12 November 2009

Retribution or accountability?

Jane's diary, dateline 12 November 1989:

Three SED district officials committed suicide yesterday. I worry about Schadenfreude. Hunting down the guilty ones as if none of the rest of us are guilty - have the CDU, LDPD, NDPD (the block parties linked to the SED) done nothing over these years. Are they going to get away without having to confess? I wonder how many people would not have been involved in corruption in some form or another.

Two of the new central committee members have already had to resign - Cottbus and Halle in SED districts voted them out of office at their respective local levels and they've had to go. The reasons aren't all that clear but Boehme (district SED secretary in Halle) may have been voted out because of the appalling violence in Halle on 9 October. It still isn't out in the open whether he or the Stasi chief gave the order "to clear the centre" ( very euphemistic expression). People are now saying the Stasi should be sent to the factories. All that listening in to, watching and frightening people doesn't bear thinking about.

Yesterday I was in Jüterbog to interpret for two Americans from the United Church of Christ. Jüterbog is small has four very enormous and very beautiful old churches, one now converted into a library. It was an old Handelstadt and has similar architecture to my beloved Hansastädte. This area of Brandenburg is called Fläming - rolling countryside and woods. The name and the architecture indicating the Dutch connection. I'm extremely cross I have allowed myself to be talked into this although it has been interesting in all kinds of ways ...

More amazing pictures from Berlin. The West Berlin police and the East German Grenztruppen working together. More jubilation and of course all the litter and rubbish, bottles, paper plates.

In Jütterbog as all overt the GDR the State Bank and the police were open all day on Saturday and Sunday to cope with the queues of people. The Reichsbahn has laid on extra trains, in Leipzig they ran out of tickets for people travelling to Berlin. Each year GDR people can change 5 Marks at 1 to 1 for 15 DM. This is nothing. Can the government really afford to make the currency convertible, rampant inflation is sure to follow. The new economic proposals seem to suggest some kind of price reform. When? How quickly the next change.

On AK2 (the East German television news) the strange sight of the head of the police advising people to leave their cars on the edge of Berlin and to try to avoid the overcrowded crossing points. "Unless you have to go over now, then don't. Please believe me this new law will last so try to be patient". Wierd! Then an interview - a real interview - with Krenz about reunification. Basically he said this is Herr Kohl's problem and not mine, The GDR constitution is very clear on this issue. Whether Kohl should consider sorting out the Basic law is another matter and on which I cannot decide and which is not a GDR matter.

Interpreting for the Americans again this morning in small village churches. Thankfully a fairly straightforward sermon in easy language - I was surprised at how easily it all went. I was very thankful for the French onion soup at lunchtime, I got very cold in the first church where we preached. Winter has finally arrived, frost this morning and a real November mist, damp cold getting through to your bones. Somehow it had seemed as though the summer would last for ever but maybe the greenhouse effect isn't bad enough yet for that.

My feminist anger is dying down a bit now but if I get called "Fräulein" once again I might just boil over.


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