The Robert Havemann Society: Remembering Forgotten Heroes
Tuesday, 05 May 2009 21:25
From the article by Lasse Ole Hempel
In spring 2009 part of the Alexanderplatz in Berlin was transformed into an exhibition space: the open-air exhibition “Peaceful Revolution, 1989/90” will be showing from May 7 to November 14, and commemorates the atmosphere of upheaval in the GDR through original documents and films. Co-initiator is the Berlin Robert Havemann Society, which has been fighting since 1990 against the forgetting of the opposition movement in the GDR. [...]

Archiving protest and making the archives public

An important stimulus to founding the Havemann Society was given by prominent members of the GDR opposition such as Katja Havemann, Bärbel Bohley and Freya Klier, who directly after the Wende got hold of their Stasi (secret police) documents and brooded over the prospect that in future the existence of the GDR opposition might be known only through the sober and cynical reports of spies. Thus the idea was born to archive their own activities and make the archives publicly available.

Today the Havemann Society houses three archives: the Matthias Domaschk Archive, which arose from the holdings of the East Berlin environmental library; the GrauZone Archive, with its holdings on the East German women’s movement; and finally the Robert Havemann Archive, which essentially comprises Robert Havemann’s literary remains and material documenting the activities of the New Forum. Although the chemist Havemann was perhaps the most influential figure of the resistance to the GDR, his work is increasingly threatened with falling into oblivion. Yet he was of great importance for many years as a contact and reference for other members of the opposition such as Jürgen Fuchs, Wolf Biermann, Rainer Eppelmann and Bärbel Bohley – a personality with an extremely varied biography. Havemann was a convinced anti-fascist, representative GDR scientist, and for a short time even a Stasi collaborator before he became a dissident and finally an icon of opposition and resistance.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 05 May 2009 22:57 )