On 17 October 2012 the authors Andrea Backhaus, Anja Goernitz and Stephanie Maiwald led an event in our Visitor Centre. After a short documentary giving an introduction to the subject matter, our visiting speakers read excerpts from their recently published book, Third Generation East. "Third Generation East" (in German "Dritte Generation Ost") is not only the title of a book but also the name of an initiative started about two years ago by the authors and others. The initiative explores the way people born between 1975 and 1989 experienced the GDR.
The documentary and readings were followed by a passionate discussion between the roughly 30 attendees, chaired by Dr Stefan Wolle, our Academic Director. It soon became clear that the topic is a highly complex one, with greatly differing points of view, and that the way people engage with their own GDR past is highly individual and subjective.
The lively and heated discussions had to be repeatedly brought back to the core topic by Herr Wolle, in order to avoid too many diversions into the Nazi era or comparisons with South American dictatorships. The extremely entertaining and interesting evening was brought to a close after about 2.5 hours, although we could have carried on discussing the various points of view for much longer.
"Third Generation East" is not a purely East German initiative, by the way. It has members from all over Germany, who sought each other out in order to promote the project together.
We would like to thank our Facebook Follower Paula Kirby, who translated this article from our German Blog! She already wrote an article for our English Blog some months ago, because she is a contemporary witness. Now, she is working on her first book and if you like to, you can follow her on twitter!