In the late 1990s, the process of coming to terms with the GDR past was generally perceived as a success both inside and outside Germany. A decade later, criticisms seem to outweigh positive assessments. In particular, critics point to the rosy picture many people - especially among the young - have of the GDR, the relatively low number of convictions of perpetrators, and, not least, the increasingly assertive stance of former servants of the SED regime, ex-Stasi in particular. This essay examines some of the shared presuppositions - and blind spots - in the recent debates both with regard to the East German past and to the process of coming to terms with it. It also offers a brief reassessment of the process of Aufarbeitung, concentrating on questions of justice, democracy-strengthening and social cohesion. The essay concludes that most recent criticisms are overdrawn, especially if one compares the East German experience to that of other post-communist states in the region.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics
- Linguistics and Language
- Literature and Literary Theory