Foreign Languages & Literatures ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 4-27-2020


This thesis analyzes the experiences constituting the protagonists’ adolescence in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) as portrayed in Thomas Brussig’s book Am kürzeren Ende der Sonnenallee, Leander Haußmann’s film Sonnenallee, and Wolfgang Becker’s film Good Bye, Lenin!. These narratives challenge assumptions that the phenomenon Ostalgie indicates a desire to return to the actual conditions of life in the former East. Using Svetlana Boym’s work on post-communist nostalgia as a theoretical framework, I argue that the representations of life in the East as presented in these texts are the protagonists’ reinterpretations of the past. The protagonists develop nostalgia for their youth only after the country’s dissolution. This alludes to actual difficulties faced by East Germans following Reunification, including the lack of acknowledgement towards the East’s socialist values, as well as the perception that the Eastern experience differed greatly from that of the West.


Nostalgia, Ostalgie, East Germany, German film, German Reunification, Post-Communist Europe, German Democratic Republic

Document Type




Degree Name

German Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures

First Committee Member (Chair)

Katrin Schroeter

Second Committee Member

Susanne Baackmann

Third Committee Member

Jason Wilby