Demonstration by the Polish trade union Solidarnosc in the pilgrimage city of Tschenstochau (Poland). The illegal trade union Solidarnosc grew into a mass movement that could no longer be stopped.
Source: AP Photo

The opposition goes public

In the course of the 1980s, opposition groups sprang up in all regions of the GDR. By organising events and producing illegal publications, they attempted to make their own publicity. The activists formed networks and made connections to the West, extending the sphere of influence for their campaigns considerably.

Till Böttcher in the East Berlin Environmental Library. Opposition magazines and leaflets were produced on simple duplicating machines. The machinery and printing equipment were rare, mostly coming from the church or smuggled into the GDR from the West.
Source: Harald Hauswald / OSTKREUZ
Im Herbst 1989 werden auf solchen Wachsmatrizenmaschinen rund um die Uhr Flugblätter, Erklärungen und Samisdatzeitschriften gedruckt.
Source: Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft/Siegbert Schefke
Druckutensilien, die für die Herstellung von Zeitschriften und Flugblättern der Opposition verwendet wurden.
Source: Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft/Tom Sello

The Initiative for Peace and Human Rights was an important opposition group established in East Berlin in 1986. It documented the violation of human rights in the GDR and demanded basic civil rights, liberties and democracy.

The Environmental Library was also founded in 1986 in East Berlin. Anyone interested could use the premises to exchange information with others, read publications banned in the GDR and watch performances by dissident artists. Soon similar libraries were set up in other towns and cities. They quickly turned into popular communication centres.

Peace, environmental or conscientious objector groups joined forces in networks and distributed small print-runs of underground newspapers. This was where people could read everything they would never learn from the official GDR media. Opposition activists in the East had the support of West German journalists and critics of the GDR who had moved to the West.

Opposition publications from the second half of the 1980s. These magazines evaded state censorship to spread information which the authorities did not want people to know.
Source: Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft
Opposition publications from the second half of the 1980s. These magazines evaded state censorship to spread information which the authorities did not want people to know.
Source: Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft
Opposition publications from the second half of the 1980s. These magazines evaded state censorship to spread information which the authorities did not want people to know.
Source: Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft
Opposition publications from the second half of the 1980s. These magazines evaded state censorship to spread information which the authorities did not want people to know.
Source: Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft
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