Ostalgie: Understanding a Cultural Phenomenon
Rehberg, Rachael A.
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Following the fall of the Berlin Wall on the 9th of November, 1989, east Germans were quick to become active participants in the West German capitalist society. As a result, east German products and goods quickly disappeared, as manufacturers could no longer compete with western firms and their former customers no longer consumed their goods. However, after several years, products, symbols, and signs of everyday life and culture in the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) began to reappear and the word ostalgie, or nostalgia for the east, was created to describe this phenomenon. Ostalgie tend to stress the everyday, positive aspects of life in the GDR rather than the negative aspects that are most often portrayed in western media, i.e. corruption of the east German communist regime or pollution of east German industries. The emergence of ostalgie coincides with the growth of problems between the west and the east Germans as they continue to struggle to grow together as one cohesive society.