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Photo: Amac Garbe

Ines Geipel: Umkämpfte Zone
Roter Salon

In German

Book launch

The author in conversation with Roland Jahn (director of Stasi Records Agency)
Presented by Jens Bisky (Süddeutsche Zeitung)

Umkämpfte Zone (Contested Zone) searches for answers to the question of why radicalisation is happening, without resorting to the currently dominant narratives of victimhood after 1989. It reports on orders of secrecy after the end of the Nazi-era, misrepresentations of history in the GDR, and political paraphrasing after German reunification. Repression and denial had a profound influence on society reaching into the private realm, as the author relates through an poignant account of her own family history.

The political coordinates of our country have changed radically since 2015 – especially in eastern Germany. What made the broad approval of Pegida, AfD and right-wing extremist thought possible? Ines Geipel tracks the political mythologizing of the newly-founded GDR government, its lies, commands of secrecy and system of fear that harshly attacked everything that didn't fit into the ideology. A serious process of dealing with the past couldn't take place under these conditions. It was more of a targeted policy of forgetting that occured, which was also mirrored in families – revealed paradigmatically in the family history of the author. Together with her brother, who she accompanied throughout his final weeks, Ines Geipel descends into the “family crypt”.

That which was repressed and denied in families corresponds to a collective amnesia. The trail leads to our national crisis in Germany.

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