Behind the Wall: The Inner Life of Communist Germany, Hans-Joachim Maaz

“In Behind the Wall, East German psychiatrist Hans-Joachim Maaz reveals why the most difficult problem of adjustment after the fall of Communism in East Germany, as in the former Soviet Union, is not political or economic but psychological. In his impassioned account, based on his work with 5,000 patients in the last decade of the Communist regime, he describes the pervasive fear, historical amnesia, and “blocked emotionality” of life in the former Communist state. These deprivations, he argues, have only worsened the rigidity and compulsiveness that were already present in the German character. The author is also concerned that Germany, in its rush to reunification, has not done the proper reckoning with its Nazi past. Behind the Wall is a devastating look at how forty years of repressive Communist rule crippled the psychological life of people in Eastern Germany. At the same time it is a warning that the two Germanies, in their rush to reunification, have failed to come to grips with their separate – and inextricably linked – pasts.”


4 thoughts on “Behind the Wall: The Inner Life of Communist Germany, Hans-Joachim Maaz

  1. The original plans for reunification were planned by Helmut Kohl and his advisors to be gradual and to allow the preservation of East German industry and the higher skill levels of East German workers. The US, in contrast, was determined to open up East German industry to Wall Street investment and to turn the country into a sweatshop.

    This was accomplished by the deliberate assassination of the 2 primary architects of Kohl’s original reunification strategy:

    1. The ten-year plan for the reunification of the two Germanies was very unrealistic in the first place. The people of the GDR would have seen anything than the immediate unification as a delaying tactic.

      Kohl realised his mistake and changed his mind.

      Thank you for the above link in regard to “Assissination-as-us-foreign-policy”. I did not know anything about the two cases mentioned.

      Kohl promised the East-Germans so much but the country was destroyed. Only now one can see the fruits of a long and slow process.

      Wall Street might have had some high hopes but there was never any big investment boom from them. Infrastructure project would always be good for the economy of any country. But instead, so much money is wasted on armaments and preparations for war.

      If you want to learn about the life in the former GDR there are several excellent films available this month which have been made during the eighties before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

      1. The reason there was no investment boom was because Wall Street bought heaps of East German factories at bargain basement prices, closed them, fired all the workers and sold all the equipment and machinery for salvage.

      2. Hi Stuart, I found an article in SPIEGEL ONLINE from 2013 that might interest you:

        Rust in Peace
        East Germany’s Forgotten Factories
        After Germany’s reunification, factories across former East Germany shut down, fracturing communities and falling into disrepair. A new photo book details the abandoned workshops of a planned economy cut loose.

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