Thirty years ago, today, on 3 October 1990, Germany became a reunited nation. At least on paper. The reunification was a day that showed 329 days after the fall of the wall on 9 November 1989 that people were able to fight for their freedom without using one single weapon. The only “weapon” the people had were their feet, some signs, and a light some of them were holding when they marched peacefully through towns and places to show that all they wanted was being free. 

It was a memorable day and one that paved the way for many stories and that put an end to so many tragedies and losses. At least that is, what one could think. But to be honest not everything is all sunshine and flowers. Even after thirty years, Germany is not the perfect state and some of those who live in the east part of Germany still don´t feel like one united nation. 

The truth is, there is still a pay gap between East and West. No matter if you are working or a retiree, you are not getting the same money as one who works or is a retiree in the West. There is still a gap in equality. I don´t know why that is, but I feel ashamed when I hear from a person who was born and raised in the East, that the second they come to the West, no matter where they not only hear that they are different they are also made different. They don´t feel different because they aren´t but the West makes them dissimilar. People in the West have even today a certain kind of picture and understanding of how or what the East is or how something from the East has to look like or to be. It is also a fact that those who have a town in the East in her/ his vita don´t make the same career as one who was born in the West.  

It is also a sad fact that most of the West does not know much about the famous DDR (GDR) people. Yes, I know some actresses and actors who had started their careers in the DDR (GDR) and were able to continue their careers very successfully after the reunification. And there are some politicians who made it in the West too. But most faces are unfamiliar to me and even today, when one of those people dies, you won´t really find a report or article in the news or a newspaper that is edited by an agency in the West. Because they don´t matter to the West. I regret that. Because even if the west people don´t have a history with them, those people matter and those who live in the East have a connection to them. 

One of those more or less famous figures is Günter Schabowski. The man, who declared the opening of the wall due to a misunderstanding. His press conference on 9 November 1989 is legendary although he kind of vanished after that day from the public stage. I admit it, I only think of him when the German Unity Day nears, and I have to do some research for a blog post. His face just does not stick to my mind although I watched his press conference live on television with my parents. But you see what I mean, do you?!

There are many good things too in connection with the reunification of Germany. I see it every time I step into my supermarket and go to the candy area. The Halloren pralines. They are tiny and not as sweet as all the other pralines but so delicious. They only have a thin layer of chocolate (unlike all the in the West produced sweet temptations) and that for a good reason. During DDR (GDR) times, chocolate was a rare and precious good. The company that created and produced them just couldn´t afford or get the amount of chocolate they would have needed to give their pralines a second layer. Therefore, they only have one layer and not only those. Every other sweet produced in the DDR tastes different and is different (both in a good way!) from the sweet stuff, I mainly grew up with. The shortage of material during the DDR regime is one of the reasons why some, who grew up in the East still don´t like their sweet stuff to be too sweet. 

Something else that is a fact is, that even after thirty years on, Germany is not really united. On paper yes, and geographically too. But not in the heads of the people. Some still mourn the downfall of the DDR (GDR) because it was not a unification or accession that was a build-out of the best each side, East. and West had to offer. It was more of a takeover or annexation. The West has literally swallowed the DDR (GDR), or as you could put it also, integrated the DDR (GDR) into the capitalist system of the BRD (Federal Republic of Germany). The East had to adapt to Western standards and that continues until today. The people from the West still pay what is called “Soli” (Solidarity tax) a certain amount of money to rebuild the East part of the country. Every month it is shown on the payroll. And a constant reminder that not everything is all sunshine and flowers, to use those words again when it comes to East and West. 

No doubt, Germany has some beautiful landscapes. And some of them you can find when you travel to the East. There are areas that look like you are in the countryside but when you look at a map, you find out that you are still inside a huge town. The area that once was called the death zone, where once were the barbed wire fences and soldiers shooting people (they did their job and followed their orders, as sad as it sounds) who tried to escape to West-Berlin is now a huge green park where you can watch artists and where the line between East and West vanished. Not only geographically but in the heads of those who enjoy some quality time there too. Yes, some of us don´t see East and West anymore. We see a united nation that works most of the time very well. Unfortunately, not all the time. And not everywhere. There is a certain political group that has come to power during the past years because not all the people who live and work in the East are happy or at peace with what the government decides or does.

Another thing I see as a positive one is, that with the German Unity Day and what had happened in the weeks and months before that day, a folk showed the world that not always is a bloody war and weapons necessary to come together again. I will never forget the moment when I saw in the news the pictures of all those people climbing a part of the Berlin wall or who were greeted by those who lived in West-Berlin when they drove with a Trabant into the West. 

Happy reading 



  1. I remember this so well. My relatives lived in Mannheim, and I visited them in 1990 (I think they won the World Cup that year too, so people were celebrating a LOT). It is interesting getting this update and hearing a bit about the East German point of view.

    1. I thought I show a bit of a different picture about the reunification. I am still happy that Germany got reunited and yet I realize that not everything is all sunshine and flowers *smile*


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