The rate of infanticide in Germany varies widely between the regions of the former West Germany and East Germany. Der Spiegel reports that the issue has become a political hot potato, and that the suggestion by the governor of the formerly communist-run state Saxony-Anhalt that communism could be the cause has people demanding his resignation:
Wolfgang Böhmer, governor of the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt, faces opposition calls to resign after he said women in the east had “a more casual approach to new life” than in the west.
Böhmer, who trained as a gynaecologist, was responding to research showing that the risk of a baby being killed by its mother is three to four times higher in the east than it is in the west of Germany.
Barely a month goes by in Germany without media reports of infanticide. One of the most shocking cases (more…) was that of Sabine Hilschinz, 42, from the eastern city of Frankfurt an der Oder, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2006 for killing eight of her babies. She is seeking to have the ruling overturned in an appeal that started this month.
“Statistics don’t necessarily imply a causal link,” Böhmer told the German newsmagazine Focus in an interview published on Monday. “But the accumulation cannot be denied. I think it can mainly be explained with a more casual approach to new life in eastern Germany.” In the German Democratic Republic abortion right up to the 12th week was allowed in 1972. The women took the decision on their own. Today, to obtain an abortion at that late stage, women are required to receive a professional consultation.
Bohmer blamed the “widespread fixation on the state” for cheapening human lives. It could also have been the actual application of communism by Soviet and East German leaders that contributed to that as well. Joseph Stalin killed millions through deliberate starvation, bloody purges, and internal fights; East Germany’s leaders had just as few scruples if lower body counts.
Communism as a system devalues the individual. It reduces their worth to simple calculations of productivity. By eliminated the foundations of liberty as an innate part of humanity as a vestige of the divine within us, Communism made the state divine instead, and the people within it merely producers. In that kind of oppressive system, the dispirited will see babies as little more that exo-fetuses.
The reaction to Bohmer shows that Germany still has unification issues almost two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The forty-five year split of the country created very different cultures across the divide, and it left the Germans in the East poor, defensive, and wary. If Bohmer faces this much grief over pointing out the obvious cultural effects of Communism even with this evidence in support, then the country may need another generation to fully heal.