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Wessi (German pronunciation: [ˈvɛsiː]; "westerner") is the informal name that people in Germany call former citizens of West Germany before re-unification, while the counterpart for former citizens of East Germany is Ossi.[1][2] These names represent the lingering differences between the two pre-reunification cultures, and Germany's popular culture includes many Ossi-Wessi jokes and cliches.[3] While some people in Germany may consider these names insulting, others regard them as part of the German culture.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12]

There is also the name Besserwessi (besser meaning "better") which is a pun on Besserwisser ("know-it-all") and thus indicates a Wessi who feels superior to Ossis. Some former East Germans feel that former West Germans do not respect their culture and that East Germans were assimilated into West German culture, rather than the two cultures being united as equals.[13] This term was named German Word of the Year in 1991.[14] Politically speaking, in the German Reunification East Germany was indeed incorporated into West Germany under existing West German law. This solution was taken in order to legally avoid the necessity of creating a new constitution as demanded by the West German Grundgesetz, or Constitution.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Inside Track: Why Germany's Ossis and Wessis are still divided 25 years on". Heraldscotland.com. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  2. ^ "The World from Berlin: 'Ossis Aren't Indians'". Spiegel.de. April 16, 2010.
  3. ^ "Typically Ossi -- Typically Wessi | DW | 05.01.2009". DW.COM.
  4. ^ Rennefanz, Sabine (2010-09-30). "East Germans are still different". Guardian. London. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
  5. ^ "OSSIS, WESSIS WALLS". Washingtonpost.com. August 2, 1992.
  6. ^ "Ossi and Wessi test the German water". The Independent. September 10, 1994.
  7. ^ Caldwell, Peter C.; Hanshew, Karrin (August 23, 2018). Germany Since 1945: Politics, Culture, and Society. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 9781474262439 – via Google Books.
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ "Unity loses its lustre". The Irish Times.
  10. ^ Sporing, Marion (June 2, 2003). "German adult education in East Germany after unification: picking up the pieces". Leeds.ac.uk.
  11. ^ "Opinion: How eastern and western Germany still differ from each other". Thelocal.de. February 7, 2019.
  12. ^ Twark, Jill E. (August 21, 2007). Humor, Satire, and Identity: Eastern German Literature in the 1990s. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 9783110195996 – via Google Books.
  13. ^ "Reunification Controversy: Was East Germany Really 'Annexed?'". Spiegel.de. August 31, 2010. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  14. ^ Gunkel, Christoph (October 31, 2011). "Deutsche Sprachpreise: Ein Jahr, ein (Un-)Wort!". Spiegel.de. Retrieved August 21, 2019.