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The peaceful revolution and its aftermath : collective memory and the victims of communism in East Germany

Die friedliche Revolution und ihre Folgen: die Opfer der SED-Diktatur in der kollektiven Erinnerung der Ostdeutschen
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Gebauer, Ronald

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Abstract "More than twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, East and West Germans share equal civil rights. However, among East Germans, certain aspects of the communist system are still remembered positively. Shortcomings and injustices of communist hegemony are thereby blocked out. In contrast, victims of communist repression cannot forget the suffering inflicted upon them. The contribution focuses on both the rehabilitation and compensation of victims and the acceptance of this process. In 2007 the Jena Center of Empirical Social and Cultural Research (JEZE) collected a survey of more than 300 interviews with applicants on rehabilitation and additionally conducted oral history interviews with affected people in Thuringia. The results of the analysis of these data show that younger and older generations of victims are especially disadvantaged in their social and health situation in comparison to the Thuringian population that was not victimized in the past. Despite of these drawbacks, victims try to integrate and to participate in public life. Yet, how does the public perceive the victims of the communist past today? In order to find out more about the acceptance of the process of rehabilitation and compensation within Thuringia's population results of the applicants' study will be confronted with an analysis of a telephone survey of 'ordinary' Thuringian citizens." (author's abstract)
Keywords Federal Republic of Germany; Thuringia; New Federal States; German Democratic Republic (GDR); GDR research; offense; dictatorship; Socialist Unity Party of Germany (GDR); reminiscence; social effects; health consequences; justice; compensation (psych.); victim; political culture; reunification; constitutional state; rehabilitation; repression; post-communist society; collective memory
Classification Macrosociology, Analysis of Whole Societies; General History
Method empirical; qualitative empirical; quantitative empirical; historical
Document language English
Publication Year 2010
Page/Pages p. 163-171
Journal Historical Social Research, 35 (2010) 3
ISSN 0172-6404
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works