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The Post-Reunification Aufarbeitung of the SED-Dictatorship

by Doerre, Jason J.

Abstract (Summary)
The purpose of this thesis is to examine attempts in post-reunification Germany to process or deal with (Aufarbeitung) the second German dictatorship of the twentieth century, the German Democratic Republic. Part I deals with Germany's attempts to address politically the East German past. The first chapter focuses on the legal and political actions taken by the German government to help make right the wrongdoings of the dictatorship of the Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands (SED). This chapter pays special attention to the trials against the East German border guards and political figures. Moreover, this chapter looks at the policies made by the federal government that address what was to be done with the enormous amount of documents left over by the Ministerium für Staatssicherheit (Stasi). Part II focuses on the literary Aufarbeitung of the SED-dictatorship. The artistic Aufarbeitung comprises the body of literature and films that was created in the post-reunification era that helps the collective coming to grips with the SED-dictatorship. Chapter two examines the foundations of a literary discourse on the topic of state control in the GDR. This chapter looks mostly at autobiographical texts written from personal experience in the GDR, as well as the early conflicts among the East German literati concerning the role of the writer in the GDR. The topic of chapter three is the use of fiction to analyze the experiences of East Germans. The primary example in this chapter is Erich Loest's Nikolaikirche which this thesis treats as the quintessential Wenderoman. Chapter four examines the usage of humor in depicting life in the GDR which ultimately led to the movement known as Ostalgie. This movement, which began with the comeback of East German consumer products, but produced literary and filmic representations of the GDR, caused a great deal of reaction from critics who claimed that to represent the GDR with nostalgia is to trivialize the misdeeds of the Unrechtsstaat. The final chapter assesses recent developments concerning the Aufarbeitung of the SED-dictatorship and questions whether or not these new developments mean a new paradigm of representing the GDR.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Bowling Green State University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

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ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/01/2008

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