The daily Berliner Zeitung reported on Friday that 20 years after the joyous scenes of the Berlin Wall being torn down, 49 percent of easterners asked agreed with the statement: “The German Democratic Republic had more good than bad sides. There were a few problems but one could live well there.”
A further eight percent chose the statement: “The GDR had overwhelmingly good sides. One lived there better and happier than today in reunified Germany.”
The result of the survey, conducted by polling company Emnid, disappointed Wolfgang Tiefensee, the government's representative for the reconstruction of eastern Germany.
He called for school education about the politics of the GDR to be improved, telling the paper that the survey results showed: “we cannot allow ourselves to fall behind in the re-examination of GDR history.”
He said he had written a letter to the education ministers of all German states calling on them to ensure that their schools were doing a good enough job teaching children about the former east and the peaceful revolution of 1989-1990.
The survey further showed that Germans from the former west and east, with only 56 percent of those in the former east saying reunification had brought them equality before the law, and the rule of law. Only 37 percent agree with the idea that the influence of individual citizens on politics is a given. And just over half say they are experiencing the increased material wealth they had hoped to have.
Those from the former west are said to see reunification more positively, with 78 percent praising the rule of law and more than half the influence of citizens.
Westerners were not asked about the enormous amounts of money that has been poured into the east, among other things, via the solidarity part of income tax.