SPIEGEL: Professor Masur, you're credited with being one of the people who kept the Monday demonstrations held in Leipzig in 1989 to protest the East German government from turning bloody. As the situation was threatening to escalate, loudspeakers in Leipzig broadcast your appeal, in which you asked the city's inhabitants: "We urgently request that you remain calm so as to make peaceful dialogue possible." And, as it turned out, the demonstrations did remain peaceful. What's left of the spirit of that era?
Kurt Masur: I'm reluctant to answer this question. The spirit of those days has pretty much been exhausted, and things haven't turned out well for everyone. In fact, for many people, reunification has meant more suffering than gain. And many are quite desperate.
SPIEGEL: What do you mean by desperate?
Masur: I know of people who decided to kill themselves because they'd lost everything dependable in their lives. Just look in the eyes of the young people: Just one year after reunification, most had lost their sparkle. On the one hand, there's unemployment and the feeling of being superfluous. On the other hand, many in this generation never even try to find a job. They figure out that they can live fairly well off government benefits and earning a little extra money on the side.
One of many who became dissatisfied with the "peaceful revolution" of 1989, Kurt Masur, describes how many East Germans lost hopes around the time of unification.
Kronsbein, J. & Thimm, K. (2010) Interview With Conductor Kurt Masur: 'The Spirit of 1989 Has Been Exhausted'. [Online] http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,721851,00.html#ref=nlint [17/10/2010]