Reunification Corpus

Translated by Julia Pelta Feldman

The German Reference Corpus (Deutsches Referenzkorpus or DeReKo) is a huge searchable database of texts published in the German language from the early 1950s to today. To create this piece, Hannes Bajohr assembled a series of six-word sentences beginning with “we” published in 1989 and 1990, the period in which East and West Germany were in the process of reunifying into the Federal German Republic. The resulting work, Wendekorpus — Reunification Corpus, translated by Julia Pelta Feldman — gives the reader a fresh view inside Germany as it re-learned to be a we.

— Charles Lee, Assistant Translation Editor

we all have a cross to bear after all
we appeal to the youth
we are afraid and we are angry
we are committed to maintaining peace
we are committed to the socialist entrepreneurial spirit
we are currently a group of 11 parliamentarians
we are discussing the new voting procedures
we are eager for further improvement
we are expected to come as beggars
we are fully aware of this
we are not actually the people
we are prepared for these tasks
we are proceeding with the agenda
we are proceeding with the debate
we are ready for further cooperation
we are ready to act on this thought
we are responsible for keeping the peace
we are still far away from that
we are still in the midst of the debate
we are willing to work off this guilt
we are, in this respect, an open country
we ask the administration the following:
we both know what we’re talking about
we both live in this area
we can call it revolutionary, of course
we can’t afford them
we can’t afford to give it away!
we can’t influence the process
we can’t keep them anymore
we can’t promise everything to everyone
we clarified that here
we conceded many things
we consider that a breakthrough
we couldn’t have done it immediately
we demand the dismantling of the stasi
we demand the resignation of the socialist party
we demand this for all germans
we did it once before
we didn’t know where it would lead
we didn’t want to get a bad reputation
we didn’t want to use empty phrases
we discussed it in eight meetings
we do not deny the party’s guilt
we don’t even have a telephone!
we don’t even own it
we don’t expect any sacrifices from them
we don’t have a monopoly on the truth
we don’t shy away from public scrutiny
we don’t tell the gdr what to do
we don’t want to back out, we want to fight
we don’t want to be misunderstood here
we don’t want to cause panic now
we don’t want to live without memory
we don’t want to walk this tightrope anymore
we eat together in the courtyard
we even dreamt while no one was sleeping
we evoke the memory of the politically persecuted
we get property inquiries in the mail every day
we gladly accept this offer
we got on well with each other
we had both of them there as well
we had discussed that in the committee
we had no problems in the end
we had nothing to do with it
we had the square to ourselves
we had to churn out current news
we had to register them officially, however
we had unpleasant experiences there
we have a right to dialogue
we have a right to dissent
we have a right to get involved
we have a right to information
we have a right to travel freely
we have achieved consensus after all
we have an open border once again
we have been witnesses to a phenomenon
we have come to the following conclusion:
we have discussed it very seriously
we have experienced fear and hopelessness
we have had that problem for years already
we have just gotten to know each other
we have just one chance now
we have known each other for nearly 15 years
we have lost a lot of time unfortunately
we have lost time and trust
we have no alternatives at this time
we have no excuse for complacency
we have not come one step closer
we have not renounced our heritage
we have our own opinion about that
we have overcome these arduous times
we have private land and property
we have taken a vote on this matter
we have to clearly distinguish two periods of time
we have to find the courage
we have to go it alone
we have to remember how much time we have
we haven’t achieved anything with that
we hope that she’ll think it over
we hoped someone would call us
we left the corner on buchholzer
we lived in a divided country
we’ll gladly send you brochures
we’ll have to measure up to that
we’ll hold hundreds of thousands of trials
we’ll succeed anyway
we’ll take you at your word
we lost the war three times
we must come together instead of splitting apart
we must go down to the tribes
we must remember our responsibility
we must start from the ground up everywhere
we must take on this responsibility
we must talk about what happened
we must vote again, unfortunately
we need courage for radical solutions
we need friendliness and kindness, charm
we need goods, not high prices!
we need help to survive independently
we need the first steps soon
we need the people to exercise power
we need to differentiate a bit further, however
we note this development with some concern
we only wanted to overthrow what was old
we placed ourselves under certain conditions
we, radio gdr, are hosting
we really need it, i think
we’re attempting to take this into account
we’re breathing again, but what kind of air?
we received 30 seats in parliament
we received not one invitation
we received this agenda just now
we’re coming once again to a vote
we’re contributing to an upswing, aren’t we?
we’re doing this for our side
we’re founding our united nation today
we’re going into the streets again
we’re going through floor by floor
we regret it just as much today
we remained contentious that day
we remember the government policy statement
we’re not at all equipped for it
we’re not making any territorial claims in the east
we represent the interest of the workers
we’re pursuing a policy of dialogue
we’re repeating our position again
we respect the committee’s decision
we’re stepping out of our roles
we said that in parliament
we see many signs of disintegration in the gdr
we shop because we’re addicted
we should come to an understanding on the facts
we should stick to these texts
we should take the rest seriously as well
we shouldn’t forget that either
we shouldn’t give up hope
we shouldn’t pass on this again
we shouldn’t talk things to death any longer
we simply gave in too easily
we simply repressed our doubt
we social democrats have kept our promise
we stand before a clear choice
we still have our dignity here
we support an alternative civil service
we support the conservatives’ proposal
we take note of this opinion
we take the social fears at hand seriously
we, the children, have something to say too!
we, the conservatives, have remained steadfast
we thereby reject this proposal
we took out our pens and turned on our tape recorders
we totally misunderstood each other
we want coordinated action from the left!
we want equal rights for all
we want justice and no vengeance!
we want justice and not vengeance!
we want our country to recover
we want to continue down this path with determination
we want to go down it with everyone
we want to keep working on this issue
we want to rebuild the factory, modernize it
we wanted so much to be loved
we welcome you to the new decade!
we welcome you wholeheartedly
we went on our way
we were deeply romantic and religious
we were in both countries
we were in the middle of voting
we were locked up together in bautzen prison
we were on duty at the central station
we were rarely taken seriously
we were the rabbit in the hunting field!
we will have to bear the burden of it
we won’t do that either
we won’t have a winter, once again this year
we won’t leave you in the lurch
we won’t let ourselves be patronized
we won’t tolerate this
we would like europe to help europe
we wouldn’t have needed to elect a government

Originally published in Edit Magazine, Leipzig, Vol. 65, 2014.


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