Confronting the GDR's communist past was the subject of much public discourse in a Germany reunified by the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989. The federal parliament of a reunited Germany saw "a public duty to address, and possibly redress, the manifold issues of injustice and repression committed during GDR times." These are the findings of Cold War International History Project Senior Scholar Bernd Schaefer in his recently published a study of the GDR's communist legacy, Coming to Terms: Dealing with the Communist Past in United Germany. The publication, commissioned by the Federal Foundation for the Reappraisal of the SED-Dictatorship (Bundesstiftung zur Aufarbeitung der SED-Diktatur), examines the institutions involved and efforts to come to terms with Germany's communist past since reunification in 1990.

Bernd Schaefer is a senior research scholar with the Wilson Center's Cold War International History Project. Previously he was a research fellow at the German Historical Institute in Washington D.C. and the Hannah Arendt Institute at the Technical University of Dresden. He also served four years as secretary for the East German Catholic Church's Stasi lustration commission in Berlin.