The word ‘Treuhand’ still triggers stronger reactions in East Germany. For millions of East Germans, the change from a planned to a market economy meant unemployment – and an affront that still rankles today.
As President of the Treuhandanstalt, the agency charged with privatizing the old East German economy from 1991 to 1994, Birgit Breuel pushed ahead with painful privatizations and the closure of thousands of companies – and became the hated symbol of the transition to a market economy. After decades of silence, she returns to this chapter of her life and talks in detail about a time when everything was running full speed ahead and rational decisions to completely rebuild a country needed to be taken. How did she make her decisions? How does she rate them in retrospect? And what motivated her to take on such a mammoth task at all? How much leeway did the Treuhand have? Were there any other ways to turn the Former East German economy around? The filmmakers interview managers, politicians and experts about the work, goals and challenges of the Treuhand, diving back into the heady years from 1990 to 1994 and illuminating the backgrounds and consequences that still have an effect today.
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