Having DDR backWednesday, January 17, 2007 at 15:45 | Posted in Germany, History | 4 Comments
Thomas has a survey asking if you would like to have DDR back. Younger people outside Germany probably do not know what the heck he is talking about. If you Google for DDR, you get back results that I have no idea what they stand for. The first four returns seem to have something to do with dancing.
I am old enough to have visited what I know as DDR. It was then called the German Democratic Republic although the style of regime was rather Russian than German. The government was dictatorial so calling it a republic is somewhat exaggerated and it was certainly not democratic.
I was there twice. The first time was 1979 as I was serving as the vice chairman of the municipal Youth Board in Helsinki. That was the very body that got famous allover the World for allegedly banning Donald Duck. I was involved with that decision, I hate to admit.
In 1979, the city government of East Berlin had invited a delegation of the city government of Helsinki to visit East Berlin. The city government delegated the visit to the Youth Board which was hosted by high ranking officials in East Berlin. While our hosts obviously did their utmost to present the city to us from its best sides, we would have had to be blind not to notice that the life in the state of workers and farmers was very far from democracy.
The second time I was in East Germany (actually many times during one visit to Berlin) was on days before and during Christmas 1989. The Berlin wall had collapsed just weeks earlier and I was right there as the Brandenburg Gate was officially opened. I am never going to forget the feeling of joy in both sides of the wall those historical days. I am also never going to experience such genuine feeling of Christmas again which is one of the reasons for not celebrating the holidays.
So if you ask me if I would like to experience again what I experienced in East Germany on Christmas 1989, I would say yes if it were possible. But having DDR back? No thanks if I can escape. I just had to see it once, millions of peole spent all or most of their lives there. So I voted no in Thomas’s survey.