Germans Quietly Pass an Equinox of Unity, yet the Walls Remain

Teachers, judges in addition to also civil servants were shipped in via western states to replace a generation of easterners who had come of age in Communism in addition to also were considered unfit, Mr. Krüger said.

“Of course people were bitter about of which,” he added. “They still are.”

The East, some point out, had a complete migration experience without crossing a border. People lost their jobs, their status in addition to also their country.

Many East German men were quite literally left behind.

Eastern women, who were part of the work force in addition to also with free child care, were more emancipated than their western sisters, in addition to also proved to be more mobile than their male counterparts. Some eastern villages right now have two or three men for every woman — the kind of ratio one otherwise finds near the Arctic Circle, demographers say.

When Petra Köpping was named integration minister within the eastern state of Saxony, she thought she could mainly deal with migrants. yet early on, she was heckled at a public event. “Why don’t you integrate us first?” a German man shouted.

Ms. Köpping ended up touring the East to understand the grievances of East German men. She can be right now touring the West to share her findings.

Mr. Garton Ash, the Oxford historian, who knows Germany intimately (he had his own Stasi file), talks about cultural inequality as a driver of populism.

“Inequality of attention shades into inequality of respect,” Mr. Garton Ash wrote last year.

Dorfchemnitz, the town where the AfD won 47.4 percent of the vote last year — has an unemployment rate of under 6 percent. yet mainstream parties ignored the idea during the campaign. Only the AfD candidate showed up — twice.

Nationalism was taboo in West Germany. In East Germany the idea was positively encouraged. “We were the not bad Germans,” recalled Antje Weiss, a social worker in East Berlin.

Ms. Weiss, 54, grew up behind the Berlin Wall — although within the East the idea was called the “anti-fascist protection bulwark.”

“We were told we were the descendants of the anti-fascist resistance,” she said. Flag-waving, a no-no within the West, was ubiquitous within the Communist youth organizations of the German Democratic Republic, as East Germany was known.

Ms. Weiss has no time for the AfD. yet she thinks the idea can be important to listen deeply to those who do.

“We have to let people speak their mind,” she said. “Otherwise, we are just doing what the G.D.R. did.”

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