There is a very revealing article in the Guardian (natch) called ‘East Germans lost much in 1989‘. The ‘money quote’ (in GDR Marks of course) is:
On 9 November 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down I realised German unification would soon follow, which it did a year later. This meant the end of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), the country in which I was born, grew up, gave birth to my two children, gained my doctorate and enjoyed a fulfilling job as a lecturer in English literature at Potsdam University. Of course, unification brought with it the freedom to travel the world and, for some, more material wealth, but it also brought social breakdown, widespread unemployment, blacklisting, a crass materialism and an “elbow society” as well as a demonisation of the country I lived in and helped shape. Despite the advantages, for many it was more a disaster than a celebratory event.
Yes it is hard to not shed a tear for all those unemployed Stasi and blacklisted apparatchik that made the whole system possible. I have long suspected the real reason the wall was built was to keep out the waves of oppressed Western workers who were flooding into the socialist worker’s paradise and threatening to overwhelm the system.
More seriously, the blacklisting process did not go nearly far enough in my view. A large number of people who were the enablers of the communist state should have spent a great many years in gaol. In 1955 the USSR created East Germany… and it ended in 1990… so it would seem to me that putting the most egregious enablers of that system in gaol for thirty five years would be a measure of poetic justice for the people who lost a generation of personal liberty by living in that open air prison called East Germany. Blacklisted? Apologists for tyranny deserve far worse than just being ‘blacklisted’.