Angela Merkel’s speech on the Day of Unity surprised observers from Europe: Merkel cleared up the decades-long mantra that German unity would automatically have been followed by successful integration. Merkel gave two examples: once it was said of her that her East German history was “ballast” from a West German perspective, another time a journalist described her as a “trained” West German and even accused her of not being able to fully understand herself as an East German identify their state.
This is strong stuff. The Chancellor didn’t have to mourn her GDR past somewhere in a shabby suburb. As Chancellor, she enjoyed all the convenience of the second highest office in the state. Your feeling of strangeness, consciously addressed at the end of your term of office, is not a bad mood, but reveals a real hurt. It’s not just her like that: Many East Germans have seen their biographies, their experience and their achievements suddenly become “ballast”.
History of the East Germans as a valuable lesson
The options that a West German condescension, well-known in the world, gave them seemed opportunism, humble silence and, if necessary, a memorandum on election day. But it is just unjust, and that is exactly what Merkel has now rebelled against, wanting to contain the Ostler in this way.
Angela Merkel also said in her last-minute confession that the history of the East Germans in particular – life with a radical disruption – holds important and positive lessons for the future. This realization is the legacy of the first female Chancellor from the East who showed the sober, friendly face of another Germany and made history in this way.