Life in East Germany After the Wall

by Davit Gasparyan

On February 21, IES and GHI West were honored to welcome Kerstin Brückweh for an engaging talk titled “The Longue Durée of 1989: Regime Change and Everyday Life in East Germany.” An author and editor, Brückweh lectures at the University of Tübingen, Germany, and is currently a fellow at the Max Weber Centre for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies. Her presentation centered on the historic fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the unification of Germany.

Brückweh addressed the 1989 phenomenon in an analytical manner. She described the long-term developments surrounding and driving the event, which she chose to divide in three important stages: the late phase of the German Democratic Republic, the peaceful revolution, and the transformation that followed. In addition to touching on the stages and developments leading up to and following 1989, Brückweh also emphasized the role of property. She discussed the perceptions and concepts of property which had existed before the GDR and were unaffected by official politics. The ideology and practices present in the GDR did, however, alter property relations, which would then shape life in the united Germany. The lecture was followed by a lively Q&A with the 20 students, faculty, and community members in attendance.