At first there was joy and euphoria, but for some Germans reunification led to bitterness, not able to understand what they were facing. Egon Krenz, the last leader of the GDR, was jailed for six years over the killing of four people who tried to escape over the wall.
Krenz said: “Now, 20 years later, GDR
citizens who once lived here have the chance to compare. In the GDR
there were achievements we would like to have today: jobs for everyone, an education system from nursery to university, opportunities not linked to the parents’ wallets.”
That opinion is no doubt today shared by other citizens from the former GDR
, who feel they have become like second-class citizens. For one former foreign minister in Germany, this feeling is natural.
Hans Dietrich Genscher said: “The process has to be one that lasts for many years, of course. You can’t correct 40 years of socialist misguided development overnight. That brought about disappointment. Nevertheless the process of domestic unification has come on a lot.”
However, one recent opinion poll showed that 10 percent of Germans would like to turn the clock back on reunification. They condemn smaller incomes, higher unemployment and a big exodus to the West.
Krenz said: “Now, 20 years on, it’s my opinion that Germany, at least socially and mentally, is essentially still divided as before, along the line where the border ran between the two countries.”
More on the Berlin Wall: www.euronews.net/1989-2009
Genscher said: “Of course, it also depends on the generation. I have always found that during my lectures and speeches that younger people have a joint future before their eyes. The divided development of the previous generation doesn’t count for them. “
Many dream of the day when Germans no longer talk about themselves as coming from the East or the West … and for that change, they are looking towards the younger generation.