WIRD UNS ZUGEFÜGT.
Ein Ostdeutscher erinnert sich an das 20. Jahrhundert/
HISTORY IS DONE TO US.
An East German remembers the 20th century
Big history leaves traces, in the life of Peter Zimmermann, too. Childhood experiences decisively shaped the personality of the man born in 1937 and his view on the last century. His biography, however, is not exactly one typical for an Eastern German – he met exceptional people, lived in unusual places.
And though the author seems to be fallen on this earth, often driven by chance – he looked at this very imperfect world, critically and with humour. This world is as imperfect as he is himself, but seldom so good-natured. He is no hero. He is too weak for being one. He knows it. And he knows what he wants. His own aims he pursues by the means of the ordinary citizen, by persistence and irony, cleverness and a certain resistance to the all-powerful, not always fortunate circumstances. He isn’t unscrupulous, because he wants to live decently.
Well, this he most likely did. In general he achieved a lot: does two doctorates about English literature, lives in Ghana and Syria, falls asleep and misses a national uprising, refuses to accept an utopia, keeps up his friendship with the US-American multi-millionaire as well with the Latvian philatelist, and all this at a time when it was not easily to do or not appropriate. Aside from literature he loves women, beer, stamps – and therefore his life is not so untypical of one beyond all political systems.