Free Markets, Free People

East Germany’s Gone – Boo Hoo

You have to read this one to believe it.  Bruni de la Motte, a child of the GDR, tells us how hard life has been for her since the fall of the Berlin Wall.  The irony is that while she tries to convince of all that was good and wonderful about her former homeland, she never mentions the fact that if she’d have written a whine like this while a citizen of the GDR we’d most likely not even know she ever existed.  Nothing like romanticizing a terror state.


On 9 November 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down I realised German unification would soon follow, which it did a year later. This meant the end of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), the country in which I was born, grew up, gave birth to my two children, gained my doctorate and enjoyed a fulfilling job as a lecturer in English literature at Potsdam University. Of course, unification brought with it the freedom to travel the world and, for some, more material wealth, but it also brought social breakdown, widespread unemployment, blacklisting, a crass materialism and an “elbow society” as well as a demonisation of the country I lived in and helped shape. Despite the advantages, for many it was more a disaster than a celebratory event.

The demonization of the country? It had demonized itself for decades. It had to build a freaking wall to keep people in. Not only in Berlin but around the entire country. But of course the political elite suffered far fewer depredations than did the rank and file citizenry. They could complain about the West’s “crass materialism” because, for the most part, they could get most of what they wanted. For the rest of the citizenry, not so much. However, there was no “blacklisting” in the GDR – she’s right about that. Instead, people just disappeared. And I’m sure she was very pleased with the order brought by the Stasi and the fact that spying and reporting on your neighbor was a national pass time.

Ah the good old days.

She rambles on for a number of paragraphs ending with this:

Since the demise of the GDR, many have come to recognise and regret that the genuine “social achievements” they enjoyed were dismantled: social and gender equality, full employment and lack of existential fears, as well as subsidised rents, public transport, culture and sports facilities. Unfortunately, the collapse of the GDR and “state socialism” came shortly before the collapse of the “free market” system in the west.

Of course there was no social equality – Ms. de la Motte belonged to a powerful elite. Gender equality still exists but you’re graded on your merit, something she appears not to appreciate at all. And full employment was a farce to say the very least. If they lacked “existential fears” then they must have been members of the Stasi because the rest of the country had an abiding existential fear of the state secret police. And of course, not understanding that the “free market” hasn’t “collapsed”, one can’t expect her to understand that her “subsidized rents” etc, are precisely what led to the collapse of “state socialism”.

Yes, the late and unlamented (except for the elite who benefited from its existence) GDR is dead.

Cry me a river.



11 Responses to East Germany’s Gone – Boo Hoo

  • People on the left are stupid.  Who knew 🙂

  • It figures she’s a literature professor.  No doubt was exposed to more communism through her professional affiliation than her former citizenship.

  • Interesting that she uses the English abbreviation…
    Perhaps the fact that I lived in the BDR for five years causes me to always refer to East Germany as the DDR.

  • Its marxist historical revisionism.  She may very well know she’s ‘stretching’ the truth, but its for the greater good.

  • This is just another example of the left’s congenital inability to face up to the realities of communism. One of my favorite entries about that was a book review in Reason Magazine a few years back:

    In 1983 the Indiana University historian Robert F. Byrnes collected essays from 35 experts on the Soviet Union — the cream of American academia — in a book titled After Brezhnev. Their conclusion: Any U.S. thought of winning the Cold War was a pipe dream. “The Soviet Union is going to remain a stable state, with a very stable, conservative, immobile government,” Byrnes said in an interview, summing up the book. “We don’t see any collapse or weakening of the Soviet system.”
     Barely six years later, the Soviet empire began falling apart. By 1991 it had vanished from the face of the earth. Did Professor Byrnes call a press conference to offer an apology for the collective stupidity of his colleagues, or for his part in recording it? Did he edit a new work titled Gosh, We Didn’t Know Our Ass From Our Elbow? Hardly. Being part of the American chattering class means never having to say you’re sorry. 

    The left goes on a lot about how compassionate they are, but for all of that, they seem to utterly lack empathy for anyone who isn’t exactly like them. This woman just doesn’t care that the Stasi was a vicious secret police, or have any concern for the people they arrested and left to rot. Hey, she had her job in the nomenklatura, so who cares about those proles, eh?

  • I figured this out a while back. The left doesn’t like the rat race of life. They think that the right actually enjoys the rat race and wants to force them to be in it. They don’t get it that everybody doesn’t like the rat race part of life, but there is not a better choice.

  • “a fulfilling job as a lecturer in English literature at Potsdam University”

    That explains it, I think. Another professor.

    “a crass materialism”

    I wonder how much she paid for her black market blue jeans. More probably, as a member of the Nomenklatura, she bought hers at a discount in the stores reserved for her and her peers.

    “country I lived in and helped shape.”

     Amazing blind arrogance.

    ” blacklisting”

    Right . No blacklisting in the Soviet Bloc. Reminds me of the story about the liberal who couldn’t understand how Nixon won since everyone she knew voted against him. Noone Bruni was acquainted with was ever blacklisted, or ever met anyone who was.
    And of course if there had been she would have read about it in her newspaper or seen it on the official television news.

    Pardon me while I go vomit.

  • Ah, the good old days. Just one shining example of days gone by;

    “….Used Trabants would often fetch a higher price than new ones, as the former were available immediately, while the latter had the aforementioned waiting period of at least ten years.””

    • Actually Tim, the waiting time for a trabant was normally 5 years-10 years. If you ‘knew someone’ you could get it down to about 3 years.  Where are you getting your information from??

  • Your article is a bit uninformed: maternity rights and child care were actually one of the reasonable benefits of the former GDR. Plus, they didn’t really have a crime problem per se. No one in the west would want the limitations on travel or speech that existed the in the GDR, but the women you quote is correct in citing the educational benefits: if you got into college it was free. When I looked at Boston Univ. when considering a Masters degree I figured that 2 years, including housing, food and living costs would run me the princely sum of $98,000 US dollars. I chose to pass it up.

    I also see that you lack knowledge of their culture: the ‘elbow society’ refers not just to capitalism but the profound differences in the cultures of East and West Germans that persist until today (Perhaps you could benefit from some free education as well?). The two countries were separate from 1945-1990 and East Germans lived in a one party state (NDSAP and later the SED) for over 56 years. I probably know more of the Stasi than I would like to but they were not the Gestapo or even the KGB for that matter. All East Germans were used to making compromises just to get by in the society and the Stasi were not as ever-present as you believe. 

    However, your rants sound more like the uninformed and alienated 19 year olds in the East German countryside that are left out of the reunification economy than one of a sound mind.