Fourteen years and a trillion dollars after reunification, one in five Germans would like to see the barrier that split the country during the Cold War put back, a survey found on Wednesday.
A poll by the Forsa institute found a quarter of western Germans wish the 15 million east Germans were cut off again by the Berlin Wall, living in a different state, while 12 percent of eastern Germans wanted out of the united Germany.
Many westerners said they were disgruntled because they have had to foot the bill for reunification — 24 percent said they had suffered financially as a result.
In the formerly communist east, which has twice the unemployment as in the west and where wages are still below western levels, one-third said they were no better off financially because of unification and the end of communism.
The lingering divisions have erupted in recent months as Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s government attempts to reduce unemployment and welfare benefits, touching a nerve in the east.
Westerners are sometimes disparaged as arrogant know-it-all “Wessies” while easterners are at times referred to as “Jammer Ossies” (whining easterners) in the west.
The Forsa survey, based on interviews with 1,002 easterners and 1,005 westerners, highlighted a feeling in the west that easterners are ungrateful for the financial support they have received since 1990 and they should do more to help themselves.
Thirty-seven percent of west Germans said the 80 billion euros ($96.28 billion) the government pumps into the east each year was too much. But almost a third of east Germans thought it too little, Forsa said.
Two top diplomats recently said they were alarmed at the poisoned atmosphere. Former West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher and former East German Foreign Minister Markus Meckel said they feared the east-west gap was growing.