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Social JusticePhoto (detail): Harald Hauswald @ Bundesstiftung Aufarbeitung

Social Justice

East and West Germany had different ideas about social justice. In the GDR, the idea prevailed that all citizens were equal and had the same right to goods, work, education etc. Social justice in the FRG meant that merit, equal opportunity and need were to be considered next to the equal access principle. Juxtaposing these systems, one may ask whether social justice exists at all. After Reunification, transitional justice concerns added another dimension to social justice: Questions about how to address abuses and violent crimes committed by people in the name of building a Communist society in the GDR- and how to heal- became important. These conversations are still ongoing.

What is equality? @ Goethe-Institut New York

What is just?

A lecture with Anna Laura Edelhoff, PhD, about four different notions of justice. Intended for children, but ideal for young-at-hearts- as well. 

Equality and women's rights @ Goethe-Institut New York

For German learners: Equality and women's rights

Compare and contrast the rights of women in divided Germany. 

Open Memory Box © Open Memory Box

Prefabricated Housing and Social Justice

Outward social class and status indicators were hardly visible in the GDR, testifying to a certain socialist egalitarianism. There was little social segregation, for instance, in the prefab concrete housing estates that sprung up around East German towns and cities during the Honecker era (1970s-80s). Videofootage taken by East German citizens. 

Reunification Revisited © Goethe-Institut New York

Unequal access to Education

We asked, Ingrid Miethe, PhD answered: What can we do as a society to prevent social inequality through unequal access to education? 
See answer.  

Frank Wolff Video still © Goethe-Institut New York

West German attitudes towards democracy

Were people critical of democracy in West Germany? 

Ulrike Neuendorf Video still © Goethe-Institut New York

Social Justice after Reunification

After Reunification: What did it mean to have worked for the Stasi?

Persecution and its aftermath Video still © Goethe-Institut New York

Persecution and Its Aftermath

We asked Mario Röllig: Why is your history of persecution in the GDR important? What can it help us understand?

Noa Ha Video still: @ Goethe-Institut New York

Work as a Grassroots Activist in Germany

Noa K.Ha, PhD tells us what her work as a grassroots activist dealing with migration issues in Germany looks like.

Mahdis Azarmandi Video still: © Goethe-Institut New York

How does one become a social justice organizer?

“Social justice organizer“ is such a big label, but what does it actually mean? Mahdis Azarmandi, PhD, takes us through her personal journey of activism, first around issues of migration and later as a queer-of-color organizer in Berlin. 

Additional Sources

Gleichberechtigung der Frau in DDR und BRD © YouTube

For German Learners: Equal Rights for Women in the FRG/GDR

When did women become equal spouses in the GDR/FRG? What about maternity protection? Was it possible to have an abortion and what rights did women have in case of a divorce?
Source: Mitteldeutsche Zeitung TV

DW's Anne-Sophie Brändlin © YouTube

How far have women come in Germany?

It hasn't been that long since women in Germany weren't allowed to work, drive a car or open a bank account without their husband's permission. And even today, there are quite some inequalities when it comes to men and women. But how aware are Germans about that? DW's Anne-Sophie Brändlin hit the streets of Berlin to find out.
Source: Deutsche Welle

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