Ossi and Wessi
Use of terms
For decades before German reunification , the term Wessi was used in West Berlin for “ West German provincial people ”, especially for those who moved to Berlin or were there to visit. Similarly, the West Berlin called the rest of the former Federal Republic and West German country , which is still partly in use today. At that time the term was also used disparagingly when West Germans were meant as so-called “bowling tourists” or as carriers of an early form of gentrification , or to criticize the “sterility” of the West German province that was supposedly increasingly being carried to Berlin .
As part of the political turn of the years 1989 and 1990, the term changed Westerner its meaning and now called the citizens of the former West Germany as a whole (including West Berlin). Today, therefore, there is an occasional misunderstanding, as the term still has both meanings. As a counterpart to this, the name Ossi was created to describe former GDR citizens ; at the same time the Wessi-Ossi jokes developed. In fact, Thomas RP Mielke used the terms Wessi and Ossi as early as 1985 in the book The day on which the wall broke . In 1987, Hans Magnus Enzensberger used the spellings Wessie and Ossie in the book Ach Europa . In one chapter in this book, Enzensberger describes a fictional reunified Germany in 2006, in which Ossies and Wessies are “spider enemies”. In parlance in the GDR , the West Germans were also referred to as Westerners or Bundis .
For some East Germans the term Wessi had a negative connotation; the term Besserwessi was and still has a negative connotation. Conversely, in western Germany the term Ossi had a rather negative connotation (as in the word coining Jammerossi or Meckerossi ). In 2009 the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung created the term super-Wessis for the so-called “ Swabians ”, which is used in Berlin as a synonym for pedantic and comparatively wealthy newcomers from the south and southwest of the republic.
Other terms are Zoni , disparaging for GDR citizens , and Ossi , for a GDR citizen who moved to the old federal states after reunification. There is also the term Wossi , a suitcase word from Wessi and Ossi . What is meant is a citizen from a western federal state (sometimes (anachronistically) called " Bundi ") who moved to one of the eastern federal states after reunification (regardless of whether for professional or private reasons).
In 2014, linguist Doris Steffens from the Institute for German Language named the terms Ossi and Wessi as the epitome of the difficulties of the German unification process . According to a study, these terms have largely lost their negative attributions . Terms like Jammerossi or Besserwessi are now heard less often than after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
- Peter Hoffmann , Norbert Kühne : I also brake for Wessis . Bitterfeld 1996.
- You no longer fit into our worldview . In: Der Spiegel . No. 29 , 1992, pp. 32-35 ( online - 13 July 1992 ).
- "Wessi" , at duden.de , accessed on January 18, 2013.
- "Ossi" , at duden.de , accessed on January 19, 2013.
- Youth in West Berlin: School trip to the Wall , spiegel.de , October 30, 2009
- Back then in West Berlin - Colorful and ugly, but warm , tagesspiegel.de , November 18, 2019
- Study refutes clichés - there is no such thing as the “Jammer-Ossi” , Rheinische Post of October 29, 2009
- Spiegel Online 2007: Klischee olé - Meckerossi, Besserwessi , accessed on December 2, 2010.
- Anna Loll: Schwabenhass in Berlin. The Super-Wessis and Proto-Yuppies , in: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of April 5, 2009.
- "From Wessi to Wossi" , Die Zeit 14/1993.
- ( Page no longer available , search in web archives: "Berlin CDU top candidate for the 2011 parliamentary elections, Frank Henkel, is a 'Wossi'" ), rbb dossier , 2011.
- Who else says Jammerossi and Besserwessi? , in: Märkische Allgemeine from May 14, 2014.