My comment on the article Thirty years ago, I watched the Berlin Wall come down by Anne McElvoy in The Times.
The text is chaotic. It is raising questions and doubts rather than bringing answers. More noise than signal.
Egon Krenz’s son among friends? That’s interesting.
“Many of my friends hailed from families who were part of the nomenklatura, the bureaucratic establishment.”
In other words, you were surrounded by the young members of the Communist dictatorship’s inner circle.
“More overtly dissident friends lived in a niche society mixing with each other, passing Samizdat books around […]”
Would the author explain, please, whether and how did the group of “dissident friends” differ from the circle of dictatorship’s young members?
At the end of the article the author writes “Next week I will go back to Berlin and catch up with the old friends and the old stories. And as an honorary Ossi […]”
Catching up with Egon Krenz’s son and the like? What does the phrase “honorary Ossi” mean? Does it refer to both the guards of the Concentration Camp East Germany and the prisoners alike? The same word for both the perpetrators and the victims?
Note that Communists’ victims are eliminated from this narrative.
Now, let us do a little Gedankenexperiment. Imagine an analogous text about the Nazi regime. Replace names of the Communist officials with the Nazi ones. Substitute friendship with young people from the Communist inner circle for friendship with the young from the Nazi core. Eliminate victims of Nazism from the story about Nazism. How would you react to such article?
In sum, this narrative is not reliable.
In November 1989, I was a doctoral student at the University of Florida in the US. Having returned to Poland in 1995, I gradually learned that the Communist system of repression remained in place. I was refused participation in a Polish-American scientific conference in the field of my PhD studies. No explanation was given. I was constantly harassed and acutely discriminated in my university job. Later, when I openly demanded that my rights, declared theoretically in the constitution, be respected, I was expelled from the university. The year was 2015. I come from a family persecuted under Communism. My wife was also dismissed from her job for political reasons in 2015. Typical Communist methods were used against her as well.
There is much more to Communism than the Berlin Wall.