For Some Germans, Unity Is Still Work in Progress [New York Times]The discussion has primarily emphasized financial disparities: wages in the east remain at 80 percent of the west’s; the unemployment rate in the east is nearly 12 percent, about double that in the west; and the average wealth of an East German family is about 40 percent lower than its West German counterpart. And of course, those in the West often complain about the $1.7 trillion paid — so far — to rebuild and prop up the east.
Yet no one here is whitewashing the disappointment, the sense even now, two decades later, of feeling treated as immigrants in their own country, of the deeply insulting perception that their values — forged in a socialist state — were expunged and delegitimized. No one forgets that some of the former states are struggling financially and still losing population, and that 30 percent of the jobs in the east vanished with reunification.
“There is an East German identity, yes, but it must be,” said Ms. Kummer’s close friend Katrin Fromm, 44, a surgical nurse in Erfurt. “It was my life; you cannot just say the East is out.”
When Korea is unified, it will be lucky to have only that level of anxiety after 30 years.