Over the course of the unification process, East German educational institutions and structures were adapted to West German models. Students and professors, who were finally free from interference by the socialist regime, now found themselves subject to new forms of state intervention. With the help of the budding trade union federations, they organized vociferous public protests.
This photo, taken on February 12, 1991, shows members of various East Berlin academic institutions protesting at Platz der Akademie. The demonstrators had turned out to demand a say in the restructuring of the German academic landscape. The demonstration was organized by the employee councils of the former institutes of the GDR Academy of Sciences and by the Berlin chapter of the public transportation and teachers’ unions. The sign in the foreground reads: "My professor and I would like to keep working, Mr. Riesenhuber." (This message was directed at Federal Minister of Research Heinz Riesenhuber.) The sign above reads: "Yesterday, non-party member [parteilos] = no chance. Today, unemployed = no chance. Photo: Bernd Settnik.