Environmental Libraries

From September 1986 onwards, the Environmental Library operated in the parish rooms of the Zion Church in East Berlin. Not only could visitors to the library learn about environmental problems but also about all taboo subjects in society. Along with dissident pamphlets, the the opposition group also published the Umweltblätter newsletter. This was one of the most widely distributed underground journals in the GDR. Dissident artists exhibited their works in a gallery. Seminars, lectures, film showings and concerts also took place in this room. In the end, the Environmental Library in Berlin became a central information point and meeting place for opposition activists from throughout the country.

From the mid-1980s onwards, similar libraries were founded in other parts of the GDR. For the opposition groups, they developed into important centres for information and coordination. As venues for open discussion and cooperation, they were a place to learn democracy. Stasi employees closely monitored the libraries' activities and attempted to stop their work and prevent them from exerting any influence on the general public.

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