By Jan Herman Brinks
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Additional info for Children of a new fatherland : Germany's post-war right-wing politics
We trumpet what Kohl and Vogel say. We practise jovial journalism. ’10 There were a number of policy-makers who had reservations about rapid German uniﬁcation because of its negative consequences. The president of the Bundesbank, Karl-Otto Pöhl, described the introduction of the Deutschmark in the new Federal territories as a ‘failure’ and resigned in 1991. Meanwhile Chancellor Kohl remained optimistic. ’ In October of that year he went so far as to maintain that East Germany would be a ‘blossoming landscape’ within a few years and he maintained that he knew ‘dozens not to say hundreds of entrepreneurs’ who were ‘on the point of investing in the new Federal territories’.
6 However, racist agitation in East Germany does not date from the collapse of the Wall. A considerable time before this turning point, young East German right-wing radicals agitated against Turks (Kanaken), Africans (Kohle) and Vietnamese (Fidschis). Russians and Poles were not spared this fate either. The aggression of these right-wing radicals was also focused on ‘left-wing swine’, homosexuals and punks – in short, against everyone who in their eyes had an ‘un-German’ appearance. There was also resentment against Jews, which resulted in some desecration of Jewish graves.
At least these young right-wing radicals had the nerve to rebel against the state and the party: most citizens did not have this kind of courage. Shortly after the collapse of the Wall, the aggression and intolerance spread throughout the GDR. In an informal conversation in 1990, a minister from the transitional government of the East German prime minister, Hans Modrow, gave a number of examples. There appeared to be, the politician maintained, a constant stream of bomb alerts and death threats to members of the government and their families.