We print here a substantial part of the testimony given in May of this year by the political philosopher Jurgen Habermas at a public hearing of a Commission of Inquiry of the German Parliament on “the history and consequences of the SED dictatorship” (SED is the German acronym for Socialist Unity party, the Communist party that ruled East Germany). Habermas used this opportunity to present his ideas on “constitutional patriotism,” civil rights, and the need for a complex and open engagement with German history. We have edited the translation for American readers; elisions are clearly marked. —EDs.
The two previous hearings were concerned with the interpretation of facts. The final discussion treats...
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