Capitalism in its course … (neue-deutschland.de)

On the day after the fall of the Berlin Wall, GDR citizens wait for the welcome money:

Photo: IMAGO IMAGES / SVEN SIMON

On the historic weekend in November 1989, we weren’t even in Berlin, but we saw the “Tagesschau” anyway and couldn’t believe our eyes: people were standing around on the wall, pushing through the border controls and were completely beside themselves with enthusiasm. Well, I thought to myself, if that goes well. But strange things were not only happening on the wall, also in our residential area, around Wilmersdorfer Straße. There everything was full of Trabis, Ladas and Wartburgs, so that I could hardly find a parking space for my small box.

I was never really able to participate in the euphoria that was rampant in the East and West, rather I developed visionary skills regarding the consequences of the spread of the so-called social market economy in the GDR. You have to be a “trained Wessi” to be able to understand this system.

When I paid a visit to the east of Berlin a few weeks later, the first thing I saw in a lost corner of the city was a container with the inscription: Dresdner Bank. I knew then what the hour had struck.

It turned out to be very bad for a good friend of mine: the man had to cope with his professional ban as early as 1978 because he was an active member of an approved party, which, according to German intelligence, was supposedly not on the “soil of the free democratic basic order”. After eleven years of impeccable civil service, he found himself unemployed and unemployed with a family of four. So much for the rule of law in contrast to the “unjust state”: Here in the FRG, political persecution – strictly lawful, of course – was not called into question.

Who had denounced him? Who was the intelligence service for the protection of the constitution? Disclosure of the files? But I ask you, that is not necessary here in the West, after all, everything here goes according to the law! Political injustice is only denounced by others and dealt with by systems that have gone under. That goes without saying.

But the rule of law had not forgotten its outcast citizen. Soon after the takeover of the GDR, he received an account statement for DM 660,000 from his savings bank, unfortunately with a big minus in front of it. The following had happened: When his father died in the 1970s, he inherited his house in Berlin-Friedrichshain, an old family property, built around 1890. He had pleaded with the city district for expropriation, but it was not granted – and so he came across » Private property «. He had no work or worries with it, an administrator from time immemorial took care of it.

He could not refuse the inheritance to his old father, who had spent the last ten years of his life troubled by distributing his belongings sensibly: Who would take over the well-organized photo archive? The Kulturbund should receive the folk song collection; Lothar Berfelde, later Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, got the old cherry wood cupboard and the buffet for his museum. My friend only took over the many family certificates and also some pictures and small furniture as souvenirs.

At some point, before the fall of the Berlin Wall, the entire block of houses in Friedrichshain was renovated in the course of urban development. State loans were necessary for this, of course – he was informed of this. But that didn’t bother him: for him the house was in a different state, with different, welcome ownership structures, and he was rather embarrassed to own a tenement there.

Now this legacy had overtaken him with the unification of the country – where did his savings bank get the GDR state loans from? Perhaps a small but slightly modified quote from a certain EH would be appropriate here. You already know: “Capitalism in its course …”

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