The Haunted Land: Facing Europe's Ghosts After Communism

The Haunted Land: Facing Europe's Ghosts After Communism

Tina Rosenberg

Language: English

Pages: 464

ISBN: 0679744991

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The Pulitzer Prize-winning look at the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe

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1952 Adenauer paid 3 billion marks in reparations to the new state of Israel and during the late fifties and early sixties paid a billion marks to other victim nations. Reparations paid to individual Nazi victims, however, did not match the generosity of the pensions paid to Nazi officials and their families. German courts stripped many former prisoners of their reparations because they demonstrated leftist sympathies. Families of anti-Nazi resistance fighters received nothing, as did most

arrested, but they were marginalized, separated from any possible influence on national life. Dissident philosophers, writers, doctors, economists, and psychologists took the only jobs permitted: as coal stokers, night watchmen, window washers, street sweepers, and nurses’ aides. In their stokers’ huts and watch stations, dressed in uniforms and aprons, they discussed the categorical imperative and wrote essays on representational versus proportional voting. The purges went on for almost a decade

married, and Stasi rules prohibited sending married men abroad. His handlers assigned him to another department and seemingly lost interest. In the late 1970s he went to work at the Central Institute for Philosophy, sharing a desk with Wolfgang Templin, his friend since his first year of university. During college, then, they had been fellow Stasi agents, although neither had known it at the time. Templin had quit the Stasi after two years but had stayed in the Party, still holding the illusion

“The changes after Stalinism were not really profound,” Stern said. “There were critiques of mistakes, but no one admitted that the whole system was bad.” Till 1989 the StB continued to be the eastern European spy organization closest to the KGB. Czechoslovak spies did the KGB’s work in Latin America, Asia, and Africa—places in which the Czechoslovaks had no conceivable national interest. If the Czechoslovaks had ever been able to shrug off Soviet “advice,” as Stern said, by the mid-1950s they

news—broadcast at 4, 6, and 8 P.M.—is a half-hour roundup of government communiqués and the president’s ceremonial activities. Uzbekistan’s major hotel recently covered its entire front with a sixteen-story portrait of the nation’s leader. Romania recently began enforcing a long-dormant law prohibiting citizens from hosting foreign guests in their homes without reporting it to the police. The parliament even hiked the fine, which is now equal to more than two months’ average salary. These nations

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