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The Wolves Are Coming Back

The rise of the right wing in eastern Germany. Rebecca Pates draws on her work in politics at the University of Leipzig and her experiences as a half-English, half-German woman.

The rise of the right wing in eastern Germany. Rebecca Pates draws on her work in politics at the University of Leipzig and her experiences as a half-English, half-German woman.

As the programme opens we hear an eerie wind blowing through the disused industrial buildings of a former communist factory in eastern Germany. In the distance wolves are howling. Professor Rebecca Pates walks through this desolate landscape in the former East Germany and introduces her theme - the wolves are a metaphor for what’s happening in German politics.

The right-wing Alternative Fur Deutschland (AfD) is now the third biggest party in the German parliament. They draw much of their support from places that have been referred to as the ‘post-traumatic cities’ of the former communist areas, characterised by high unemployment and an ageing disaffected population.

In this portrait of a society coming to terms with the demons of its past, Rebecca talks to other women about why, as she sees it, the problem is men.

Using archive recordings, she examines how the anti-immigrant Monday demonstrations in contemporary Dresden are a deliberate echo of the late 1980s Monday demonstrations against the the communist authorities in the former East Germany. We also hear contemporary audio recorded at an AfD rally featuring nationalistic anti-immigrant songs.

At a public debate organised through the research project Fremde im Eigenen Land (Strangers in Their Own Land), we hear people discussing what many see as their loss of identity in the united Germany.

The Wolves Are Coming Back is an internal perspective on an issue which is uniquely German, but also has ramifications globally in a new era of populism.

Producer: Trevor Dann
Executive Producer: Kevin Marsh
A Folder & Co production for BBC Radio 4

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28 minutes

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Last Monday 21:00

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