Eastern German News

Newsletter of the Eastern German Studies Group
#17 (May 1995)

EGSG on the Web

The EGSG is on the web at this address: http://www.calvin.edu/cas/egsg/.

Past newsletters are available, along with a variety of other material of interest to the membership. Material is also currently available in ACSII format, though our gopher server will retire soon.

An in-progress version of each forthcoming newsletter is kept at the Web site, and updated whenever news comes in.

We welcome additional material.If you've useful information for those interested in Eastern Germany, send it along. Copyright permitting, we can easily include the texts of papers as well.

EGSG Elections

The terms of EGSG officers (President, Treasurer, Newsletter Editor/ Secretary, and two At-Large Executive Committee members expire in November 1995. (Past Presidents are members ex-officio.)

Past-President Thomas Baylis will act as "Election Master." Please send nominations to Baylis at 505 Westlake Ave., Austin, TX 78746. Nominations may be made by any member in good standing; please be sure to secure a nominee's agreement. Nominations must be received before 1 September, so that a ballot may be included in the next EGSG newsletter. Ballots must then be sent to Baylis by 1 November; he will count the votes, and announce the results.

The EGSG President Henry Krisch and Executive Committee Member-At-Large Irwin Collier will not seek re-election.

EGSG Conference 16-19 November 1995

The general theme of the conference will be: Germany and the New Länder Five Years after Unification. While the EGSG program committee will interpret this theme broadly, it will look for papers on the mutual impact of the former two Germanies on each other. Possible topics include: continuity and discontinuity in East German life, the dissolution of the GDR in East European/Soviet perspective, and critical evaluations of English-language scholarship on the GDR.

Papers using newly available archival material and field research in the former GDR will be especially welcome.

Proposals for papers may be submitted either to the Program Coordinator:

Professor Meredith Heiser
Foothill College
Littlefield Center 14
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305-5013

Fax: (415) 725-6119
Tel: (415) 725-2563;

or (especially in July 1995) to EGSG President Henry Krisch.

Details on registration and local arrangements will appear in the fall EGSG newsletter.

DEFA Film Library at Massachusetts Expanding

Development continues toward the establishment of the DEFA Film Library Project at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. As the EGSG Newsletter announced last year, the DEFA Film Library Project is already the sole distributor in North America for Konrad Wolf's 1964 film Divided Heaven, based on the novel by Christa Wolf. By summer 1995, we also expect to have distribution of Konrad Wolf's film Sun Seekers.

That film was banned in 1957 at Soviet request because it deals with the GDR-Soviet uranium mining for atomic weapons purposes in the Wismut; the film was only released in 1972. In addition to its Cold War relevance, the film is a strikingly successful cinematic work, with strong connections to Pabst's Kameradschaft of 1931. It also has intriguing touches of Neo-Realism and Socialist Realism.

Both films are available for non-commercial screenings at $200 rental, in 16mm with English subtitles.

With continued support from the University of Massachusetts, colleagues in the Five Colleges and the EGSG, the DEFA Film Library Project has been able to hire Jennifer Good as curatorial assistant. Jennifer is a Ph.D.candidate in Germanic Languages and Literatures whose dissertation plans include work on Konrad Wolf.

Working in the new DEFA Film Library office at 102 South College on the Amherst campus, Jennifer will be working with Professor Byg to publish a guide to resources on GDR and post-GDR Eastern German film available in the U.S. This newsletter will carry more information as it becomes available.

Please contact Professor Byg with information, questions, or to get on the mailinglist:

Barton Byg
Director, DEFA Film Library Project
Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures
Herter Hall, Box 33925
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01003-3925

Tel. (413) 545-6671
Email: byg@titan.ucs.umass.edu

Propaganda History Project at Leipzig & Freiburg

A joint project of scholars from Freiburg and Leipzig is working on a project titled "Propagandageschichte für Staat und Gesellschaft zwischen 1949 und 1971/72," supported by a DFG grant.

One of the project leaders, Dr. Rainer Gries, reports that the project is working from the assumption that to understand the propaganda of the period, it is necessary to consider the relationship between East and West Germany. They are interested not only in the propaganda activities of the DDR, but also with the corresponding public relations activities to the West. "Our goal is to contribute to the history of separation and unification." A substantial list of publications has already appeared, among them the following articles from the Fall 1994 issue of Comparativ: Leipziger Beiträge zur Universalgeschichte und vergleichende Gesellschaftsforschung under the general theme "'Die Heimat hat sich schön gemacht...'. 1959: Fallstudien zur deutsch-deutschen Propagandageschichte.":

Gries, Rainer. "Virtuelle Zeithorizonte. Deutch-deutsche Geschichtsbilder und Zukunftsvisionen Ende der fünfziger Jahre."
Diesener, Gerald, "Schon einmal am Wendepunkt--im Neuen Deutschland' 1959."
Gibas, Monika. "'Deckt alle mit den Tisch der Republik'. Regie und Dramaturgie des DDR-Dezenniums am 7. Oktober 1959."
Schindelbeck, Dirk. "Zwischen Wirschafts- und Raketenwunder. Vom Sängerstreit über den Stacheldraht."
Fuchs, Eckhardt. "Blicke hinter den Eisernen Vorhang': Die DDR 1959 im Spiegel der US-Presse."

Other recent publications include Monika Gibas and Rainer Gries, "'Vorschlag für den Ersten Mai: die Führung zieht am Volk vorbei!' Überlegungen zur Geschichte der Tribüne in der DDR," Deutschland Archiv, May 1995 and Rainer Gries, Volker Ilgen and Dirk Schindelbeck, "Ins Gehirn der Masse kriechen." Studien zu einer Werbegeschichte als Mentalitätsgechichte, Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft (in press).

Cold War International History Project

The Cold War International History Project (CWIHP), based at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, seeks "to disseminate new information and perspectives on the history of the Cold War emerging from previously inaccessible sources on the other side of the superpower rivalry that dominated international relations after World War II." It has so far published four newsletters, each of which has information of interest to EGSG members.

Issue 1 (Spring 1992) includes material on the Soviet, Czech, Hungarian and Polish archives, as well as some information on German archives. Issue 2 (Fall 1992) includes Hope Harrison's essay "Inside the SED Archives: A Researcher's Diary" and William Burr's "New Sources on the Berlin Crisis, 1958-1962." Issue 4 (Fall 1994) has a lengthy section titled "Germany and the Cold War," with articles by Christian F. Ostermann on "New Research on the GDR" and Norman M. Naimark on "The Soviet Occupation: Moscow's Man in (East) Berlin." Much other relevant material is also in these issues.

Individual copies of the newsletters are available without charge. Those wanting individual issues, or who wish to be added to the mailing list should write to:

Cold War International History Project
Woodrow Wilson Center
1000 Jefferson Drive SW
Washington, D.C. 20560

Centre for East German Studies at Reading

The Centre for East German Studies (CEGS) was founded in January 1994 with the aim of capitalizing on the Reading German Department's strengths in this aspect of German studies. Five of the Department's nine permanent staff have interests in the area. The Department also normally appoints one of its LektorInnen from East Germany, and has established links with a number of East German universities, as well as with colleagues in West Germany and the United States who are active in the field.

The CEGS aims to provide an academic focal-point within the United Kingdom for research into the literature, culture, society and history of this area from 1945 to the present. Curent projects include an annual survey of teaching, research and resources within the UK, specialist conferences, occasional papers, and an MA course in East German Studies. Professor John Sandford (J.E.Sandford@reading.ac.uk) is the director. The address:

Department of German
University of Reading
Whiteknights, PO Box 218
Reading RG6 2AA

Upcoming Conferences

In October 1996 The University of Connecticut will conclude the celebration of the opening of its Senator Thomas J. Dodd Archives and Research Center, and the fiftieth anniversary of the conclusion of the Nuremberg Trial, with an international and interdisciplinary conference on the theme Fifty Years after Nuremberg: Human Rights and the Rule of Law.
Among the main themes of the conference will be "The Nuremberg Trials: Collective and Individual Responsibility in Historical and Comparative Perspective," "The Emergence of Human Rights as a Transnational Political Issue," "Individual and Group Action toward a World System of Enforceable Human Rights and Law," "The Holocaust at Nuremberg," "Race, Ethnicity and Gender: Human Rights and Law," "Literary and Artistic Reflections on Human Rights," "Histories of Particular Countries in the Light of Nuremberg."
Proposals for roundtables, panels, and individual papers are welcome. Submissions from all countries and fields are encouraged. Please direct inquiries and suggestions to Professor Henry Krisch [his address is on the last page of this newsletter].

The Centre for East German Studies at the University of Reading is holding a conference titled DEFA: A Retrospective. East German Cinema 1946-1992 from 28-31 March 1996. Papers are invited on any aspect of DEFA film, but especially on the following areas:

The Centre intends to publish a volume of essays. Outline proposals (one side only) should be sent by 9 June 1995 to:
Prof. John Sandford/Dr. Sean Allan
Department of German Studies
The University of Reading
Whiteknights, PO Box 218
Reading RG6 2AA
Fax: (01734) 318333
Email: s.d.allan@reading.ac.uk

The DFG-Projekt Propagandageschichte Freiburg & Leipzig together with the Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Leipzig are organizing a conference on the history of propaganda in Germany titled Tagung zur Geschichte der Politikpropaganda in Deutschland. The following themes are planned:

The meeting is scheduled for 14-16 December 1995. For further information, contact either:
Dr. Gerald Diesener
DFG-Projekt Propagandageschichte Leipzig
Schirmerstraße 1
04318 Leipzig
Tel: (9341) 261 99 64

Dr. Rainer Gries
DFG-Projekt Propagandageschichte Freiburg
Uhlandstraße 11
79102 Freiburg
Tel: (0761) 70 11 73
Fax: (0761) 7 58 94

Recent Publications

German Politics, 3 (August 1994) carries the following articles: M. Minkenberg, "Cultural Change and the Far Right in East and West Germany"; A. James McAdams, "Inter-German Relations in Historical Perspective"; Gregg O Kvistad, "The Borrowed Language of German Unification"; Karen Henderson, "The GDR and the East European Experience"; Erhard Crome & Jochen Franzke, "The 1993 Local Elections in Brandenburg."

German Politics & Society, #33 (Fall 1994) carries the following articles: Jonathan R. Zatlin, "Hard Marks and Soft Revolutionaries: The Economics of Entitlement and the Debate on German Monetary Union, November 9,1989-March 18, 1990"; Richard Jurasek & Rainer Braemer, "The New Federal Republic of Germany as Trauma: German Unification from the Student Perspective"; Helmuth Berking & Sighard Neckel, "The Disturbed Community: Power and Conflict in an East German Town"; Werner Weidenfeld & Felix Phillip Lutz, "The Divided Nation: Historical Consciousness in Post-Unification Germany."

Berentsen, W. H. "Implications of German Unification for Regional Development in the former GDR", in Local Governments and Market Decentralization: Experiences in Industrialized, Developing, and Former East Bloc Countries. Robert J. Bennett, ed., U.N. University Press, 1994, pp. 476-504

Dietrich, Christian and Uwe Schwabe, eds. Freunde und Feinde: Friedensgebete in Leipzig zwischen 1981 und dem 9. Oktober 1989, Dokumentation. Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 1994.

Lohmann, Susanne, "The Dynamics of Informational Cascades: The Monday Demonstrations in Leipzig, East Germany 1989-1991," World Politics, 47 (October 1994): 42-101.

Francisco, Ron. "The Relationship between Coercion and Protest: An Empirical Evaluation in Three Coercive States," Journal of Conflict Resolution, 39:2 (June 1995): 263-282.

Giessler, Günter. Der Riß: Nachdenken über meine beiden Deutschlands. Leipzig: Verlagsbuchhandlung und Agentur Prof. Dr. sc. Hans- Georg-Mehlhorn, 1994.

McFalls, Laurence. Communism's Collapse or Democracy's Demise? The Cultural Context and Consequences of the East German Revolution (New York: NYU Press, 1995.)

Phillips, Ann L. "The German Democratic Republic in the Soviet Bloc: A Mixed Record," Topics, 44 (Washington & Jefferson College, 1994).

Rohrschneider, Robert. "Report from the Laboratory: The Influence of Institutions on Political Elites' Democratic Values in Germany," American Political Science Review, 88 (December 1994): 927-44.

Romero, Christiane Zehl. "German Unification - German Identity and the Role of the Writer," Topics, 44 (Washington & Jefferson College, 1994).

Recent Dissertations

Heiser, Meredith. "Soviet & East German Deutschlandpolitik, 1968-1973: Leadership's Role in Domestic and Foreign Policy Linkage" Johns Hopkins, 1994.

Kamenitsa, Lynn. "Social Movement Marginalization in Democratic Transition: The Case of the East German Women's Movement," Indiana, 1993.

Hillhouse, Raelynn. "The Individual Revolution: The Social Basis for Transition to Democracy?" Michigan, 1993.

Grants Received

Bill Berentsen is on a Fulbright grant from mid-March thru July at the Humboldt University, working on a long term effort to follow regional socio-economic changes and their causes in Eastern Germany. He will be undertaking, as usual, travel throughout much of the East and has some invitations to get over to the West as well. He is working on a book on patterns and processes of regional change in the GDR/Eastern Germany.

Joyce Mushaben will be at the University of Erfurt as Fulbright lecturer in Spring 1996.

Joining EGSG

If you received this newsletter, you're probably a member. Those not now on the mailing list may repair that disadvantage by sending $10 ($5 for students) to the treasurer, Robert Goeckel, whose address is on this page. He would appreciate memberships be paid yearly, as his bookkeeping is otherwise complicated.

Newsletter Matters

Send me (Randy Bytwerk) useful or amusing items for the newsletter. I can also be reached by fax (616-957-6601) or the Postal Service.

EGSG Officers for 1992-95


Henry Krisch
Dept. of Political Science
University of Connecticut
341 Mansfield Road
Storrs, CT 06269-102

Phone: (203) 486-5334
Fax: (203) 486-3347


Thomas A. Baylis
505 Westlake Ave.
Austin, TX 78746


Robert F. Goeckel
Dept. of Political Science
SUNY at Geneseo
Geneseo, NY 14454-1401



Randall Bytwerk
CAS Department
Calvin College
3201 Burton SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49504

Phone: (616) 957-6286
Fax: (616) 957-6601


Members- at-Large:

Irwin Collier
Institut für öffentliche Finanzen und Sozialpolitik
Freie Universität Berlin
Boltzmannstr. 20
14195 Berlin

Joyce Marie Mushaben
3652 Pine Creek
Williamsburg, OH 45176

Last updated on 10 May 1995 by Randall Bytwerk