Pforzheim – A City of Arrival
Associated PhD project
The influx of 3.8 million people who fled and left East Germany or were ransomed by the West German government between 1949 and 1990, some of them at the risk of their own lives, confronted society and politics in West Germany as well as the new arrivals themselves with substantial challenges. After almost complete destruction during the Second World War, the city of Pforzheim became, as a result of the subsequent economic upsurge, a focal point for many newcomers – from expellees, via refugees from the Soviet Occupation Zone and the GDR, guest workers and late repatriates, to asylum seekers. In a local study, it will be considered how the integration process was implemented by administration and society over the years, using the example of refugees from East Germany. The personal experiences of former East German citizens will be included here. A starting point for this will be the GDR Museum in Pforzheim, the only one of its kind in the old federal states. The volunteers who work there, some with and some without a connection to the GDR, have developed, deep in the ‘West’, a special way of dealing with memories of divided Germany, which the project can build on.
Leibniz Centre for Contemporary History
Am Neuen Markt 1
e-mail: schmidtmann [at] zzf-potsdam.de