I spoke today with a friend from Germany and he mentioned not having school. Confused I asked him why. He mentioned that it was Reunification Day (Tag der Deutschen Einheit) today. What this celebrates is the reabsorption of East Germany into West Germany, creating the current German state. This is actually a strange coincidence given that today I completed the first segment of the second part of my story, detailing the life of Lisa, a daughter of former East Germans.
In many respects this holiday is much like our 4th of July, it celebrates national unity and identity. However, you’d be hard pressed to find Germans waving the flag and reveling in the streets, theirs is a muted patriotism as they still strongly associate nationalism with the Nazi Party and the Third Reich (the German word for “nationalism” is “Nazionalismus). This fear of nationalism is central to the evolving issue of immigration in Germany. Many feel it necessary to try and preserve a distinctly German identity amongst the droves of immigrants sweeping into the country, but it is hard to express this without people pulling out the pitchforks and torches, crying “NAZI!” These questions of identity are the centerpiece of both sections of my story. In a country that was only relatively recently reunified, and with a people afraid to put their foot down and say, “We are German,” it is becoming increasingly relevant to ask, “What does it even mean to be German anymore?”
-Happy Reunification Day