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Power to the people: Property in eastern Germany is attracting investor attention
You couldn’t blame people for moving out. The fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 and the opening of the once-impregnable inner-German border was the precursor for a large-scale migration of substantial elements of the population of eastern Germany away from the economic mess and the memory of life in the erstwhile totalitarian German Democratic Republic, with its command-economy five-year plans and a sapping, all-seeing security police apparatus. Freedom is persuasive, and the manner in which it came 26 years ago even more so.
The currency union of 1 July 1990 — with West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl famously forcing through a politically charged but subsequently discredited 1:1 exchange rate between the mighty Deutschmark and the uncompetitive Ostmark — just perpetuated the hopelessness and helplessness of the GDR economy and of those citizens who remained. The people who left were seeking a better life for themselves and their families, and there are plenty of