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Workshop 3: Recalling the GDR dictatorship

The third workshop, which took place on 22-23 March at the University of Bristol, examined ways in which memories of political repression and narratives of victimhood have found representation in the cultural and political spheres (e.g. prison / Stasi museums and exhibitions, memorials to victims of the regime, autobiographies, film, photography). Discussions also asked how far such concerns have arisen out of a sense of marginalisation in the present, and in response to phenomena such as Ostalgie.

We were pleased to welcome two keynote speakers to the event: Dr Stefan Wolle (Academic Director of the DDR Museum in Berlin, and Project Leader in the Forschungsverbund SED-Staat at the Freie Universität Berlin), who spoke on memory of the GDR within the spheres of politics and the media, and Hansjürg Deschner (former GDR citizens' rights activist and member of the Round Table in Berlin; now a guide at the Gedenkstätte Hohenschönhausen), who reflected on the work carried out at Hohenschönhausen.


Download programme here

Report of Workshop Discussion

A report of discussions from the final session of the workshop can be downloaded here. Discussions focused primarily on questions of periodisation, genre, theoretical frameworks and the moral demands of memory. Network members who were not able to be present at this session are encouraged to respond with comments and feedback.

Suggested Reading

Following the format of the first two workshops, a list of recommended reading was sent to members prior to the workshop, to provide a common basis for discussion. Texts related to the theme of the workshop, as well as questions of Vergangenheitsbewältigung and Aufarbeitung.

Keynote Papers

We hope to be able to make outlines of both keynote papers available here in due course:

Dr Stefan Wolle (DDR-Museum / Freie Universität Berlin): ‘Zwischen Ostalgie-Show und Opfergedenken: DDR-Erinnerung  in der Poltik und den Medien.’

Hansjürg Deschner (Gedenkstätte Hohenschönhausen): ‘Gedanken zur Arbeit der Gedenkstätte Hohenschönhausen.’