Eastern German News

Newsletter of the Eastern German Studies Group
#19 (April 1996)

The Electronic Version of the EGSG Newsletter

The electronic version of the EGSG newsletter is similar, but not identical to the print version. The electronic version contains more detail in some cases (full texts of calls for papers, for example). This issue is now concluded. New information will be added to the in-progresss version of the October 1996 issue.

Table of Contents:

What's New:


Conference Announcements and Reports


EGSG Conference

The EGSG met from 16-19 November 1995 at Stanford University. At the business meeting, the EGSG resolved that the organization ought to continue, a decision made easy when Laurence McFalls agreed to carry on the excellent tradition of presidential leadership.

On other matters, the treasurer reported that the EGSG remains prosperous, and currently has 93 dues-paying members. New officers were elected. President Krisch confssed that little progress has been made in publishing the papers of the 992 EGSG meeting. Bradley Scharf volunteered to work on publishing the papers from this conference. The full minutes of the business meeting will appear here when time permits,

Program coordinator Meridith Heiser did an excellent job of organizing the conference, and Rosemary Schnoor of the Center for Russian and Eastern European Studies handled the morass of technical deals with grace and efficiency.

Most of the papers were announced in the last newsletter. Should anyone wish a full listing, send me an an email note and I'll add the list as time permits. A welcome addition was the banquet speaker, Angelika Barbe, a member of the Bundestag who serves on the Enquete-Kommission.

Altogether, those present agreed it was a gathering both convivial and profitable.

Leipzig Conference on Propaganda in Germany

The DFG-supported project on the history of propaganda in Germany held a conference from 14-16 December 1995 in Leizpig, organized by project leaders Gerald Diesener and Rainer Gries. GDR-related papers included:

Die FDJ zwischen Jugend und Partei

A one-day conference at SAPMO in Berlin on 7 March 1996 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the FDJ examined that organization's varied history. Speakers included Manfred Wendt, Ulrich Mählert, Peter Helmberger, Wolfgang Ribbe, Barbara Kotny, Harald Wessel, Helmut Steiner, Bodo Brücher, Walter Friedrich and Wilfried Poßner. For more details, contact Randy Bytwerk.

Feminist Perspectives Conference at Lund

The Department of Political Science at Lund University in Sweden announces a conference titled: A World in Transition. Feminist Perspectives on International Relations. The conference is scheduled for 14-16 June 1996. One section is titled "Feminisms in Europe -- East and West, at which papers dealing with Eastern Germany are welcome. For further information, check the conference home page.

DEFA: A retrospective: East German Cinema 1946-1992

The Centre for East German Studies the University of Reading is holding a conference on DEFA from 28-31 March 1996. For details, see the conference program.

22rd New Hampshire Symposium Call for Papers

The 22rd New Hampshire Symposium is planned for 19-26 June 1996. The Call for Papers gives the details.

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Miscellaneous News

Aktuelles aus der DDR-Forschung on the WWW

Mannheim University's Aktuelles aus der DDR-Forschung is now available on the WWW. It is the best source for information on current research projects on the GDR. The editor, Ulrich Mählert, welcomes reports of research in progress. Those wishing to report projects may do so by email from the website. Editor Mählert particularly encourages reports from EGSG members of their in-progress work on the GDR.


Treasurer Scott Gissendanner reports that current paid membership in EGSG is 36, a sign that numerous folk have probably neglected to pay their modest dues. This issue will go to everyone on the former mailing list, but the October issue will go to those who have paid their dues.

Gissendanner reports that theEGSG remains solvent, and that we are about to make peace with the IRS.

Where to Stay in Eastern Germany

Finding housing while on a research trip can sometime be difficult, and often expensive. As an experiment, EGSG will maintain a list of recommended economical housing in Eastern Germany. Please let us know of any housing secrets you're willing to divulge. New entries will be published in the newsletter. A complete list will be maintained on the EGSG web site. Here is the list so far:


During a stay in Berlin from February-March 1996, I contacted the ReservierungsDienst Berlin, Blissestraße 62, 10713 Berlin (Fax: 030-821-02-92) requesting an apartment for 5 weeks. They returned initially a quote of DM 3800, which was beyond my budget. I counter-offered DM 2500, and we compromised on DM 2875, an average of DM 82 per night, about the rate of my former inexpensive hotel. The apartment, located in Wilmersdorf about 35 minutes from the SAPMO archive, included a kitchen, beds for for 3-4, a television and a phone. I was entirely satisfied. For more information, contact Randy Bytwerk. [27 March 1996]

W. Karin Hall writes: In Berlin you can plug into the underground system of grad students; if you need names, ask me; if they cannot put you up for a week, they'll know someone who can. [27 March 1996]

Jim McAdams: An apparently good place to stay in Berlin is the Gästehaus der Humboldt Universität. I haven't actually stayed there since the fall of the Wall, but I will be there in June--I have heard good things about the accommodations, and you can't beat the rent or location. You do need an invitation from someone on the HU faculty. For more info, call (tel) 30-2843 1187/1186 OR fax 30-2843 1200. [27 March 1996]


Billy Brick: I've just reurned from a field course to Dresden, where I took 20 students to examine issues regarding development, construction and the environment since the unification. It was the fifth time I'd been over with a group from the UK and all of the visits were organised by the Sächsische Auslandsgesellschaft (SAG), a non-profit making organisation which organises visits of youth, academics, pensioners etc to the Saxony region. Their prices are very reasonable: we paid just DM250 for 6 nights B&B.They have a large house (sleeping up to 35 people) which currently faces a claim from previous owners, and charge a modest fee for a superbly organised programme of talks and visits. They have an expert knowledge of the area and have many contacts with local academics. Their details are [27 March 1996] :

Tauscherstr 9b
01277 Dresden
TEL: 0351 35776/35236
FAX: 0351 35136
Geschaeftsführer: Werner Krause


In Schwerin (Mecklenburgisches Landeshauptarchiv) there exists a very sophisticated Fremdenverkehrsystem in the city center which offers rooms for rent in private residences for varying fees, has this info and availability as well as a description of what you get for your money, makes the reservation for you and hands you a print-out of the whole thing. I would think that every major city in the east has this service, and short of crashing somewhere it is your best bet. I paid DM 50 a day last summer for a very nice and quiet studio complete with bath and small kitchen, occupancy 2 persons - there was cheaper to be had, but I liked the location. Anyway, check with tourist info when you get where you're going. W. Karin Hall [27 March 1996]

SAPMO Report

I just returned from five weeks in Berlin. The new SAPMO facilities are pleasant, though a bit less convenient to public transportation than the former quarters. The complex is housed in the former American Andrews Barracks, in turn the former home of the SS Division Liebstandarte Adolf Hitler, in turn the former home of the Prussian cadets. The grounds are spacious. Plans are to move the GDR government holdings from Potsdam and the Berlin Document Center there as well.

The archive has a spacious reading room, with is often full. The same cheerful and competent staff remains. The library is now several minutes walk away in the former base chapel (a lovely space).

There is currently no convenient spot for lunch near the facility. Those taking the 185 bus from Rathaus Steglitz will pass a bakery and grocery store along the way. The 211 bus runs directly past the entrance, but only at 20 minute intervals. [Randy Bytwerk]

The Stefan Heym Archive

by Karen Attar (Cambridge University)

The life of East German/American Jewish writer Stefan Heym has been varied. Born in Chemnitz in 1913, he was in 1933 Germany's youngest literary exile; the earliest literary manuscript in the archive is from the subsequent two years in which he subsisted from his writing in Prague. In 1935, he settled in America, where his activities included editing a German-language anti-
fascist newspaper in New York 1937-9 and writing his first bestseller, Hostages. As an American soldier during World War II he was at the spearhead of the Normandy invasion, and wrote broadcasts for Radio Luxembourg and newspapers in 1945 for the German civilian population.
During the McCarthy purges, Heym returned to Europe, and has lived in East Berlin since 1953. There his writings have been influential, but at a cost: his open criticism of "real existing socialism" brought him into conflict with the authorities, and he had the largest secret police file in East
Germany. Today, his books are constantly in print in Germany, and Heym receives wide media coverage as a literary and political figure.

From an early stage, Heym collected material which was to form the basis for his archive - an archive significant both for showing how a writer works and for encapsulating in many respects the history and cultural life of the GDR. The archive is large, currently containing, in addition to
printed editions and translations of his books, approximately 300 boxes/volumes of manuscripts, including plot outlines and source studies, and some unpublished literary works. There are also 75 boxes of correspondence (access restricted), some 40 boxes/volumes of press clippings, 400 audio
cassettes and 70 video cassettes, as well as miscellaneous material such as photographs and wartime pamphlets. The University Library of Cambridge acquired the archive in December 1992, and work is in progress sorting and cataloguing the material, a task due to end in July 1997. Interest in the holdings has already been expressed by scholars from several countries on the Continent and from across the Atlantic.

Information about the archive is available from Mr David Lowe, the Library's German specialist (dkl@ula.cam.ac.uk) or Dr Karen Attar, the Stefan Heym Archivist (kea@ula.cam.ac.uk) at:

Cambridge University Library
West Road
Cambridge, CB3 9DR, England.

DDR-Bibliothek: 40 Volumes of GDR Literature

The Verlag Faber & Faber Leipzig has begin a series of 40 volumes of GDR literature, published in attractive editions of about 5,000 copies each. Initial volumes seem to be selling equally well in both Eastern and Western Germany, according to the series editor. The goal is to publish novels (and several collections of short stories and poetry) that will cover the full range of GDR literature, both by well known and lesser known authors. The series so far consists of the following volumes:

Johannes R. Becher, Der Aufstand im Menschen
Werner Heiduczek, Tod Am Meer
Karl-Heinz Jakobs, Bechreibung eines Sommers
Irmtraud Morgner, Amanda. Ein Hexenroman
Heiner Müller, Der Lohndrücker/Die Umsiedlerin
Alfred Wellm, Pause für Wanzka

Forthcoming columes include Adolf Endler's Schichtenflotz, Christoph Hein's Horns End, Erik Neutsch's Spur der Steine, Wolfgang Hilbig's Die Weiber, Hans Eisler's Johann Faustus and Christa Wolf's Der Geteilte Himmel.

Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin

The Deutsches Historisches Museum has an interesting Web page, with considerable material relevant to the GDR. For example, there is a page with posters from the November 1989 demonstration in Berlin. The DHM has also recently published a CD titled Das politische Plakat der DDR (1945-1970). This contains nearly 3,000 GDR posters from the 20,000 in the DHM's holdings, with information on each poster as well. The price is DM 98.

SAPMO Bibliotheksbriefe

The following issues of the SAPMO library's monthly newsletter, summarizing its holding in various areas, have recently appeared:

Web Site on GDR Opposition

There is a new website dedicated to GDR "Aufarbeitung." It is run by Netzwerk "Geschichte von unten" and is dedicated to research on resistance and opposition to the SED in particular. According to the page:

Geschichte von unten" ist ein loser Zusammenschluß von Aufarbeitungsinitiativen, Wissenschaftlern, ehemaligen DDR-Bürgerrechtlern und Journalisten, der die Erforschung und Aufarbeitung widerständigen Verhaltens in der DDR vorantreiben will. Er tritt dafür ein, daß die Geschichte von Widerstand und Opposition in der DDR nicht allein aus den Akten von Staat, Partei und Stasi geschrieben wird, sondern unter Einbeziehung der authentischen Selbstzeugnisse des Widerstandes. Das Netzwerk will den Zugang zu diesen Materialien der DDR-Geschichte "von unten" für alle Interessierten verbessern und sich gezielt für den Erhalt noch ungesicherte "unoffiziellen" Quellen zur DDR-Geschichte einsetzen.

Video on East Germany

TEST THE WEST! - Metamorphosis in East Germany is a two-part documentary dealing with the issue of German Reunification from an insider's perspective. The video is in two parts:

The videos are available to schools and libraries for $45 each or $79 for both parts (includes PPR), to individuals (home use only) for $19 each, $35 both parts.To order, or for more information, please contact:

Simone Shoemaker
Bronco Video
P.O. Box 343
San Marcos, CA 92079

Phone: (619) 727-5328
E-mail: simone@cts.com

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New Reading

Recent Publications

The November 1995 special issue of Contemporary Theatre Review, edited by David Robinson (dwrob@gsvms2.cc.gasou.edu), includes the following articles on Eastern German drama:

Anderson, Sheldon.Polish-East German Relations, 1945-1962. 1995.

Betz, Hans-Georg and Helga A. Welsh, "The PDS in the New German Party System," German Politics, Vol. 4, No. 3 (December 1995), pp. 92-111. This particular issue of German Politics has a number of other articles that might be of interest to the our group.

Rueschmeyer, Marilyn. The Social Democratic Party in Eastern Germany: Democracy and Participation , East/West. Publication expected 1996.

Welsh, Helga A. "Shadows of the Past: Germany and the Legacy of SED Rule," in Peter H. Merkl, ed., The Federal Republic of Germany at Forty-Five. Union without Unity (New York: New York University Press, 1995), pp. 113-127. Again, a number of other chapters are also of relevance.

Recent Theses and Dissertations

Glenn, John K. "The Birth of Forum Politics in Eastern Europe: A Comparison of Civic Forum and Solidarity in 1989." Disseration Harvard (Completion expected 1996).

Heide, M. "Heiner Müller: revolution and the Literary Stage" University of Georgia, 1995. The thesis is an in-depth analysis of Die Hamletmaschine and contains information about Müller and his dramatic techniques.

Holtrop, Daniel C. "An East German Community Under Military Occupation: Schwerin, 1945-49." Thesis Grand Valley State University (completion expected 1996).

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Requests and Queries

Braunkohl in the DDR: Steven Heycock (S.Heycock@bradford.ac.uk) is trying to maintain a research contact at Jena University in order to study the effect of surface coal mining for Braunkohl in the former East Germany, in order to compare it with similar work I am doing here in Britain. However the research interests of myself at the University of Bradford and those of my contact at Jena University are not close enough. I am therefore looking for a research partner in Eastern Germany who is interested in the social and environmental effects of surface coal mining. There are research grants to apply for, for such international comparitive research, if one has a research partner. I wondered if your Group would be able to help in finding someone or some research group in Eastern Germany interested in such research.

Dr. Stephen Heycock
Department of Industrial Technology
University of Bradford

Query on Stalinstadt: Timothy Dowlin writes: "I am intending to write my dissertation on the planned city of Stalinstadt (now Eisenhüttenstadt) in the (former) GDR. My aim is to use the planning and everyday life of the city as it unfolded as a prism for viewing the political culture of the GDR both at the top (ie., what was intended for the nation) and below (how it actually worked out). I am interested in the planning and architectural styles and in the justifications for both (especially in comparison with other planned cities, both earlier and contemporary). To some degree, Stephen Kotkin's work on Magnitogorsk (Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as a Civilization) will serve as a model. Everyday life in a "model" city of East Germany will, I hope, form the core of the dissertation though. I have written to the German state archives, and know where most of the materials relevant to the planning and construction of the city are located (Potsdam); I have written to both the city administration and the archives in Eisenhüttenstadt, but received no replies as yet. Any further help in locating sources on: city planning, German reconstruction (particularly in the eastern zone), political legitmiation and the creation of a "national" identity, etc. would be greatly appreciated.

Query on DEFA
: Dagmar Schittly is working on a dissertation on the influence of the SED on DEFA in the former GDR. She's interested in contacting others interested in GDR film.

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EGSG Officers for 1995-98


Laurence McFalls
Department de science politique
Université de Montreal
C.P. 6128
succursale Centre-ville
Montréal, Québec H3C 3J7

Email: mcfallsl@ere.umontreal.ca


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

Phone: (860) 486-5334
Fax: (860) 486-3347
Email: henryk@uconnvm.uconn.edu


Scott Gissendanner [Through August 1996]
Arbeitsgruppe TRAP
Jaegerstr. 10-11
10117 Berlin

Email: gast@tp.ag-berlin.mpg.de


Randall Bytwerk
CAS Department
Calvin College
3201 Burton SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546

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

Members- at-Large:

Joyce Marie Mushaben
3652 Pine Creek
Williamsburg, OH 45176

Christian F. Ostermann
The National Security Archive
701 Gelman Library
2130 H St., NW
Washington, D.C. 20037

Tel: (202 )994 7076
Fax: (202 )994 7005
Email: chrisost@gwis2.circ.gwu.edu

Ellen Anderson
Department of German Studies
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305-2020

Email: 75103.371@compuserve.com

April 1996 EGSG Newsletter
Last updated 16 April 1996
Web Page by Randall Bytwerk
Calvin College
URL: <http://www.calvin.edu/cas/egsg/1996.htm>