Saturday, April 17, 2010

Ossi and Wessi

Once upon a time our country was divided in two parts - West Germany and East Germany (DDR), as some of you might remember. With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 we were reunited. This reunion wasn't as easy as it seems. In the beginning - apart from the language - there were far more differences between East- and West Germans than between Germans and other West European citizens.
40 years of communism left their traces and as the two nations converged, they had to learn from each other. East Germans were called "Ossis" and West Germans "Wessis" or even "Besserwessis" (which is a mix of besser=better and wissen=to know/means you Germans from the West think you know everything better) by each other. This, however was 20 years ago.
Now we had a lawsuit filed by an East German woman who claims to be discriminated against because she was from the former DDR.
When she got her job application documents back, on the right side of her CV she found the remark (-) Ossi written by her potential future employer. The woman had applied for a job as accountant in the summer of 2009 at a company from Stuttgart, without success. She believes that this is due to her origin from East Berlin.
The labor court dismissed the case. The sentence stated that East Germany is no people of its own and for this reason there is no discrimination founded on ethnic origin.
Now the wants to go on, the judge allowed an appeal from first instance. There is the possibility for this lawsuit to go on for up to one year, going from one instance to the other and finally ending up in federal court.

The whole matter created a lot of jokes like this one:
Ossi: We are one people
Wessi: We too.

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