In his self-critical book about the role of the East German intelligentsia in the GDR, Abschied mit den Lebenslügen: Die Intelligenz und die Macht, Jens Reich, one of the founders of Neues Forum, argues that for a majority of the East German intelligentsia, German reunification was experienced as a trauma:

A restructuring of the collaborating society is taking place, in which the intelligentsia is no longer able to play its traditional role as a creative, moral, pedagogical and scientific élite. Unexpectedly a whole cocktail of different defects is being attributed to us in a variety of individual mixtures: professional incompetence, social rootlessness, loss of moral credibility, political betrayal, and most of all there are suddenly too many of us. A mass army of frustrated intellectuals has arisen because of unemployment, pressure to retire early, restructuring, closures, delays in appointments and Abwicklung [dismantling] ... that this situation might be the reward for the long complicity with the command system is never taken into account but is denied by the enraged [intelligentsia] with a high degree of emotion. (Reich, 1992: 13-14)