WE stay!


ZDf (2022)

There are young East Germans who consciously stay in their homeland. They take their lives into their own hands and want to improve things. They set up co-working spaces in the provinces. Cultural projects in small towns, modern companies in the countryside. The authors want to report on such people who are courageous and determined and won’t let anything get them down.

Jadwiga Mahling, born in 1983, pastor in Lusatia (Saxony)

“I studied in Tübingen and Heidelberg for a long time. It was wonderful. And yet it was a too saturated society for me. I need the periphery, the broken things – where you can build something. And that’s why I like being here in Lusatia. “

André Neumann, born in 1977, Lord Mayor of Altenburg (Thuringia)

“There is a lack of something like East German self-confidence for the future. West Germans still have a strong presence in the top ranks of companies and in many political areas. How am I supposed to develop self-confidence if I don’t exist in many areas of this society?”

Julia Voigt, born in 1996, cultural manager in Chemnitz (Saxony) 

“Chemnitz is like a big black hole and develops such a strong pull. Once you’re inside, it gives you so much. Then this city has so much appeal that you don’t want to leave.”

Simon Schandert, born in 1989, company founder in Wittenberg (Sachsen-Anhalt) 

“You have to be really committed. Then, even as an East German, you’ll get into the right position where you can make a difference.”

Christian von Hagen, born in 1991, employee in Altmark (Sachsen-Anhalt)

“You can go anywhere at night and knock, someone will help you. I suspect that in the West, someone doesn’t always stop when you have a breakdown. That’s perhaps a different mentality.”

Florian Arndt, born in 1999, fiber optic installer in the Altmark (Sachsen-Anhalt)

“When I drive to jobs in Lower Saxony, I get paid more than in the East. It would be cool if wages were equalized. Because whether you buy a bottle of water here or 20 kilometers away – they cost the same.”

Max Koch, born in 2001, IT technician in the Altmark (Sachsen-Anhalt)

“I love my home region. There’s a lot of solidarity here. People greet you and say ‘How are you’. You don’t have that in a big city. You’re one of thousands there.”

Author: Lars Seefeldt, Mathias Kubitza
Camera: Julia Senkler, Ulf Behrens
Editing: Rainer Speidel
Editor: Bernd Weisener (ZDF)