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Istituto per i Beni Culturali Emilia-Romagna

Memoria e Ricerca

Revolution and Unity. Twenty years of “culture of memory” in united Germany

di Vera Caroline Simon
in Memoria e Ricerca n.s. 34 (2010), p. 81

The article explores the evolution of German memory culture since Reunification by examining the commemorations of the events of 1989-90. The 9th November, when the Berlin wall fell, was not made into the national day of reunified Germany since the date also commemorates Kristallnacht of 1938. Yet, the “party of freedom” celebrated on 9th November 2009 revealed some significant changes in German memory culture. Without omitting the events of 1938, the fall of the Berlin wall was clearly at the heart of this celebration, therefore reflecting the quest for positive identification with German history. This urge to promote a new founding myth of the first successful German revolution on the one hand and a long German democratic tradition on the other, is also perceptible on the official national day. The latter, however, is widely criticised and reveals competing interpretations of the events of 1989-90 from a political and East-and West-German perspectives alike.