2018 - Ongoing
Germany; Berlin, Germany
Zersetzung is a word without proper translation, roughly meaning decomposition in German. It’s also a name given by the officers of Ministerium für Staatssicherheit – Stasi – to the complex tactic utilised against any person that was percieved possible threat for the regime of German Democratic Republic. Zersetzung process was in fact a psychological warfare technique, designed to damage mental health of a person it was applied to by subtly undermining all aspects of one’s life, using variety of methods of sabotage.
On 9th of November, 1989, a man named Günter Schabowski had been tasked with presenting new border policies of German Democratic Republic. However, being late for conference, he made a small mistake that led to a chain of events. Borders between East and West Germany opened, the Berlin Wall started to crumble. Unification of Germany was complected almost a year after, on 3rd of October, 1990, and as it was prepared, on 23rd of August the GDR Volkskammer officially stated the state’s will to access West Germany, and to accept Western laws as their own.
30 years later, the situation in Germany isn’t that simple that it might seem. The division is still clearly visible in many statistics, covering things from wealth and welfare to opinion on free immigration. The notion that the East – and with it it’s culture, heritage and life of it’s citizens – had been concealed after the unification is persistent; the economical fall of former Eastern Germany after the unification is also a factor. Ostalgie, nostalgia for the East, had been coined as a term covering not only Trabi adventure companies, but also growing sentiment of Ossis – former citizens of GDR, and residents of ex-GDR part of Germany – towards their former homeland that voluntarily ceased to exist. 30 years after the last Zersetzung – this time aimed towards the state itself – I’m interested in what remained of GDR heritage and identity of Eastern Germans 30 years after reunification of Germany, and what were the side effects of this process.
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