Der Gefühlsstau: Ein Psychogramm der DDR

Der Gefühlsstau: Ein Psychogramm der DDR, is a book written in 1990 by a former East German (is everyone from DDR considered "a former East German" after die Wende?) psychoanalyst, Hans-Joachim Maaz, in 1990. I had listened to many of his interviews until I got so interested in the psychological topic concerning the East German people integrating into a society without the Stasi for example, that I read his book Der Gefühlsstau: Ein Psychogramm der DDR. I am aware of some criticisms that the unhealthy psychological factors, described in Maaz's book, are not due to socialism but to the normal general German character traits developed from the German culture at large.

My question is, how much tension is there between former East Germans and West Germans? Are there any Germans on Duo that lived under the East German government? And how are the former East Germans doing today?

If you are an Ossis I'd like to hear from you.

September 12, 2017


Hi Susan, this is an interesting question. In the first place I have to say I'm a "Wessi" from Western Germany and had no relatednesses in the East.

I would say it depends on the age. I have grown up with the border but my children only know it from history class. There were a lot of sensibilities, problems, misunderstandings and partialities. And many people in the "new" German Federal Lands (you can see in this example there went a lot things wrong, because they weren't new!) had the impression they were occupied not reunited (to my mind they're were not wrong).

We've grown together. Yes there are still problems you can name as a consequence of the "Wiedervereinigung" mostly political mistakes. For example the SED-"government" enacted there is no "fare-right thing" in the DDR and the politicians in the west did or wanted to believe it's true. We now pay hell for that.

Today? Less and less people know what the DDR really was (oblivion is a very dangerous thing) People are mocking each other about their origin but there's no difference anymore between the Bavarian, the Hessian or the Saxon, not really. We Germans always do that and I think we always will. What's left is that you can hear sometimes bad, stupid jokes about the "Ossis" or the "Wessis" but it fades (thank God).

What it means to be born and grown up in the DDR, I can't tell you. In my knowledge it must have been really hard and a big deal to experience the change that came with Fall of the Wall.

best regards Angel

September 12, 2017

I am not sure why you are being downvoted. To address the point you raised: "Germany", as all countries isn't a homogenous mix. We have subcultures and even parallel societies. Since the dissolution of the GDR was a political event, people's attitude toward people from the former GDR varies with their view towards this event.

This was extremely visible at around the time of the GDR's dissolution and the German reunification: In 1989, when activists for reform where gathering in East German churches and taking to the streets, both Social Democrats and Greens had been publicly campaigning against reunification for years. It was only after it was clear that East Germans desired no "better kind of socialism" but reunification with what they believed was a liberal, free-market society, that at least the Social Democrats began to sound differently.

It seems to me that in the following years, the German Left did not forgive East Germans for the sin of giving up on socialism. East Germans ("Ossis") were denigrated as materialist simpletons ("Zonen-Gaby") and they, in turn, started to resent the "Wessis" for this attitude.

Is there a diffrence between East and West Germans? I actually do think so: In my experience, West Germans tend to be more extroverted and outspoken, while East Germans often appear more introverted and cautious.

September 13, 2017

I am an expat who lives in Germany (in a part that was West Germany during the Cold War), so I can only provide perspective as an outsider, but it seems to me that you can compare it to any other country that has significant internal political and cultural divisions. Consider, for example, a group of San Franciscans talking together and how they would regard a place like, say, Alabama. Same country, but vastly different political and social environment. In the same way, "Wessis" talking about the former East have a whole set of pejoratives which they use to designate it as an underdeveloped, backwards-thinking place. You've discovered that people from the former DDR are called "Ossis", but the place itself is often derisively called "die neuen Bundesländer" (the new provinces, because technically the two Germanies didn't "unite"; officially, the DDR joined the BRD and the former ceased to exist) or even "Dunkeldeutschland" (dark Germany), suggesting a place still benighted in hopelessly regressive ideology. A few months ago, I saw the cover of some German news magazine (not sure if it was Der Spiegel or something else) calling Sachsen "the country's darkest province" because of Sachsen's reputation for racism and street violence between so-called neo-Nazis and foreign-looking people or those who support them.

To be fair, just as Stusstrupp pointed out that Germany is not one huge homogenous country where all people are the same, this applies even to the different provinces that comprised the former DDR. People from Sachsen have a different mentality to those from Thüringen, and both of these are significantly different commpared to people from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. It's simply not correct to assume that all Ossis are alike, but because of the human tendency toward stereotyping for simplicity's sake, any Ossi who moves somewhere that was part of the former West is likely to face some amount of ridicule and exclusion, although I am under the impression that most of this is fairly good-natured kidding rather than really serious discrimination. It doesn't seem to be a really serious problem considering that thousands of people from the East and West move to the other side every year in both directions (contrary to popular belief, it's not only Ossis moving west; a lot of people from the former West move to ex-DDR land), but it is a cultural block which still exists in people's memories and leads to occasional discussion, if not tension, between the two groups.

September 16, 2017

LateBlt, thanks for taking the time to respond to me.

September 16, 2017

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