After the Wall

Finished reading After the Wall: Confessions from an East German Childhood and the Life That Came Next by Jana Hensel. Written in 2004, it’s now been another 15 years since it was written. I realized that it wasn’t really all that long ago that the Berlin Wall still stood. I understood this on a mathematical level but the book made it more concrete to me. The German title was Zonekinder, which translates to “children of the zone,” and was an instant best seller. Some thoughts that pop up in my head are how we Americans generally learn nothing about the world, how centric our view is.

Another thought is how there are things that can never be fixed. The zonekinders came of age straddling a socialist childhood and a capitalistic adulthood. How does one reconcile that? I think back to 2008 of those that graduated into the Great Recession here in the States, straddling the relative economic boom their parents had and their lack of well-paying jobs, loaded with school debt, living at home in their thirties. Some factors beyond our control alter and change our lives in ways that we can’t remediate. Both groups of people are forever changed by the world events that they had no say or power over.