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Heiner Müller on the Sell-Out of the GDR (July 30, 1990)

In an interview with the news magazine Der Spiegel, East German author Heiner Müller articulates the unease felt by many intellectuals on account of the rapid pace of unification. He predicts that introducing the Deutschmark will have problematic consequences, and he sadly reflects on the discrediting of the socialist dream of a better future.

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“Now it’s all just Unity Pabulum”
Dramatist Heiner Müller on Intellectuals and the Decline of the GDR

SPIEGEL: “What’s going on here is not unification but subjugation.” That’s a Heiner Müller sound bite from mid-July on German unity. Subjugation requires coercion. Are GDR citizens really being pressured into unification?

MÜLLER: Not at all. They wanted this unity and probably still do. It’s just that they imagined it differently. What’s happening now is economic subjugation.

SPIEGEL: How did GDR citizen Heiner Müller envision unification?

MÜLLER: It makes no sense to whine about some dream that was never fulfilled.

SPIEGEL: But you can describe it.

MÜLLER: That’s not so easy. I have always been regarded as a person who is directly interested in politics. But that’s nonsense. I am interested in writing and some other things, and politics is material, just like everything else.

[ . . . ]

SPIEGEL: Mr. Müller, you have always considered yourself a GDR writer, although you were only able to develop your talents in the West. What is the complex relationship between you and this state that is coming to an end?

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