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"Auferstanden aus Ruinen" (German for "Risen from Ruins") was the national anthem of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), commonly known as East Germany, during its existence from 1949 to 1990.

In 1949, the Soviet occupation zone of Allied-occupied Germany became a Socialist state called the German Democratic Republic (GDR). For its anthem, the poet Johannes R. Becher, who later became Minister of Culture, wrote the lyrics. Two musicians proposed music to Becher's lyrics, and the version of Hanns Eisler was selected.

Written in 1949, the anthem reflects the early stages of German separation, in which continuing progress towards reunification of the occupation zones was seen by most Germans as appropriate and natural. Consequently, Becher's lyrics develop several connotations of "unity" and combine them with "fatherland" (einig Vaterland), meaning Germany as a whole. However, this concept soon would not conform to an increasingly icy Cold War context, especially after the Berlin Wall had been erected in 1961 by the East German government.

In 1973, East and West Germany were admitted to the United Nations simultaneously, following talks between the two governments that conferred a degree of mutual recognition. The term Germany was later removed from the GDR constitution, and only the anthem's tune was played on official occasions. No new lyrics were ever written to replace Becher's which continued to be used unofficially, especially after die Wende in late 1989: once it became clear that the countries were moving towards Reunification, GDR television Deutscher Fernsehfunk reinstated the work and signed off every night with a joyous symphonic rendition of the vocal arrangement, accompanying picturesque footage of East Germany's main tourist attractions.

"Auferstanden aus Ruinen" ceased to be a national anthem when the German Democratic Republic dissolved and its states joined the Federal Republic of Germany in the German reunification in 1990. "Das Lied der Deutschen", composed in 1841, became again the anthem of a united Germany. East German Prime Minister Lothar de Maizière had proposed that Becher's lyrics be added to the united German anthem, but this was rejected by his West German counterpart, chancellor Helmut Kohl.

At the end of its last broadcast on 2 October 1990, the East German international radio broadcaster Radio Berlin International signed off with the vocal version of the anthem.


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