Every so often someone tells me I really must go to see The Lives of Others, the gripping Oscar-winning film about the Stasi which awakened. When rumors ran rampant in the GDR of Stasi cameras in private bedrooms and bathrooms and the exploitation of one's private sexual. In “Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism: And Other . or enforced childbearing, let alone the cruelties carried out by the Stasi.
Stasi, sex and soundtracks: Thomas Brussig's Postalgie. Nijdam, Elizabeth. URI: setiaband.info Date: The aggressive invasiveness is well described in Bu ̈rgerkomitee Leipzig, ed., Stasi intern: Macht und Banalita ̈t (Leipzig: Forum, ), esp. pp. – In “Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism: And Other . or enforced childbearing, let alone the cruelties carried out by the Stasi.
Stasi, Sex and Soundtracks: Thomas Brussig's Postalgie by Elizabeth Nijdam B.A., University of Victoria, A Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the. In unserem ersten Buch „DDR-Sex oder Hobbynutten, Fremdgeher, Bettspitzel und die STASI als Zuhälter“, bezeichneten wir etwas freihändig die. In “Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism: And Other . or enforced childbearing, let alone the cruelties carried out by the Stasi.
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East German author Thomas Brussig is pivotal in this new genre of literature. Irina Gavrilova has always been there to answer sex questions and solve my problems. Without her, I would sex have completed any of the paperwork necessary to finish my thesis, organize my defense or even graduate! I would specifically like sex thank Matthew Pollard for inspiring me in my undergraduate degree. Without his enthusiasm, passion and encouragement, I would not have pursued Germanic Studies.
The Germanic and Slavic Studies Department is very fortunate to have such a talented and capable chair. I would also like to thank Thomas Brussig for his patience and understanding. I am greatly indebted to sex and his cats for accepting me into their home. Thank you. Introduction With the s came the deaths of many prominent post-war German authors and with them the definitive end of the German Nachkriegsliteratur Kraft The fall of the Berlin Wall not only brought the demise of the GDR GDRit also concluded the forty year-old East German literary tradition of coding political criticism deep in metaphor to circumvent State censorship.
Ich suche eigentlich immer noch. It arose after unification and is thriving today even though the East German borders dissolved over a decade and a half ago. Despite the disappearance of its nation-state of reference, this new East German literature continues to examine East German issues, pivots around East German themes, functions in the development of a post-Wall East German identity and criticizes the Socialist state in a way not feasible before — openly. When the Berlin Wall fell in Novemberwhat began as euphoria turned into disappointment by October 3rd the next year, the official day stasi German unification.
Since the beginning of the s, the relationship of authors, artists and citizens of former East Germany towards their vanished home has changed. It became part of the evolving nature of the East German historical consciousness, which was trying to reconstruct a positive identity for itself after its destruction Betts Consequently, many of the sources cited in this thesis will not have page references.
He has refigured GDR using humour, satire, parody and subversive recollection. Received enthusiastically across united Germany, Helden wie wir and Sonnenallee3 are among the most talked-about texts of the new East German literary and cinematic movements.
The West and the East often have very different conceptions of how to remember former East Germany. Formal history recalls the GDR in terms of its political problems, strict censorship and secret police. As a result of the disparity between these two modes of sex, the Ostalgie phenomenon emerged. Consequently, it is neither acknowledged as the principal sign of the current East German identity crisis, nor a blaring indication that unification never fully succeeded.
Neither Ostalgie nor formal history suffices in accurately depicting the GDR. Helden wie wir and Sonnenallee work toward sex creation of a new German national identity that incorporates the East German experience into the West German peripheral vision. They aim to subvert the government of GDR in hindsight in order to return East German pride to its former citizens and confront the division between East and West that still exists today.
Brussig aims to tear down the Wall once again, but this time it is the Mauer im Kopf and he does so with laughter instead of sledgehammers, trying to illustrate how Ossis and Wessis are not so fundamentally different after all. Historically, through the legends and maxims of any given society, their morals and ethics reign in allegorical manifestations as they tried to explain the inexplicable.
The Egyptians inscribed the sagas of their deities in hieroglyphs on pyramid walls and Runes decorated the caves stasi Scandinavia and Ireland. These icons and myths illustrate that although traditional oral folklore has been left by the wayside, society still employs mythology to reflect its ideology and social concerns. This chapter shall examine how the contemporary literature and cinema on the former GDR that has emerged in the last decade functions in establishing a new mythological framework with which to remember East Germany.
The narrative quality distinguishes a myth from a general idea or set of ideas, such as a cosmology. It is now used rather loosely and employed in discussions on politics i. Although mythology often functions as an ideological manifestation, it is also a tool for the exploration of history.
Myth is said to be motivated, not by subjective, wishful thinking, but rather by the quest for an understanding of the significance of nature and life… myth, at its best, is to be regarded as a recognition of the drama of human existence.
Its ultimate aim is not the wishful distortion of the world, but rather serious comprehension and envisagement of its fundamental nature. Myth is regarded as representing metaphorically a world-picture and insight into life generally and may, therefore, be considered as primitive philosophy or metaphysical thought.
The end of the Second World War brought with it the destruction of Nazi Germany and the dismantling of its ideology and social structures. Instead, in its forty years of existence, the citizens of East Germany had their Socialist mythology imposed on them.
The East German state and its propaganda informed the nation of its founding principles. As a result of this strictly enforced ideology, counter mythologies emerged, which manifested themselves in the alternative corners of East German culture, such as in rock and roll music. The specific portrait this thesis shall explore deemphasizes those aspects of formal East Germany history that do not concur with the memory of individual East Germans in an attempt to create a new East German mythology.
Traditionally, the GDR has been judged rather harshly. But to recall their history with such animosity has had a destructive effect stasi the former citizens of the GDR.
Reunification euphoria did not last long. Both West and East Germans soon realized that the heroic dismantling of the Berlin Wall was nothing compared with confronting the more intractable mental wall dividing Wessis and Ossis.
Already by the time Reunification was made official in October the televised fest of East-West fraternity the year before had become a distant memory. German-German relations often degenerated into ugly bouts of repeated recriminations and mutual misunderstanding, thus exposing the illusory quality of the long-cherished cold war dream of a so-called Kulturnation that supposedly transcend geopolitical partition. The stasi collapse of any idea of a united German culture after only pointed up the larger problem of articulating any viable post-Reunification national identity.
Betts Thus a trend has emerged that expresses the East German experience in new terms. Sie mag ihre historische Berechtigung gehabt haben, das ist vielfach beschreiben worden.
Ihre Kritik steht noch aus. Essentially, almost immediately after the fall of the Wall, East Germany no longer had any authentic formal cultural, political or ideological representation.
The conflict lies in that although East Germany does not physically exist, it is still ever-present in the minds and hearts of its former citizens. Only in the last decade has East German cultural representation begun to reemerge in the literature and cinema of formerly East German authors and directors. These artists explore the subject of East Germany as they experienced it almost two decades ago and how they remember it today, and in doing so contribute to the new East German mythology.
Many contemporary theories on myth do not actually pertain to the traditional conception of mythology that Western society inherited from the Greeks. It can be seen that in myth there are two semiological systems, one of which is staggered in relation to the other: a linguistic system, the language or the modes of representation which are assimilated to itwhich I shall call the language-object, because it is the language which myth gets hold stasi in order to build its own system; and myth itself, stasi I shall call metalanguage, because it is a sex language, in which one speaks about the first.
When he reflects on a metalanguage, the semiologist no longer needs to ask himself questions about the composition of the stasi object, he stasi longer has to take into account the details of the linguistic schema; he will only need to know its total term, or global sign, and only inasmuch as this term lends itself to myth. Thus the sign signals multiple meanings.
And sex as bourgeois ideology is defined by the abandonment of the name 'bourgeois', myth is constituted by the loss of the historical quality of things: in it, things lose the memory that they once were made.
The world enters language as a dialectical relation between activities, between human actions; it comes out of myth as a harmonious display of essences. A conjuring trick has taken place; it has turned reality inside out, it has emptied it of history and has filled it with nature, it has removed from things their human meaning so as to make them signify a human insignificance.
The function of myth is to empty reality: it is, literally, a ceaseless flowing out, a hemorrhage, or perhaps an evaporation, in short a perceptible absence. A second function of the new East German mythology is that it assists in dealing with the history of the GDR. Myth does not deny things, on the contrary, its function is to talk about them; simply, it purifies them, it makes them innocent, it gives them a natural and eternal justification, it gives them a clarity which is not that of an explanation but that of a statement of fact.
She writes that in order to understand the past, it is necessary to recreate it. Helden wie wir and Sonnenallee explore the demise of East Germany as Brussig himself observed and experienced it — through the perversion of the state and rock music rebellion.
He asserts that it is not reality that is important, rather it is the medium and the intention that needs to be investigated 8. The phenomenon helped former East Germany begin to understand its past as well as its cultural extinction. Essentially, Ostalgie masked the ideological hole and today, Brussig is attempting to fill it. The questions surrounding mythology and sex memory in Helden wie wir and Sonnenallee go hand and hand.
He examines the subject from the point of view of a social anthropologist and his theories can be applied to the construction of cultural memory in any society. Die Dingwelt, in der er lebt, hat einen Zeitindex, der mit der Gegenwart zugleich auch auf verschiedene Vergangenheitsschichten deutet.
It belongs to the individual, is shared by contemporaries and includes the memory of things that individuals have themselves experienced or know from hearsay Nause It is the memory that results from language and the communication between people Assmann This realm of memory is unique because it builds a space in which all the other areas of memory interact Assmann As soon as mimetic memory, the memory of things or communicative memory transcends the everyday Nausewhen acts become rituals and when objects become icons, they become part of cultural memory Assmann Assmann stresses that it is not facts that are stored here; rather it is myths that are remembered re-constructed again and again.
Cultural memory transcends individuals. It is formal and exists in repeatable images, words, actions, etc. But Helden wie wir is also a story about education, socialization and repression: presumably it reminds not only ex-GDR citizens of their childhood but also many more people outside GDR of their own early years. This is important because it enables readers from completely different backgrounds to enjoy the novel. As texts enjoyed throughout united Germany, Helden wie wir and Sonnenallee assist in developing a shared cultural memory that transcends the East-West divide and locates itself in the cultural memory of former West Germans as well.
Assmann 16 Stasi can be argued that Ostalgie was the first attempt to force the East German experience into the German cultural memory. Helden wie wir and Sonnenallee offer new and refreshing perspectives on life in East Germany, where the citizens resisted the East German state with sex and music and where simply talking about failure is heroic.
This analysis of myth and cultural memory locates the two in close proximity to each other, stasi interacting. Wenn ein Mench — und eine Gesellschaft — nur das zu erinnern imstande ist, was als Vergangenheit innerhalb der Bezugsrahmen einer jeweiligen Gegenwart rekonstruierbar ist, dann wird genau das vergessen, was in eine solchen Gegenwart keine Bezugsrahmen mehr hat.
With Helden wie wir and Sonnenalle, Brussig develops the mythology of an East Germany, where the people were not unanimously sex of the Party. At the same time, his texts acknowledge the political and moral issues surrounding the Socialist government as well as the blissfulness of youth.
Through this comedy, parody and satire, Brussig develops a novel tale, in the original sense of the word, that is not only critical of East Germany in its telling, but also in its reading. In fact, according to James Strachey who translated and edited the Norton Library edition published inboth manuscripts were written simultaneously 5. Freud identifies four categories and explores their purpose and impact in the first chapters of his book.
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Thanks for subscribing! On first visiting the East, I'd had the good luck to fall in with a group of student East Berliners who were the offspring of the then ruling elite. So I learned the gossip from Wandlitz - the enclave where the GDR leaders lived in splendid isolation from their socialist citizens. One of the group, a handsome tall student called Torsten, had a particularly famous father, Egon Krenz, the "crown prince" who was expected to lead East Germany after Honecker. And indeed he did, for precisely 44 days at the end of He resigned under the continuing pressure of demonstrations demanding free elections.
Back then though his son was doing Latin American studies in Rostock on the Baltic coast, where the atmosphere was less nervous than the East Berlin University. We would hurtle up the empty East German motorways in someone's Trabant and spend long weekends listening to Cuban music, a group of us in sleeping bags on the floor.
This was, of course, against all the rules for "visitors from non-socialist countries". I noticed one girl in the group didn't readily speak to me and asked one of my friends why. Her answer was evasive. So I worried she might pass on information, lose me my visa and get the rest of the group into trouble.
Years later, the truth emerged. Her father was a very senior Stasi officer charged with the "preservation of internal calm". Only after unification did we have any conversation at all. She told me she had been as scared of me as I was of her. Some of the documents pertaining to important people disappeared in late , when Minister of State Security Erich Mielke left office telling East Germans he "loved them all", to be replaced by an interim secret service run on exactly the same lines. The "cadres" as senior Communist Party officials were known had separate files, some of which are thought to have ended up in Moscow.
I can only wait until others choose to chase their files - and see if more about me emerges. Even now it's not the sort of thing you can ask people to do for you.
I did find Mielke in the early Nineties. There were two doors to Mielke's house. His wife opened one while his small, dead eye stared at me through a spy hole in the other. I told him I was an English author writing a history of the East. Wolf told me in detail of his "Romeo spies" - officers who would lure West German women in sensitive jobs into relationships.
I had met a junior Romeo once on a holiday course, a young army office who was hugely attentive - and good looking to boot. It seemed odd that his attentions vanished when I got a stomach bug and had to disappear to bed for a few days. Painful as it was to face it, he was more interested in eliciting my views than anything else. Several years later I found myself in the town where he lived and, on a whim, knocked on his door.
To my horror I realised he thought I had come to confront him about our earlier encounter. I had neither proof that he had informed, nor any intention of going on a vengeance crusade anyway.
We drank an uncomfortable cup of tea and I left. Friends suffered far worse intrusions by the Stasi. One, Lutz, fell in love with a West German communist girl who was studying in the East.
When they got engaged and applied for a flat they were hauled into an office on Alexanderplatz and asked whether they might go together to the West and "help the GDR". This conversation would be repeated every few months - although neither had any intention of spying. One day, Lutz returned home to his block to find a man slouching at the bottom of the stairs and hastened up to see if his flat was safe.
Looking up through the banister railings he saw the feet of two men on his landing and heard his door being closed softly. His girlfriend took fright and left for the West.
She was probably right. Twenty years on, some silences are being broken. I got a card recently from a student called Oliver, who had been looking for a Westerner to marry - purely so he could get out of the country - and "proposed" to me. We now know that the Stasi in the late Eighties wanted to get dissidents like him out of the country and steered them towards "marrying out".
Looking back, I'm thankful to the people who, for their own benefit, could have treated me far worse than they did. As Wolf Biermann, the great poet dissident, wrote of "Man, we are stronger than the rats and the dragons. You can find our Community Guidelines in full here. Please wait General Election. Future London. Homeless appeal.
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