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April, 2005 - Nr. 4


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Publishing house issues "Banned GDR Literature" series

  TWIG - The first two editions of the "Banned GDR Literature" series have just been published by the editors Ines Geipel and Joachim Walther, whose "Archive of Oppressed Literature" seeks to promote authors whose voices were quelled in the formerly communist East Germany.

"‘The Silent Library’ will show the vitality of the literature written against the GDR," said Walther, who presented the two volumes at the Leipzig Book Fair in the middle of March.

Generally, most of the literary works that have entered the canon of official GDR literature are by authors who were able to navigate the system of censorship rampant in East Germany — Heiner Mueller and Christa Wolf and are just some of those names. And that’s what makes Geipel and Walther’s endeavor, a library of never before published works, so important.

The first two works to be published as part of the initiative are "Blende 89" by Radjo Monk and "The Year Without Spring," by Edeltraud Eckert.

Monk was a Leipzig-based author who wrote a literary diary about the 1989 Monday Demonstrations in his city that helped bring the East German regime to its knees. That book contrasts to an earlier work of the era, a collection of poems and letters by the young Berliner Edeltraud Eckert, who died in an East German jail in 1955.

"Both of these texts have a singular quality to them," says Jens Bruening, a cultural critic for the German radio station Deutschlandfunk. "They confirm the thesis of two literary treasure hunters [Geipel and Walther] that there was a literary culture beyond the one sanctioned by the GDR that could be both varied and ambivalent."

The texts are among those collected for the "Archive of Oppressed Literature in the GDR," which was initiated in 2001. Altogether, 20 books with texts by 100 authors will be published in the "Silent Library" series.

The project is funded in part by the Stiftung Aufarbeitung der SED Diktaktur, a foundation which promotes the study of the causes, consequences, and history of the East German regime.
Republished with permission from "The Week in Germany"


Stiftung Aufarbeitung der SED Diktaktur (in German)


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