• Germany's news in English

East-west divide between Germans remains strong

DPA/The Local · 12 Jul 2009, 12:23

Published: 12 Jul 2009 12:23 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Klaus Schroeder said, “The prejudices are not being reduced, but have become solidified and have in part even become greater.”

And this is not only to be seen among those who experienced the days East and West Germany, he said.

“The animosities are, in many families, being passed on to the younger generations,” he said.

Both sides have prejudices about the other. “If you pick out the key elements of the reservations, the West Germans believe that the East Germans are permanently in a negative mood, that they whine a lot and cannot or will not really work. The East Germans think the West Germans – simply put – are egoistic, pushy and superficial.”

He said the difficulty was the current political and economic debates make both sides feel justified in their preconceptions.

History is constantly being bent to fit the idea that things used to be better – in the west as well as in the east, he said. “West-nostalgia is now overtaking that for the east,” he said.

“It is not popular to admit it in public, but many West Germans are now saying, “Before 1989, without the East Germans, it was better, we were doing better.” He said that a study conducted last year by the polling company Allensbach confirmed this.

Story continues below…

One of the roots of this problem is that the politicians had promised the West Germans that unification would not cost them any money, he suggested. “This was a central mistake.”

“They should have told the West Germans clearly at the time, “Unification will cost a lot of money – it is the result of the long years of division, and we have to show solidarity.” And the East Germans should have been told, “Things will get better for you quickly, but complete equality will take longer than one would like due to the different starting points.”

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Parents who don't get nursery spot for kid entitled to pay
Photo: DPA

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled on Thursday that parents whose children don't receive placements in nursery care are entitled to compensation.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd