Ten Years of German Unification: One State, Two Peoples

Ten Years of German Unification: One State, Two Peoples

Ten Years of German Unification: One State, Two Peoples

Ten Years of German Unification: One State, Two Peoples

Synopsis

Joined under one political umbrella for a decade, members of three generations of formerly West and East Germans from all walks of life present the events of the unification and their personal perspectives in interviews. Their vibrant words constitute oral history at its best.

Excerpt

This project gave me an unusual opportunity to establish personal connections, check my prejudices against reality, and modify my dogmatic beliefs--the very tasks required of Germans attempting to fashion their future as a unified people within their unified political entity. The steps I took in the preparation of this text have been deeply healing to me. More accurately, not the steps as such, but the many generous individuals and families I was privileged to meet along the way who confirmed my faith in the existence of a measure of goodness and kindness. Some of these acquaintances have become loving and beloved friends.

These good people have helped me with the internal rupture caused first by Nazi discrimination and denigration, then by my forced emigration from Germany (my country of birth), and finally the anxiety I felt adjusting and adapting to new cultures in Great Britain and the United States.

November 1988, fifty years after Kristallnacht and fifty years after my departure from Germany, the city of Karlsruhe, my husband's hometown, invited its surviving Jewish former citizens and their spouses or companions to participate in a program of commemoration. I used that as an opportunity to seek answers to a recurring question: What had happened to my German schoolmates and playmates during and after the Nazi era? Of course, I realized that I would not find them in Karlsruhe, or probably even in my hometown . . .

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