowohlt, 1998.