Narrative In Crisis – ’I am not proud to be German’: East German identity and the legacy of Fascism
February 21, 2024 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Library Alumni Reading Room
’I am not proud to be German’: East German identity and the legacy of Fascism
Molly Andrews, University College London
This talk will explore the complexity of East German national identity as experienced by a small group of dissident activists I have interviewed over 3 decades. Interwoven into the analysis is a deep contextualization of the role of anti-Fascism in East Germany, and the way in which this official discourse became flipped in post-unification Germany. Appropriating the language of the peaceful revolution of 1989 “We are the people” the AfD shocked many with its dramatic electoral success of 2017, becoming the main opposition in the Bundestag. Why was their message particularly appealing to East Germans? How does the experience of having lived under a dictatorship impact upon the East German dissidents’ interpretation of the rise of the far right, and their sense of their own national identity? The participants in the study reject the idea of being proud to be German, and argue that only for the two months of autumn ’89 did they experience “a positive, constructive national identity.”
This event is open to the public.