Unity. Einheit. What does it mean? How deep does it run? Here in Germany, particularly in Berlin?
For me, it is normal. I moved here in 1994, after the wall had fallen and Germany became one again. In fact, all I have seen of the Berlin wall, really are just remnants. Artefacts only in an outdoor museum. I am amused about the hang-ups, still existing between those from the former East and West. By now, I am able to detect traits in accent, behaviour and attitude or looks and hairdo, indicating an East or West origin. But this is mainly true for older semesters. With younger folks, it is almost impossible to tell. Actually, folks younger than 25 should be just like me. Oblivious of the former separation. But some are still influenced by the views of their parents.
For my sweetheart, it is different. He was born in Berlin Wedding, before the wall was erected. He is able to recall the time it was built. He was a boy of eight, back in 1960, wondering, why they couldn’t see his aunts in Köpenick any more. Why all of a sudden people kept jumping out of windows on nearby Bornholmer Straße, to get into the West. He still gets outraged, remembering the difficulties to travel anywhere from Berlin West. Having to queue forever at the checkpoints. Being searched by the Vopos (Eastern Border police, called peoples’s police – Volkspolizisten). Later, just after the reunion, he retrained people in technical professions, being a mathematician, teaching math and electrical engineering. Musing about the completely different attitude and work ethics decades of Socialism had left Easterners with. A phenomenon, I experienced as well. This came as a total surprise to an Austrian, who always believed, Germans were the epitome of efficiency.
But all of this are just side notes. Overall, I get the impression, everbody is happy with how things are now. I watched the speech, President Weizsäcker held on October, 3rd, 1990. He closed with quoting the first line from the hymn played till today, when celebrating the reunion. It is not the German anthem but Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, the part starting with Freude, schöner Götterfunken (Joy, fair spark of the gods), saying: “Freude ist ein Götterfunken”.