Project

Collective Memory and the Social Situation of the Politically Persecuted

Goal: Aufarbeitung

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Ronald Gebauer
added 6 research items
The Costs and Benefits of German Reunification: Still, there is a widespread concern with the costs of the German reunification. Already before the fall of the Berlin wall economists warned against the consequences of a rapid accession of East Germany to the Federal Republic. Indeed, the hardships of this process were felt severly by the East German population. Unemployment rates went up to double-digit percentages and for many mostly young people migration to the West seemed to be the one and only alternative. Additionally, inspite of the direction of billions of Euros of federal expenditures into the East German Länder signs of an economic recovery were not visible for years. And as if that were not enough, even in 2020 economic dependency still continues and will even continue in the subsequent years. However, (and for many somehow surprisingly) this dismal perspective overlooks the fact, that the economic balance sheet of German unity is positive. Contributing to this fact are the enormous revenues from people who went to the − in economical terms − better-off West German regions. Moreover, Germany no longer has to spend money in order to pay for the division of the country (e.g. paying for freeing political prisoners in East Germany, costs of the maintenance of West-Berlin, expenditures related to the Ministry of Inter-German Relations etc.). Last but not least the fall of the Berlin wall also paved the way for a peaceful development, making it possible to cut military related expenditures. Taking all known costs and benefits into account we conclude that German reunification was well worth the effort and we estimate that the benefits exceed the costs by about 880 bn Euro.
Ronald Gebauer
added a project goal
Aufarbeitung
 
Ronald Gebauer
added a research item
More than twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, East and West Germans share equal civil rights. However, among East Germans, certain aspects of the communist system are still remembered positively. Shortcomings and injustices of communist hegemony are thereby blocked out. In contrast, victims of communist repression cannot forget the suffering inflicted upon them. The contribution focuses on both the rehabilitation and compensation of victims and the acceptance of this process. In 2007 the Jena Center of Empirical Social and Cultural Research (JEZE) collected a survey of more than 300 interviews with applicants on rehabilitation and additionally conducted oral history interviews with affected people in Thuringia. The results of the analysis of these data show that younger and older generations of victims are especially disadvantaged in their social and health situation in comparison to the Thuringian population that was not victimized in the past. Despite of these drawbacks, victims try to integrate and to participate in public life. Yet, how does the public perceive the victims of the communist past today? In order to find out more about the acceptance of the process of rehabilitation and compensation within Thuringia's population results of the applicants' study will be confronted with an analysis of a telephone survey of 'ordinary' Thuringian citizens.