“In principle, it no longer matters if journalists tell the truth, because here we all feel the truth!” These phrases came to me in an email a few days ago, in response to my last column.

It was written by a 55-year-old woman from near Berlin. She tells me that she spent her youth in the GDR. The change was a great blessing for her, but now things are exactly the same as they were then. “We're back where we were 35 years ago.”

New evil spirits arising

She “feels” the truth, this phrase was of particular interest to me. Even if I think comparisons to dictatorships are exaggerated, they must feel something like they did when they were young. I decided to call her.

After all, she's not the only one who thinks that way. I have come across similar statements several times from people who are convinced that new evil spirits are currently arising in Germany. The interesting thing: when they say evil spirits, they do not mean the AfD. Rather, they are people who can imagine themselves voting for the AfD.

Being forced to adopt thought structures.

It's eight in the morning when I call the woman near Berlin. She is an early riser. She is a goldsmith by profession. Her father was already a goldsmith and in her entire family there are many artisans, watchmakers and engravers. Her husband is a master bricklayer and they have two children. Normal people, she says.

He says he experienced the essence of the GDR first-hand during his school years. “This forced communism, this being forced to enter the structures of thought. “We should believe and think what we have been told.” It was an open secret that the state media was lying to the people. However, they could not impose the desired thinking on many citizens of the GDR.

elevated to immaturity

I was 20 years old when the Berlin Wall fell. He had just finished his training as a goldsmith. The change was a great opportunity, he remembers. “Suddenly we had the opportunity to create something through our work.” Since then, he says he has been very lucky in life.

But now something from that time has returned. She has that feeling again, she feels a lack of freedom, like before the fall of the Wall. “It is imposed on us what we have to think, say, eat and do.” They elevate us to a certain immaturity, just as it happened in the GDR.

“The State takes care of everything, the main thing is that you make a difference. The main thing is that we work so that we can do something to protect the climate and redistribute the money.” The woman on the phone is especially bothered by redistributing it to those who do not feel like working. So that others can take a break from their work.

Many in the East feel this concern, he says.

Many people in the East have this feeling, just like her. They are particularly sensitive to such events. “We have many more such antennas about what is really happening around us.”

What it really is does not appear in the media. Rather, people are constantly bombarded with things like “the AfD is shit, they're all Nazis, you should all change your gender.” And he continues defiantly: “But we will not let any ideas be imposed on us. . “That’s how the East works.”

When the woman reads articles in online media on the phone, she and her husband consider the reader's comments to be the most important. “Because we use it to evaluate how correct our feelings are. The first thing is the feeling, but the second thing I control is the feeling, how realistic it is. I can also correct it.”

An atmosphere of adaptation

She believes her intuition returned in 2015 with the refugee crisis. She later felt that she had to adapt again. Having to adapt to new thought structures and having problems when it breaks out.

The coronavirus pandemic has made all this even worse. Basic rights have been undermined, she says. “Freedom of demonstration, the inviolability of the apartment. I wondered where the freedoms we had fought for had gone.”

Suddenly she, too, experienced a new culture of denunciation. Neighbors who should report each other if they violated the Corona rules. The feeling of being monitored. Like then, when the Stasi put a silent listener in the restaurant during the consecration of youth, the equivalent of Christian holidays in the GDR.

Good and bad: the bad guys are now the AfD and its voters

The woman on the phone grew up in a world where there were those who had correct socialist feelings and those who had ostracized and wrong feelings. To this day she still wonders why she was allowed to graduate from high school, given that her father was actually a “bad capitalist” since he was self-employed. A world of good and evil: the bad guys are now the AfD and its voters, she says.

What she wants: “That different opinions can arise without anyone saying: 'Yuck, you're green or yuck, you're an AfD voter.' We need to talk at eye level again. I also don't like the view of some of my neighbors or family, but we still sit at a table, drink coffee and discuss. We have to get back to the point where things that are not popular, that a certain group of the population does not want to hear, are discussed again in the newspapers and we are not ridiculed for it.”

She used to be medium

In fact, he sees his political home in the bourgeois liberal center, with the FDP. At least in the past, he adds. “I stayed there and didn't walk away at all. But the parties have moved away. So what happened? I'm on the right now. Although I never changed my mind.”