Life in Communist East Germany was 'almost comfortable' at times, Merkel says




Life in Communist East Germany was
Life in Communist East Germany was 'almost comfortable' at times, Merkel says  

BERLIN (Reuters) - Life in the Communist-ruled German Democratic Republic (GDR) was simpler and sometimes could be "almost comfortable in a certain way", Chancellor Angela Merkel, who grew up in the former East, told Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

In an interview with the German daily released ahead of Saturday's 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Merkel said western Germany had a "rather stereotypical notion" of the East.

There are a lot of people, she said, "who simply had a hard time understanding that there was a difference between the GDR state and the individual life of the GDR citizens."

"I've been asked if you could be happy in the GDR, and if you could laugh. Yes, and myself and many others attached great importance to being able to look (ourselves) in the mirror each day, but we made compromises," she said.

"Many people didn't want to escape every day or get imprisoned. This feeling is difficult to convey."

Born in Hamburg in 1954, Merkel moved with her family to East Germany as a baby when her father, Horst Kasner, was offered a job as a pastor there. She grew up in Templin, a small town north of Berlin surrounded by rolling hills and picturesque lakes.

Although her father belonged to a wing of the Protestant church that worked with, not against, the political system, the family was viewed as suspect by the Communist authorities because of his religious role.

The fall of the wall, which had divided East and West Germany in Berlin for nearly three decades and became a potent symbol of the Cold War, was followed a year later by the reunification of Germany.

Reflecting on the time it has taken Germany's east to adjust to reunification, Merkel told the Sueddeutsche: "The efforts of freedom, to have to decide everything, have to be learned."

"Life in the GDR was sometimes almost comfortable in a certain way, because there were some things one simply couldn't influence," she added.


(Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Frances Kerry)

COMMENTS

More Related News

Havertz dropped from Germany squad because of injury
Havertz dropped from Germany squad because of injury

BERLIN (AP) -- Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Kai Havertz has been ruled out of Germany's European Championship qualifiers due to a left thigh injury.

The Berlin Wall Is Gone, but Its Lessons Remain
The Berlin Wall Is Gone, but Its Lessons Remain

The Berlin Wall stood for 28 years until in 1989 a wave of citizen protest forced the East German Communist government to open its gates. We've now gone longer without the Berlin Wall than it existed.As we marked the anniversary, on November 9, of its demise, I couldn't help but recall with wonder how astonishingly quickly the ugly scar of the wall along with its guards, dogs, and mines were all swept away in a wave of euphoria.I visited the Berlin Wall and crossed into East Germany several times during the 1980s while I worked at the Wall Street Journal. I will never forget the brave dissidents I met on the Eastern side who never accepted the wall, or the bureaucrats who ran the state...

Germany
Germany's ruling parties OK pension reform to help women

Germany's governing parties agreed Sunday to reform the country's pension system, setting aside an ideological dispute that had threatened to unravel the coalition government. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the head of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right Christian Democratic Union, said that the parties had found common ground "after long negotiations" on the question of topping up the pensions of low-paid people who have worked for at least 35 years. Malu Dreyer, interim leader of the center-left Social Democrats, said the agreement would benefit up to 1.5 million retirees, mostly women.

Germany spoil the party for England women
Germany spoil the party for England women's record home crowd

Klara Buhl's late goal gave Germany a 2-1 friendly win over World Cup semi-finalists England on Saturday to send home a record crowd for a Lionesses home match disappointed. Buhl struck with less than a minute remaining on the clock in front of an attendance of 77,768. Alexandra Popp had given

'No wall can't be broken down.' Germany marks 30 years since the collapse of the Berlin Wall

Chancellor Angela Merkel says history proves that barriers to freedom cannot stand as she and Germany mark 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Latin America