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.
kaynak: AP Photo

Critics in the GDR

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The scientist Robert Havemann (l.) and the singer-songwriter Wolf Biermann (r.) criticised the SED state and called for democracy. Havemann lost his professorship and was placed under house arrest for a time. Biermann was banned from performing and expelled from the GDR in 1976. In Havemann’s garden in Grünheide near Berlin, 1976.
kaynak: Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft
The Protestant parish pastor Oskar Brüsewitz in Rippicha near Zeitz, 1974. Brüsewitz frequently opposed the suppression of freedom of religion and opinion. In August 1976 he burned himself to death on the marketplace in Zeitz (Saxony-Anhalt), hoping to act as a signal for revolt.
kaynak: Brüsewitz-Zentrum/Woltersdorf
The Protestant pastor Walter Schilling spoke out in favour of democratic structures in the church and the rest of society. From the 1970s on he played a key role in setting up open youth work within the church. In the 1980s he became an authoritative figure in the GDR opposition.
kaynak: Archiv Geschichtswerkstatt Jena
The Protestant pastor Christoph Wonneberger gave advice to young men who refused to take part in military service. In 1981 he set up an initiative for alternative community service in the GDR, which appealed directly to many young people. From 1986 he coordinated the prayers for peace in Leipzig’s Church of St Nicolas and supported opposition groups.
kaynak: Privatarchiv Christoph Wonneberger
The SED functionary and philosopher Rudolf Bahro published a preview of his book The Alternative in Eastern Europe in the West German magazine Der Spiegel in 1977. He was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment in the GDR in 1978 and expelled to West Germany in 1979, in response to international protests.
kaynak: Roger Melis
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