Merkel defends her East German past

Merkel defends her East German past
Photo: DPA
In the ongoing German debate about the legacy of the GDR, Chancellor Angela Merkel has roundly condemned the former communist regime while defending her membership in communist youth organisation the Freie Deutsche Jugend (FDJ).

“The GDR was built on injustice. It could never have become a constitutional state,” Merkel said on Tuesday in an interview for the ARD TV show Menschen bei Maischberger. “My nostalgia for socialism is non-existent,” she added, before saying that former GDR leader Erich Honecker had been “committed to the dictatorship of the working class.”

Merkel’s statements were made partly in response to the intimations of Oskar Lafontaine, leader of the hard-line socialist Left party, who said that Merkel had been complicit in the regime in her youth. Lafontaine claimed in a recent interview that Merkel’s position in the FDJ as a functionary for propaganda and agitation could only have been occupied by a “convinced young Communist.”

Merkel shot back that Lafontaine should stop such “schematization.”

“These black and white discussions do not help,” she said, emphasing that in the GDR she had been a scientist, a member of the FDJ, and had “accepted compromises.”

She said that she had always made clear that “there were certainly activists who fought against the system more than me.”

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