The GDR Remembered

The GDR Remembered

Representations of the East German State since 1989

Edited by Nick Hodgin, Caroline Pearce


Camden House



Competing representations of the former East German state in the German cultural memory.
Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the consequences of the country's divided past continue to be debated. The legacy of the German Democratic Republic occupies a major role in German popular culture, with audiences flocking to films claiming to depict the East German state "as it was." Politicians from both left and right make use of its legacy to support their parties' approach to unification, while former citizens of the GDR are still working through their own memories of the regime and adjusting to unification.

Since 1989, competing representations of the East German state have emerged, some underlining its repressive nature, others lamenting the loss of a sense of community. The twentieth anniversary of the Wende is an occasion to reflect upon both the history of the GDR and the ways in which it has been remembered, and the present volume presents new research on the theme from a variety of perspectives, with sections on film and literature, museums and memorials, and historiography and politics.

Contributors: Thomas Ahbe, Pertti Ahonen, Silke Arnold-de Simine, Stefan Berger, Laura Bradley, Mary Fulbrook, Nick Hodgin, Anna O'Driscoll, Stuart Parkes, Caroline Pearce, Günter Schlusche, Peter Thompson, Andreas Wagner.

Nick Hodgin is a Cultural Historian working at the University of Sheffield, UK, and Caroline Pearce is Lecturer in German and Interpreting, also at the University of Sheffield.


November 2011
5 black and white illustrations
310 pages
9x6 in
Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture
ISBN: 9781571134349
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Camden House
BISAC LIT004170, LIT020000
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Table of Contents

Introduction - Nick Hodgin and Caroline Pearce
From Berlin to Prenzlau: Representations of GDR Theater in Film and Literature - Laura Bradley
Melancholy and Historical Loss: Postunification Portrayals of GDR Writers and Artists - Anna O'Driscoll
Literary Portrayals of the GDR by Non-GDR Citizens - Stuart Parkes
Screening the Stasi: The Politics of Representation in Postunification Film - Nick Hodgin
"The Spirit of an Epoch Is Not Just Reflected in Pictures and Books, but Also in Pots and Frying Pans": GDR Museums and Memories of Everyday Life - Silke Arnold-de Simine
Remapping the Wall: The Wall Memorial in Bernauer Strasse - From an Unloved Cold War Monument to a New Type of Memorial Site - Günter Schlusche
Commemorating the Berlin Wall - Pertti Ahonen
The Evolution of Memorial Sites in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania since 1990 - Andreas Wagner
An Unequal Balance? Memorializing Germany's "Double Past" since 1990 - Caroline Pearce
Living through the GDR: History, Life Stories, and Generations in East Germany - Mary Fulbrook
Competing Master Narratives: Geschichtspolitik and Identity Discourse in Three German Societies - Thomas Ahbe
"Worin noch niemand war": The GDR as Retrospectively Imagined Community - Peter Thompson
GDR Historiography after the End of the GDR: Debates,Renewals, and the Question of What Remains - Stefan Berger
Notes on the Contributors


(M)akes a valuable contribution to the ongoing scholarly interrogation of memory of the GDR in reunified Germany. Even within what is now a richly populated field of study, The GDR Remembered deserves a wide readership, and will be useful in particular for undergraduate courses on account of the uniformly solid individual contributions, which function equally well as stand-alone pieces. . . . (A) worthwhile addition to a field of research whose vitality is as clear two decades after German unification as it has ever been. H-NET REVIEWS

(U)seful. . . . (M)ethodologically plural. . . . In the first section . . ., the approach is broadly thematic, . . . (and) offer(s) sensitive and enlightening readings of literary and filmic texts. . . The second part . . . discusses memorials and museums dedicated to various aspects of GDR state and society . . . (and) will be invaluable for readers . . . , especially (for those without) access to the German sources. The final part of the book is the most diverse, but is held together by its presentation of various methodological approaches to memory of the GDR as a whole. . . . (while the) penultimate chapter (of) Peter Thompson's analysis of the retrospective construction of the GDR as an "imagined community" (proves to be) . . . the most intriguing and provocative contribution. GERMAN STUDIES REVIEW

(S)timulating . . . . MODERN LANGUAGE REVIEW

In each (of its three sections) the volume offers stimulating and often unusual approaches . . . . Overall (the essays) are characterized by a commendable clarity and by a freshness and originality of approach that places them among the best contributions to thinking about the legacy of the GDR twenty years after its demise. . . . (E)xcellent. JOURNAL OF EUROPEAN STUDIES

(A)ddresses some of the most important and engaging questions of the GDR legacy in contemporary Germany. . . . (M)akes a valuable contribution to such discussions, not least in the scope of its material and in the interdisciplinary diversity of the contributors. . . . The book's accessible style will appeal to academics and students, and also, it is to be hoped, to a wider audience. JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY EUROPEAN STUDIES

Emphasizes the need for pluralistic and differentiated ways of approaching the past of the GDR. GERMAN QUARTERLY

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