German Unification Case Study

The Characters Group A



Historical Background


Goals &




Group A: Social Issues

Map of GermanyThis page functions as the gateway to the description and background information of your character. Please click on your character's name to find out more about him/her. Additionally, you are introduced to your fellow discussion group members. Please do not read the long descriptions of the other characters.

(1) Eva Schmidt-Braunemünde, a 38-year-old ranking member of the West-German Greens, an environmental protest party recruiting new members in the East. Initially opposed to unification, she is concerned about the cost of unification since this could lead to cuts in the social and environmental protection sector. The Green Party now pursues the cleanup of years of unchecked industrial pollution of the environment in the East. Ms. Schmidt-Braunemünde is a feminist, single and has one son.

(2) Hartmut Völker, a business man from Nürnberg representing investors looking to buy up land and factories in the East. He welcomes unification and supports it strongly. Unification not only means business opportunities (the opening of an untapped market and investment opportunities), but will also rectify the historical injustice of separating one people. Mr. Völker is a devout catholic, married and has four grown children.

(3) Annemarie Schönfeldt, a 44-year-old chemical engineer from Dresden who has been fired after her firm hired a snazzy male manager from the West. Ms. Schönfeldt believes that unification has proceeded entirely too quickly and in a fashion which is more akin to annexation than unification. Women in particular seem to be getting the short end of the stick in this process. Ms. Schönfeldt is married and has no children.

(4) Ingeborg Hagedorn, a 55-year-old Protestant pastor from Leipzig. Ms. Hagedorn had been active in the human rights and peace movement which existed under the protection of the church. Closely watched by the Stasi, these groups fought for personal and political freedom, a discontinuation of the insane international arms race and an end to the destruction of the natural environment by industrial polluters. Ms Hagedorn believes that in the rush for unification voices like hers that had been instrumental in bringing about change were not adequately considered.

(5) Franz Wipper, a 42-year-old engineer for Zeiss Optik in Jena. Reunification gave him the opportunity to advance in his career, and he does not share the criticism of the reunification process. Any social injustices are temporary, opportunities are opening up that before could not even be dreamed of. Mr. Wipper believes that everything possible should be done to attract as much western investment as possible. He is married and has two young children.

(6) Isabel Leiderer, a 29-year-old journalist with the Stuttgarter Zeitung. Ms. Leiderer's promotion at the paper has been delayed since the hiring of two journalists from East Germany. Ms. Leiderer feels some resentment for having to pay a solidarity tax to subsidize development in the former East Germany while Easterners, willing to work for less, are taking jobs from Westerners. Ms. Leiderer is impressed by the situation of women at work and at home in the former GDR.

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