The German Democratic Republic: ‘A Social Paradise’?
It has recently been noted that there appears to be ‘an increasing sense of nostalgia for communism’ among many Germans. Although, this may in part be connected to wider global financial concerns, this on its own does not explain the attraction for many younger people. Indeed, it is suggested that many of these were born after Germany’s reunification, with no experience of the reality of living under communism.
In an effort to tackle these concerns, the East German School Project, based in Leipzig’s former Stasi building, has created classroom re-enactments to enable teenage pupils to gain some insight. Elke Urban, who takes the role of teacher Frau Müller, insists that some pupils ‘think that it [communism] was like living in a social paradise’. By stressing the totalitarian nature of the GDR regime, the project hopes to dispel some of the myths.
As part of this role-play, one student is pre-selected to be the dissident member of the group. Frighteningly, in an echo of the studies carried out by Milgram, Elliott and Zimbardo respectively, Ms. Urban has found that out of all the groups to visit the project, only one has refused to conform, with the others happy to participate in the dissident individual’s discrimination.
‘Does Antiregime Action under Communist Rule Affect Political Protest After the Fall?’