By Aidan Morales
They were a new generation; a generation without the distant memory of a war-torn Germany. All they knew was that the West was thriving, the East was stagnating, and they felt betrayed by the state they grew up in. Growing up in households where their parents were staunch party supporters, they built a wall themselves, and they were proud of it. They saw it as a wall against the West, a wall against degeneracy and capitalism. Rebelling against your parents is natural, and not isolated to suburban kids in America. The youth of East Germany wanted to be different, avoiding the chance they’d turn into their parents. They wanted freedom; a concept they have no proper understanding of. Not because they lived under a totalitarian regime; they weren’t, but because they were going after a utopia that they weren’t going to find behind the other side of the wall. If only they knew that once the wall fell they would be more lost than they’ve ever been. Booming drums, harsh vocals, drugs, and anti-establishment undertones – the traditional punk scene everywhere, but in the East, it meant more to these punks than anything.
‘Then hatred breaks out – STREET FIGHT’ (Die Skeptiker)
With their backs against the wall, the punk scene in East Germany had a genuine struggle. The punks in the west were fighting against governments who allowed them to protest and didn’t restrict what type of music was being played or made. While the punks in the West were fighting against those who were given freedom of speech like the Nazi skinheads and other racist groups, the East was fighting against their own government. Directly. It was uniformity against individualism, with the Stasi at the helm of uniformity. IDs would be asked for, people would go missing. However, punks walking about were also at risk of being harassed and beaten by other punks. Those deemed “fake punks” would have their piercings and jackets ripped off by the “real punks” and would be deemed posers.
‘In the new atlas, a state is missing – I’m looking for the GDR’ (Feeling B)
However, a lot of these bands weren’t explicitly anti-DDR. When the time came and the Berlin Wall fell, a lot of punks felt lost. Their cities, towns, and homes were brought under the belt of capitalism and integrated into one German state. They felt like they were given the short end of the stick. This wasn’t the freedom or “Freiheit” they wanted. Many punks were socialist and still are all around the world. They felt like the DDR was much too authoritarian and state-based and they fought against that, only to be swallowed whole by capitalism, a way of living they were both unaccustomed to and didn’t like. Listening to their music will provide you with a perspective that no article can give you, so give it a listen. I listed some songs below.
Some DDR Punk:
Feeling B – Ich such’ die DDR
Die Skeptiker – Strassenkampf
Wutanfall – Wutanfall
Sandow – Kinder des Verbrechens
Namenlos – Nazis
Papierkrieg – Alptraum