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3.31  ·  Rating Details  ·  518 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
"Ich such die DDR / und keiner weiß, wo sie ist", schrammelten die Anarcho-Punks von "Feeling B", nachdem ein gewisser Hans Modrow das, wie es damals hieß, "marode" Staatswesen besenrein an Helmut Kohl übergeben hatte. Seit dem Fall der Mauer war kaum ein Jahr vergangen, und wer damals an der Schwelle von Kindheit und Erwachsensein stand, hatte es wirklich nicht leicht: In ...more
Taschenbuch, 176 pages
Published June 30th 2003 by Rowohlt-Taschenbuch-Verlag (first published 2003)
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(showing 1-30 of 913)
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Stephen Durrant
This book is an important personal account of cultural dislocation. Jana Hensel was born in East Germany and was in her early teens in 1989 when the Berlin Wall fell. In her own words, "It frightens us to think that we were but brief guests in our native land." While she is not entirely nostalgic about her childhood in the GDR, she does remember a way of life and a set of values that were essentially wiped away at the time of reunification. So began her attempt to adapt to the reality of Western ...more
Ein Mädel, kaum älter als ich, berichtet über ihre Kindheit die sie in der damaligen DDR verbracht hat. Das ganze ist kein Roman sondern mehr eine Ansammlung von kleinen Essay-ähnlichen Kapiteln.
Da wir beide wie gesagt fast gleichaltrig sind, sind ihre Erlebnisse fast auch meine Erlebnisse und wirklich hab ich mir auf fast jeder Seite gedacht: genau so war es.
Ich stimme nicht ganz mit ihrer Ansicht überein, wie wir uns damals und nach der Wende selbst gesehen haben. Sowas ist immer subjektiv,
Mar 27, 2013 GONZA rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What will you do if your country chase to exist and everything that was known to you from one day to another is not there anymore? What would you feel if your new country is full of people that despise you or try to help you and you do not want to be helped? Life after the fall of the wall is different for whom was behind the wall. GDR life described by a girl that was thirteen when "her world" comes to an end and from her parents on, no adults are able to teach her how to live or survive in the ...more
Nov 27, 2009 Katniss rated it did not like it
This book was a pain in my neck. If it wasn't for my class, I would not have finished it. Jana Hensel totally annoyed me! Maybe it's my lacking ability to identify with the Eastern-Germany-I-lost-my-home-Theme ... but I doubt that. I'm usually quite interested in history and the event itself is fascinating, also the time and people. But Hensel is just one annoying Ossi.

I hoped to learn something about the German Democratic Republic and the way of life perceived by a mere child and the consequen
May 13, 2015 Andréa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Only gave this one a single star. My faculty partner assigned our students to read this text this term and thus I, of course, read it along with them as well. During the reading of this text my students and I had several discussions about the text and our issues with it. One issue is that there is not narrative to the story-- it is all just a collection of memories written in no particular order. Mostly explanations of the GDR. Some of my students mentioned that it just seemed like the author wa ...more
This is a pretty interesting book. Jana Hensel is of the last generation of the GDR. The Berlin Wall came down whens he was 13. Her perspective was interesting for me, mostly because we're about the same age. My perspective of East German and Soviet Union kids were equally as foreign as Hensel's description of Western kids.

While I think she paints in very broad strokes - saying things like "we" and "they" or "western people" a lot - it is a fairly well written exploration of what it was like on
Susan Ovans
Read this right after finishing Petropolis, which was a fictional story of coming of age in the Soviet Union. Jana Hensel, who wrote After the Wall, tells a real-life story of coming of age in the former GDR, known in the U.S. as East Germany, and of feeling adrift when, as a young teenager, the wall fell and her Communist country was reunited with the West.
The problem is that Ms. Hensel tells only her own story, and it's a boring one. It's hard to tell why this book apparently became an instan
Pam Rasmussen
I had an au pair who grew up in East Germany, then moved to the West, and I remember her telling me that she missed how the East took care of its residents. The West, she said, seemed rather cold and uncaring in contrast. That would be a surprise to many people who think Communism was all bad. Jana Hensel's book is indeed unique in focusing on the transition required of that generation. But what I found very sad was the sense of loss, confusion and abandonment felt by her parents' generation. An ...more
Apr 04, 2010 anieva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The voice of the author is often irritating, particularly because of the generalizations about groups of people which she makes quite firmly.

Nonetheless, I haven't seen a lot of books on this fascinating topic, so it was interesting. And, it's a really easy, quick read.

Was this young adult non-fiction does anyone know? For some reason, it seemed so, perhaps because of the age of the author during the time period in question.

She has another book in German, I think. Wonder if it was translated.
Aug 03, 2016 Dennis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sure, my boss gave me this one to read, but that doesn't mean I had to like it, right? I love getting a recommendation for something out of the blue, something I know nothing about, and finding that I really, really like it. In this case, Jana Hensel is a fellow Gen Xer, albeit one who grew up on the other side of the Cold War. She grew up in East Germany the same time I was a child of the West. So though the timelines of our lives are the same, the vantage points are vastly different.

And that i
Jun 05, 2015 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This small memoir is powerful--it changed my view of the Reunification of East and West Germany in 177 short pages. I also identified with Jana. I too couldn't go home again. My hometown was something many of the top students in my high school couldn't wait to leave behind, but when we did, we lost a great deal of the humility and solidarity with which we grew up. For the first time, I became aware that there was a big difference between wanting to be The People and wanting to be One People, and ...more
Feb 16, 2010 Daisy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Marieke
Recommended to Daisy by: Muphyn?
Every generation's experience of the GDR is different, from those who were alive before WWII, to their children who were born when East Germany was a "given," to those of different ages who lived through the Fall of the Wall. Hensel makes a point of stressing that she and kids of her generation often need to act as translators for their parents, even though their parents speak the language. Interesting.
Feb 25, 2015 Natira rated it it was ok
hmmm. Ich dachte, es ist ein autobiographisches Buch der Autorin, aber ich finde viele Passagen mit wir und "uns". Ich konnte nicht erkennen, was in diesem Zusammenhang ("wir", "uns") aus der Sphäre der Autorin stammt und was sie verallgemeinert (u. auf welcher Basis bzw. mit welcher Berechtigung). Oder ist der Gebrauch von "wir " u. "uns" nur stilistisches Mittel? Letzteres fände ich wegen der verallgemeinernden Wirkung in einem Buch der vorliegenden Art unpassend (gerade weil es grundsätzlich ...more
Apr 28, 2012 Jan-Maat added it
Recommended to Jan-Maat by: A book review
Written I think as Ostalgie was trending after the abandonment of everything associated with the DDR in the immediate post Wende period. Hensel recalls the particularities of her youth before 1989. It seems to me to be Leipzig-centric and I don't imagine it was entirely typical, but still very readable and sympathetic.
Kathy Halsan
Jan 11, 2009 Kathy Halsan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nathan gave me this book for Christmas. Having visited both East and West Berlin this summer and hearing stories frm some of our tour guides about the end of the GDR, this book was especially interesting. For these young people, they can "never go home again".
Jun 28, 2011 Kelly rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really thought there would be a lot of interesting anecdotes about East Germany, but I only found one or two things interesting and the rest of it came off as whiny.
A good rather quick read.I had an east German pen-friend whose life was directed by the state in terms of career options etc. and have been to Berlin and been struck by the differing architecture etc of East & West. So I was interested to see what this revealed but it was more elegiac about what was lost as well as gained, rather than detailing day to day life. what it did reveal, which I'd never thought of, was the sense of loss of roots and identity by the change occurring at such a format ...more
Aug 02, 2016 Anne rated it it was ok
Ik denk dat ik het woord 'verschwinden' en vervoegingen daarvan nog nooit zo vaak ben tegengekomen in een zo klein aantal bladzijden. Jana is een zeurpiet. Het hele boek lang doet ze zielig over hoe haar jeugd is verdwenen en er niks van de DDR is overgebleven, maar nergens geeft ze blijk van waardering, nooit zegt ze dat het er zo leuk was. Tuurlijk, ik heb soms ook best heimwee naar dingen die eigenlijk niet zo geweldig waren, maar om er dan een heel boek over te schrijven... En dan vooral een ...more
A good little book that looks back at the BRD Anschluss that dismembered the DDR and the effect that the desire by the West to eradicate its memory had on the last generation and their elders. The book contrasts and contradicts the (pre and post 1989) encouraged assumptions about life in the DDR without retreating into rose tinted Ostalgia. It is yet another valuable addition to the growing library which has developed on the US inspired and delivered brand of "freedom and democracy". The fact th ...more
Jun 23, 2009 blackteiwaz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: given-away
I found it to be very easy to read, although I expected something more structured. It wasn't written as a chronological account of facts, which is what I thought I would find. It felt a bit confusing to me at times, but then again, it reflects the confusing times the author lived.
I spent from 1988 to 1996 in a High School that was sponsored by Germany. I remember 1989 and the significance of the fall of the wall, I was 10 years old. We celebrated the reunification of Germany, but now I see that
Staci Wigton
It's common belief that life in the communist East Germany was terrible compared to the capitalist and "imperialist" West. Hensel's goal when writing this novel was show people that life growing up in the GDR wasn't all that bad and even criticizes the FDG and the westerners for being so narrow minded. When the Berlin Wall fell the west absorbed the east and all the GDR citizens had to conform to a new capitalist society that they were never accustomed to. Hensel mentions growing up in a classle ...more
Lars K Jensen
Aug 16, 2016 Lars K Jensen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I recently visited Berlin and saw a couple of sights from the former DDR/GDR and East Berlin which got me thinking 'How do you integrate people who have lived in/under this system into West Germany and West Berlin'..?

This book helped me better understand what it's like to grow up in a country that then vanishes underneath your feet (Hensel was 13 years old when the wall fell and East Germany ceased to exist as a separate country).

As other reviewers have pointed out this is not a thorough work or
Jan 13, 2015 Jenni rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The stories about childhood in DDR were the most interesting part of this book, and if you're interested in that, this is the book for you. However, much of the angst about not fitting into the world that came after it I just couldn't connect with. Maybe it's because I wasn't born in DDR, but I have a feeling it was also because of the structure of the book. It was a little bit too much jumping back and forth with the theme-based chapters.
Jan 15, 2010 Kendra rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book enlightened me to the mindset of the East Germans at the time of the Berlin wall and in the years after the wall came down. I learned a lot about East Germany and the GDR that I did not know before as most of my history classes have focused primarily on West Germany, the Nazis, and the Holocaust, rarely if ever mentioning East Germany and the GDR. With that said, I did think that Jana Hensel could be a little bit repetitive and whiny during the telling of her story. I am sorry ...more
Vanessa Chacon
Ehh. I did learn a couple things and this is the only reason I gave it two stars. The author though is really annoying and she sounds like a former princess complaining about her slightly less standing in society. It's not enlightening in any way or inspirational for that matter. Save yourself time and money and read The Kite Runner instead since it touches many of the same themes in a more heartfelt way.
This book is a fascinating look at the generation 'in-between' from the GDR - the ones who spent their childhood as East Germans and their adolescence in the reunified/ transformation period. This in itself is fascinating because as children they have only a vague awareness of the political context of their lives and its significance. Also, they have no experience of East Germany in the most difficult years. Still, she clearly articulates how one can lose one's sense of connection with their chi ...more
Telaara Dunwin
Apr 28, 2014 Telaara Dunwin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Oh Mann, war das übel. Ich gehöre ja selbst zur Generation der "Zonenkinder", aber die Erfahrungen der Autorin decken sich nicht einmal annäherungsweise mit meinen. Aber das wäre ja nicht so schlimm, da ja jeder die Welt anders erlebt. Schlimm war der Stil, in dem das Buch geschrieben wurde: vollkommenes inhaltliches Durcheinander, kein Konzept und der weitgehende Verzicht, diese biographische Geschichte auch biographisch darzustellen. Stattdessen immer nur ein "Wir", so als ob alle Kinder diese ...more
Mar 14, 2010 Susann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hensel spent her childhood in East Germany and was 13 years old when the Wall fell. Her essays describe her teenage and young adult years, as she tries to adapt to life in a new country (the united Germany), where she is fluent in the language but clueless in the culture.

I was fascinated by the details of Hensel's East German childhood [would I have enjoyed being a Young Pioneer, I wonder?] and by the disconnect she felt with her West German peers. Although Hensel wrote this before the era of bl
Nov 12, 2013 Kaija rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What I found very interesting about this book that I visited Berlin a few years ago, and many things they talked about, the perspections of each side respectively, were mentioned while I was there. I spoke to some people from East Germany and some from West Germany, and to see their opnion reflected in this book was very interesting.
I have not read anything else about the integration of these people back into their proper country. It does make me want to read more about it, but I'm not sure I'll
Bruce Bowman
Nov 06, 2014 Bruce Bowman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ms. Hensel does an excellent job of portraying the sense of loss many East Germans must have felt after reunification. This is a truly bittersweet look at the GDR.
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