Ossi and Wessi

  (Redirected from Ossi (East Germans))

Ossi and Wessi (German pronunciation: [ˈɔsiː] - "easterner"; German pronunciation: [ˈvɛsiː] - "westerner") are the informal names that people in Germany call former citizens of East-Germany and West-Germany before re-unification.[1][2] These names represent the lingering differences between the two pre-reunification cultures, and Germany's popular culture includes many Ossi-Wessi-jokes and clichés.[3] While some people in Germany may consider these names insulting, others regard them as part of the German culture.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12]

Ossis (Easties) are stereotyped as racist, poor, and largely influenced by Russian culture,[13] while Wessis (Westies) are usually considered snobbish, dishonest, wealthy, and selfish. The terms can be considered to be disparaging.

There is also the name Besserwessi (besser meaning "better") which is a pun on Besserwisser ("know-it-all") and thus indicates a Wessi who feels superior to Ossis. Some former East-Germans feel that former West-Germans do not respect their culture and that East-Germans were assimilated into West-German culture, rather than the two cultures being united as equals.[14] This term was named German Word of the Year in 1991.[15] Politically speaking, in the German Reunification East-Germany was indeed incorporated into West-Germany under existing West-German law. This solution was taken in order to legally avoid the necessity of creating a new constitution as demanded by the West-German "Grundgesetz".[citation needed]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Inside Track: Why Germany's Ossis and Wessis are still divided 25 years on". Heraldscotland.com. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  2. ^ "The World from Berlin: 'Ossis Aren't Indians'". Spiegel.de. April 16, 2010.
  3. ^ "Typically Ossi -- Typically Wessi | DW | 05.01.2009". DW.COM.
  4. ^ Rennefanz, Sabine (2010-09-30). "East-Germans are still different". Guardian. London. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
  5. ^ "OSSIS, WESSIS WALLS". Washingtonpost.com. August 2, 1992.
  6. ^ "Ossi and Wessi test the German water". The Independent. September 10, 1994. Archived from the original on 2022-05-24.
  7. ^ Caldwell, Peter C.; Hanshew, Karrin (August 23, 2018). Germany Since 1945: Politics, Culture, and Society. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 9781474262439 – via Google Books.
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ "Unity loses its lustre". The Irish Times.
  10. ^ Sporing, Marion (June 2, 2003). "German adult education in East-Germany after unification: picking up the pieces". Leeds.ac.uk.
  11. ^ "Opinion: How eastern and western Germany still differ from each other". Thelocal.de. February 7, 2019.
  12. ^ Twark, Jill E. (August 21, 2007). Humor, Satire, and Identity: Eastern German Literature in the 1990s. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 9783110195996 – via Google Books.
  13. ^ Cameron Abadi (2009-08-07). "The Berlin fall". Foreign Policy. Archived from the original on 2009-08-09. Retrieved 2009-10-11.
  14. ^ "Reunification Controversy: Was East-Germany Really 'Annexed?'". Spiegel.de. August 31, 2010. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  15. ^ Gunkel, Christoph (October 31, 2011). "Deutsche Sprachpreise: Ein Jahr, ein (Un-)Wort!". Spiegel.de. Retrieved August 21, 2019.