Markus Wolf dies

#1
Markus Wolf, the last head of the East German intelligence service, the Ministerium für Staatssicherheit (Stasi) died yesterday.

Coincidentally, yesterday was also the 17th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
 
#2
I read that yesterday too, Chinggis. I met this geezer at the beginning of 1992 at a PDS rally. A most charming and erudite person. It's such a shame he was vilified by the "Wessies". They even put him on trial for treason at one time! It was noticable that his one-time counterpart in the corresponding West-German organisation wasn't charged with the same crime, instead he went on to become the West-German Foreign Minister and was responsible for insisting on that reprehensible passage in the reunification contract between the two Germanys which mandated returning property in the GDR to its "rightful owners" instead of paying compensation.

The "victors" always dictate the terms.

MsG
 
#3
He was head of the HVA, the foreign intelligence arm of the Stasi, not the entire thing. One of the great Cold War spymasters.
 
#4
CarpeDiem said:
He was head of the HVA, the foreign intelligence arm of the Stasi, not the entire thing. One of the great Cold War spymasters.
Ah! Well spotted indeed, CarpeDiem. The last head of the Stasi was in fact Erich (ich liebe euch alle) Mielke.

MsG
 
#5
Bugsy7 said:
I read that yesterday too, Chinggis. I met this geezer at the beginning of 1992 at a PDS rally. A most charming and erudite person. It's such a shame he was vilified by the "Wessies". They even put him on trial for treason at one time! It was noticable that his one-time counterpart in the corresponding West-German organisation wasn't charged with the same crime, instead he went on to become the West-German Foreign Minister and was responsible for insisting on that reprehensible passage in the reunification contract between the two Germanys which mandated returning property in the GDR to its "rightful owners" instead of paying compensation.

The "victors" always dictate the terms.

MsG
What's wrong with returning property stolen by the Communists? After all, considering that the Soviets made it a provision of German reunification that no property expropriated between 1945-49 should be returned to their original owners (which is why so many estates, castles, and manor houses are still vacant), I hardly think the passage in the reunification contract you mention was "reprehensible"; believe me, had you or yours beeen thrown out of their home of several centuries, you'd want it back, not compensation.

Maybe the "losers" shouldn't have stolen millon of acres of land, thousands of homes, and murdered or imprisoned countless thousands. Retribution's a b*tch.
 
#6
gallowglass said:
Bugsy7 said:
I read that yesterday too, Chinggis. I met this geezer at the beginning of 1992 at a PDS rally. A most charming and erudite person. It's such a shame he was vilified by the "Wessies". They even put him on trial for treason at one time! It was noticable that his one-time counterpart in the corresponding West-German organisation wasn't charged with the same crime, instead he went on to become the West-German Foreign Minister and was responsible for insisting on that reprehensible passage in the reunification contract between the two Germanys which mandated returning property in the GDR to its "rightful owners" instead of paying compensation.

The "victors" always dictate the terms.

MsG

What's wrong with returning property stolen by the Communists? After all, considering that the Soviets made it a provision of German reunification that no property expropriated between 1945-49 should be returned to their original owners (which is why so many estates, castles, and manor houses are still vacant), I hardly think the passage in the reunification contract you mention was "reprehensible"; believe me, had you or yours beeen thrown out of their home of several centuries, you'd want it back, not compensation.

Maybe the "losers" shouldn't have stolen millon of acres of land, thousands of homes, and murdered or imprisoned countless thousands. Retribution's a b*tch.
problem is many of the owner either moved on and made new life or died, tracing them is also impossible in some cases as well, some claim can also be bogus, it would have been simpler to have drawn a line under the past and move on instead of lingering over open wounds
 
#7
gallowglass said:
Bugsy7 said:
I read that yesterday too, Chinggis. I met this geezer at the beginning of 1992 at a PDS rally. A most charming and erudite person. It's such a shame he was vilified by the "Wessies". They even put him on trial for treason at one time! It was noticeable that his one-time counterpart in the corresponding West-German organisation wasn't charged with the same crime, instead he went on to become the West-German Foreign Minister and was responsible for insisting on that reprehensible passage in the reunification contract between the two Germanys which mandated returning property in the GDR to its "rightful owners" instead of paying compensation.

The "victors" always dictate the terms.

MsG
What's wrong with returning property stolen by the Communists? After all, considering that the Soviets made it a provision of German reunification that no property expropriated between 1945-49 should be returned to their original owners (which is why so many estates, castles, and manor houses are still vacant), I hardly think the passage in the reunification contract you mention was "reprehensible"; believe me, had you or yours been thrown out of their home of several centuries, you'd want it back, not compensation.

Maybe the "losers" shouldn't have stolen millions of acres of land, thousands of homes, and murdered or imprisoned countless thousands. Retribution's a b*tch.
Well done, gallowglass! Top marks for knowing fück-all about German reunification! The question of expropriation of property was one of the main subjects of the “Oder-Neisse Verhandlungen” dealt with in the early Seventies by the East and West German gobments, in which it was agreed that such property was forfeit. This was a valid agreement between two sovereign states which didn’t become invalid because of the (peaceful) fall of one of them!

It fell upon Klaus Kinkel, the Foreign Minister at the time, to insist upon repatriation of all properties, since his party, the West-German FDP, had fallen upon very hard times and saw this as a prime opportunity to flog off all the property (nominally) belonging to the (East-German) FDP, and thus expand the party coffers. Since Klaus Kinkel was too stupid to insist on exceptions, the clause encompassed any and all property from when and where. Thus, as a West-German, if you could reliably prove that your great-grandfather’s Dalmatian once p1ssed up the gatepost of said property, you were in with a chance of taking ownership. Believe me, I know what I’m talking about on this!

Home of several centuries? Don’t make me fückin’ laugh!

MsG
 
#9
Have known several Germans who found themselves in a position post reunification to lay claim to houses/ land in former DDR: all were of the view that it was their great good fortune to have ended up on the Western side of the IGB where, without exception, they'd prospered, and had no desire to turf "Ossis" out of what were now THEIR homes.

Appreciate that not all Germans feel/ felt this way, but - on balance, and in strict law, as well as in terms of "natural justice" - find myself in agreement with "Bugsy" on this one!
 
#11
frenchperson said:
Bugsy, he's has had that effect on me from time to time. He's sometimes very good for a giggle during the quieter moments. Good old GG
Oh no! I'm being slagged off by frenchperson and Bugsy - it's the united leftist/conspirazoid front! Ahhhh! Run for your lives!


Bugsy said:
Well done, gallowglass! Top marks for knowing fück-all about German reunification! The question of expropriation of property was one of the main subjects of the “Oder-Neisse Verhandlungen” dealt with in the early Seventies by the East and West German gobments, in which it was agreed that such property was forfeit. This was a valid agreement between two sovereign states which didn’t become invalid because of the (peaceful) fall of one of them!

It fell upon Klaus Kinkel, the Foreign Minister at the time, to insist upon repatriation of all properties, since his party, the West-German FDP, had fallen upon very hard times and saw this as a prime opportunity to flog off all the property (nominally) belonging to the (East-German) FDP, and thus expand the party coffers. Since Klaus Kinkel was too stupid to insist on exceptions, the clause encompassed any and all property from when and where. Thus, as a West-German, if you could reliably prove that your great-grandfather’s Dalmatian once p1ssed up the gatepost of said property, you were in with a chance of taking ownership. Believe me, I know what I’m talking about on this!

Home of several centuries? Don’t make me fückin’ laugh!

MsG
Come on Bugsy, how long do you think the hundreds of palaces, manor houses, and castles in the former DDR had been lived in before the Workers' and Peasants' Paradise was imposed. Have you been to any of these places? I'll take your word regarding what you say, however, I would direct you to such works as Beyond the Wall: The Lost World of East Germany by Simon Marsden - he mentions the ruling regarding expropriations between 1945 and 1949. I knew people whose families had been thrown out of homes and off properties which had belonged to them for centuries - are you suggesting this didn't happen?

I do not blame those 'ordinary' East Germans who were settled on or told to live on these former properties - after all, it had been the Soviets and their East German pre-SED lackeys who had engaged in the initial theft. However, I'm old fashioned - if some class-warrior had thrown me out of my home in 1945 and murdered members of my family, I'd want what was mine back.

Back on thread - I admired Markus Wolf, as he was a thorough professional.
 
#12
Dear Gallowglass,

I lived in East-Germany from Aug 1977 to Nov 1978, and again from Jan 1991 to March 1996. So it's not as though I'm not acquainted with the place. The "Oder-Neisse Contract", which placed the border of the GDR along those two rivers and thus ended the contentious issue of Germany actually being divided into three parts, was quite clear on this. Any claims to property expropriated by the GDR between the end of WWII and the signing of the contract (I think) in 1972 were declared null and void. On that basis, many East-Germans steadily improved their properties over the intervening years, only to have them snatched away after reunification rendering them homeless.

I personally was privy to all manner of chicanery exerted on good friends by "Wessies" during the time I was there after reunification. The main problem was that West-German law was imposed on East-Germany, but the East-German judges hadn't a clue about it. Thus it was left up to "imported" West-German judges to interpret it. They obviously sided with their countrywo/men and manufactured all sorts of glaring injustices.

People were committing suicide in droves because of this, but it was never reported in other countries.

MsG

PS: My new book "Backlash" examines the problem in much greater depth (if it ever gets published).
 
#13
Gents - you both have a point, up to a point.

For every wrong done in re-unification there was a right - that's life. I've spot to many Ost Deutschers who have substantially improved their lot but obviously the ones who have suffered won't have the dosh to meet me in Barbados.

Time is the only healer for a division such as we saw and there will be many more injustices before it's all over.
 
#14
Bugsy said:
Dear Gallowglass,

I lived in East-Germany from Aug 1977 to Nov 1978, and again from Jan 1991 to March 1996. So it's not as though I'm not acquainted with the place. The "Oder-Neisse Contract", which placed the border of the GDR along those two rivers and thus ended the contentious issue of Germany actually being divided into three parts, was quite clear on this. Any claims to property expropriated by the GDR between the end of WWII and the signing of the contract (I think) in 1972 were declared null and void. On that basis, many East-Germans steadily improved their properties over the intervening years, only to have them snatched away after reunification rendering them homeless.

I personally was privy to all manner of chicanery exerted on good friends by "Wessies" during the time I was there after reunification. The main problem was that West-German law was imposed on East-Germany, but the East-German judges hadn't a clue about it. Thus it was left up to "imported" West-German judges to interpret it. They obviously sided with their countrywo/men and manufactured all sorts of glaring injustices.

People were committing suicide in droves because of this, but it was never reported in other countries.

MsG

PS: My new book "Backlash" examines the problem in much greater depth (if it ever gets published).
Howdo Bugsy,

I defer to you greater personal knowledge in this regard. Personally, I have to admit to preferring Ossies to Wessies, as - paradoxically - I found the former to be somehow 'more German' and less stuck up their own you-know-whats. I agree with you that reunification was rammed down the necks of the East Germans, and that the Easterners are the poorer for it. For what it's worth, I'll try to dig out the reference in the Simon Marsden book regarding expropriated properties.

Is Backlash a working title? - if so, do let me know, as I would like to read it.

gg
 
#15
Don't forget that income tax had to go up in the West to pay for new housing, social schemes and job creation, while at the same time wages were being driven down by the cheap influx of East German labour.

It's always a two-edged blade.
 
#16
GDav said:
Don't forget that income tax had to go up in the West to pay for new housing, social schemes and job creation, while at the same time wages were being driven down by the cheap influx of East German labour.

It's always a two-edged blade.
Indeed. I remember some Germans I knew in Baden-Baden expressing the view that the Wall should be put back up - in 1993.
 
#17
GDav said:
Don't forget that income tax had to go up in the West to pay for new housing, social schemes and job creation, while at the same time wages were being driven down by the cheap influx of East German labour.

It's always a two-edged blade.
Sorry, GDav, but I beg to differ on this one. What was actually imposed was an 11% "Solidarity Supplement" (Solidaritätsbeitrag), which was/is paid by "Ossies" and "Wessies" alike.

And don't necessarily believe all the propaganda you read either. The main thrust of West-German industry was to create markets in the East for their own products, since West-Germany was experiencing a very serious economic downturn at the time (late 1980s). As such, they used their malevolent influence to destroy even viable concerns in East-Germany to get rid of competition.

A prime example was the "Cottbusser Textil Combinat". They were producing garmants at world prices for Woolworth's, C&A, Quelle, Neckerman and many other companies. The combine was summarily refused loans by all the West-German banks. Even attempts to obtain loans from other countries were effectively blocked by the West-German gobment. I know this since I was responsible for all the translations into English and the former manager, Ralph Sch***** is to this day one of my closest and dearest friends.

And never forget that the "Wessies" blithely told the "Ossies": "You'll have to be content with earning 25% less than your West-German counterparts, because you're not used to having so much money!"

Capitalism! Don'tcha just fückin' love it?

Dear Gallowglas,

No, "Backlash" is the final title of my book. I'll let you have more info on it as soon as I have any more myself. :D :D :D

And, strangely, Gallowglass, I totally agree with you. I've a lot more time for the "Ossies" than the "Wessies". What happened to them was a lot like what happened to the Irish when the Brits showed up - only not nearly as traumatic! And no (Awol) I'm not Brit-bashing!!!

MsG
 
#18
Bugsy said:
GDav said:
Don't forget that income tax had to go up in the West to pay for new housing, social schemes and job creation, while at the same time wages were being driven down by the cheap influx of East German labour.

It's always a two-edged blade.
Sorry, GDav, but I beg to differ on this one. What was actually imposed was an 11% "Solidarity Supplement" (Solidaritätsbeitrag), which was/is paid by "Ossies" and "Wessies" alike.

And don't necessarily believe all the propaganda you read either. The main thrust of West-German industry was to create markets in the East for their own products, since West-Germany was experiencing a very serious economic downturn at the time (late 1980s). As such, they used their malevolent influence to destroy even viable concerns in East-Germany to get rid of competition.

A prime example was the "Cottbusser Textil Combinat". They were producing garmants at world prices for Woolworth's, C&A, Quelle, Neckerman and many other companies. The combine was summarily refused loans by all the West-German banks. Even attempts to obtain loans from other countries were effectively blocked by the West-German gobment. I know this since I was responsible for all the translations into English and the former manager, Ralph Sch***** is to this day one of my closest and dearest friends.

And never forget that the "Wessies" blithely told the "Ossies": "You'll have to be content with earning 25% less than your West-German counterparts, because you're not used to having so much money!"

Capitalism! Don'tcha just fückin' love it?

Dear Gallowglas,

No, "Backlash" is the final title of my book. I'll let you have more info on it as soon as I have any more myself. :D :D :D

And, strangely, Gallowglass, I totally agree with you. I've a lot more time for the "Ossies" than the "Wessies". What happened to them was a lot like what happened to the Irish when the Brits showed up - only not nearly as traumatic! And no (Awol) I'm not Brit-bashing!!!

MsG
I keep saying, there are incidences both ways (and your tax is a tax - regardless of what it is called , don't forget rates went up in the Bundesbank too as a result). You, quite rightly, tell of of the adverse effect unification had in some areas, for some people. On the other hand I merely point out that it was good for others and that's undeniable.

I'm not saying this just to take issue with you, I firmly believe that re-unification was both necessary and worthwhile. I can accept the way the two different systems would have been at odds and that the majority wins even at the expense of fair play.

You can't say there was a deliberate policy of discrimination against the East however. Look at the Mittelstand Investment Policy. As a result of encouraging West German mechanical engineering firms to invest in outdated Eastern plant and tooling this particular field has increased from 30% to 35% of GDP in the former Soviet zone. Although that doesn't seem to be a huge rise you must bear in mind that mechanical engineering only accounted for 40% of GDP in the West prior to reunification.

Sure mistakes have been made, just as in Ireland. Maxwell should have thought twice before making martyrs of the ringleaders and Asquith, Churchill and Lloyd George should have thought twice before letting an integral and totally assimilated part of the United Kingdom be turned over to a band of eejits who ran the country's economy down for 70 years before the world (particularly Europe and the US) bailed it out.

The you wouldn't be paying a supertax band of 42% over what is essentially only a basic salary - and a £5 pint would be the stuff of music halls - not reality.

;)
 
#19
GDav said:
I keep saying, there are incidences both ways (and your tax is a tax - regardless of what it is called , don't forget rates went up in the Bundesbank too as a result).You, quite rightly, tell of of the adverse effect unification had in some areas, for some people. On the other hand I merely point out that it was good for others and that's undeniable.
Gdav, as much as I admire you, and I really do, I’m afraid you have just fück-all idea about what went down during the process of German reunification! I was there! I was in the middle of it! I had to juggle West-German small change with East-German small (aluminium) change because there wasn’t enough of the former around! I also saw just what the West-Germans were capable of in their quest to give all the advantages to their home side. Don’t fückin’ try to lecture me on German reunification, please!

GDav said:
You can't say there was a deliberate policy of discrimination against the East however. Look at the Mittelstand Investment Policy. As a result of encouraging West German mechanical engineering firms to invest in outdated Eastern plant and tooling this particular field has increased from 30% to 35% of GDP in the former Soviet zone. Although that doesn't seem to be a huge rise you must bear in mind that mechanical engineering only accounted for 40% of GDP in the West prior to reunification
Don’t make my fückin’ arrse ache, Gdav! Let’s take a look at your “Mittelstands-Invetment-Politik” (SMSE (Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise) Investment Policy) for a moment! What it effectively meant was that investors from West-Germany could offset their profits from their first operating year against potential profits from their second year and thus pay no taxes at all. Whereas East-German entrepreneurs who wanted to launch exactly the same sort of operation had to pay taxes three months in advance right from the beginning, whether they made any profit or not. This is not just Bugsy ringing off on this because he's a socialist– it’s officially documented!

And you call that fair?

How about a school complex in Bautzen, for which 17 (that’s SEVENTEEN!) different GDR companies put in bids and which was eventually sold off to a West-German outfit for DM 233,000 lower than the lowest bid put in by any of the East-German companies? This was in the days of the DM, of course.

See anything untoward there, Gdav?

Try this for size: Deutsche Bank acquired a property in Cottbus valued at DM1.7 million for just DM80,000! And wahddya know? It’s right next to the Landesbank building (value: DM2.23 million, actual purchase cost: DM645,000).

GDav said:
Sure mistakes have been made, just as in Ireland.
And don’t even get me fückin’ started on Ireland, Gdav!

MsG
 

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