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.
источник: AP Photo

East-West contacts

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For the opposition in the GDR, connections to the Federal Republic of Germany and to West Berlin were of the utmost importance. In particular civil rights activists who had moved to the West or been expelled as well as correspondents accredited in the GDR and working for the West German media helped the groups to gain publicity in the West.

They found means of getting information in and out of the GDR. They also arranged for further supplies of materials urgently needed to produce underground newspapers. Banned books were smuggled into the GDR, dissident manuscripts and letters taken across the border into the West. Journalists informed the international public about outrages in the GDR, about violations of human rights and arrests.

View of the Wall and death strip from West Berlin, May 1988.
источник: Bundesregierung/Klaus Lehnartz
The writers Lutz Rathenow (l.) and Jürgen Fuchs (r.) at a reading in Berlin, 1990. The two men sought out the Western media as a voice for the opponents to the East German dictatorship. Rathenow lived in East Berlin, while Fuchs was a key partner in West Berlin and an outspoken critic of the GDR regime.
источник: ullstein bild/Andree
Peace Workshop on the subject of “Planting Peace” in the Parish of the Redeemer in Berlin’s Lichtenberg district, 1983. In the centre (with briefcase) Karl-Heinz Baum, the GDR correspondent for the West German newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau. Baum regularly reported on the emerging peace movement, up to the Peaceful Revolution.
источник: Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft/Peter Wensierski
The West German journalist Peter Wensierski in East Berlin, 1983. From the early 1980s onwards, he reported on the peace and environmental movement in the GDR. His publications clearly showed how the young generation was increasingly withdrawing from patronage by the state.
источник: Wolfgang Büscher
The correspondent of the West German news magazine Der Spiegel, Ulrich Schwarz, with his secretary Gisela Krüger in the East Berlin editorial office, 24 November 1976. His articles took a critical look behind the façade of the GDR regime. Up to 1989 Schwarz was an important contact to the West for the East German opposition.
источник: Archiv Bundesstiftung Aufarbeitung, Bestand Klaus Mehner, Nr. 76_1124_WIF_Medien_07
The West German journalist Hans-Jürgen Röder in East Berlin, spring 1988. From 1979 onwards, he was a registered GDR correspondent for the Protestant Press Service. He supported the growing East German opposition through his reports and as a courier for banned newspapers, books and manuscripts.
источник: Hans-Jürgen Röder/Privatarchiv
Roland Jahn, a journalist and former opposition activist from Jena, in a cutting room of West Berlin’s public broadcaster SFB in the 1980s. Following his expulsion from the GDR in 1983, he built up a network supporting the East German opposition. He had video cameras smuggled into the GDR, enabling reports that had never been seen before.
источник: Sabine Sauer
Gert Bastian, Petra Kelly, Otto Schily and Dirk Schneider (r.-l.). The members of the West German Green Party were received by the GDR head of state Erich Honecker (l.) on 31 October 1983. Kelly confronted him with the logo of the GDR peace movement on her clothing. Anyone caught wearing the “swords to ploughshares” symbol in East Germany was persecuted.
источник: ullstein bild/AP
Kirchhainer Damm border crossing, 18 April 1988. Protest action against the transport of toxic waste from West Berlin to the East German dumps in Vorketzin and Schöneiche. The West Berlin group BRD-DDR (an abbreviation for “Dump It Over the Border – Thanks for the Waste” playing on the acronyms for West and East Germany) blocked the waste trucks after liaising with East Berlin environmental activists. A campaign like this was unthinkable in the GDR.
источник: Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft/Ralph Rieth

In the second half of the 1980s, the division of Germany and of Berlin was a major topic of discussion, particularly due to the opposition Initiative for Rejection of the Practice and Principle of Separation. This initiative repeatedly warned of the negative repercussions of isolation on the East Germans, and called for the situation to be changed.

A Stasi map pinpointing the reception of Radio Glasnost in 1987. The programme could only be heard in good quality in Berlin and its immediate surroundings. The East Berlin opposition therefore taped the programmes and distributed them around the rest of the country.
источник: Bundesbeauftragte für die Unterlagen des Staatssicherheitsdienstes der ehemaligen DDR
Open letter from the Initiative for Rejection of the Practice and Principle of Separation to head of state Erich Honecker dated 23 January 1989, published in the West German newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau. The initiative called attention to the fact that the GDR’s isolation had destructive effects on society.
источник: Frankfurter Rundschau, 28.01.1989
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