East German Writers after the Breakthrough Cover Image

Pisarze wschodnioniemieccy po przełomie
East German Writers after the Breakthrough

Author(s): Maria Wagińska-Marzec
Subject(s): Politics / Political Sciences
Published by: Instytut Zachodni im. Zygmunta Wojciechowskiego
Keywords: breakthrough 1989; Germany; writers; identity

Summary/Abstract: The building of a new identity in the Federal Republic of Germany after its unification had to start from reckoning the past, a process that concerned also the literary milieu of the GDR. The paper is an attempt to portray the diverse attitudes and dilemmas of GDR writers and journalists relevant to their perception and assessment of the past and the role they played in consolidating the socialist state. The personal quandaries of some prominent spiritual leaders of the nation are also shown as well as the questions and accusations they had to face in connection with the responsibility of the literary circles after the Stasi files had been disclosed. The self-reflections of those writers reveal a peculiar mixture of a sense of failure, and chagrin at the ‘‘loss of the homeland” and the idea in which they believed, while on the other hand it is evident that they were aware they had let the society down by legitimizing the communist rule; some of the writers tried to suppress their guilt until the end. A review of attitudes and assessments of the activity of East German writers before and after the fall of the GDR allows us to note far reaching differences of stances in judging one’s ideals, dreams and beliefs. The dividing lines and differences in evaluating the situation before and after the breakthrough separated not only the writers of the former GDR from their critics in the West but also those writers who remained in the country from those who had to leave their ‘‘democratic” republic at various periods for various reasons or were expelled from it. Also, writers belonging to the older generations had a different view of the past than the younger generation of writers who were not embroiled in the previous arrangements and obligations.

  • Issue Year: 350/2014
  • Issue No: 01
  • Page Range: 63-94
  • Page Count: 32
  • Language: Polish