Document Collection of the Civic Movement Archive in Leipzig
04277 Leipzig Bernhard-Göring-Straße 152 , Germany
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Provenance and cultural activities
From the middle of the 1980’s, many oppositional groups in the GDR began to organize libraries and documentation centers concerned with propagating alternative political information, primarily under the aegis of the church. In the autumn of 1988, the Markus parish in Leipzig opened its own “Umweltbibliothek” [environmental library], containing books, numerous Samizdat publications, personal correspondence and position papers.
Klaus Roewer, a Freiburg-based historian began searching for documentary material relating to the system change at the beginning of 1990. He arrived in Leipzig that autumn and began utilizing the ‘environmental library’ in what would become the first cornerstone of the Civic Movement Archive in Leipzig. Uwe Schwabe, a native of Leipzig and civil rights activist was responsible for preserving this collection. He was also involved when, on 5 May 1991, former activists from Leipzig's peace, environmental, and human rights movements founded a non-profit charity for the rapidly growing collection. At that time, the collection was housed in Roewer’s apartment.
In 1999, with the support of the city government of Leipzig, the documents were moved to the Fregehaus where they were professionally processed for the first time. After the Leipzig government sold the lucrative property Fregehaus in the city center in 2012, the Archive was moved to the Haus der Demokratie [House of Democracy], returning to its original, political setting.
From inception, the Archive collected all materials documenting the history of the Leipzig-based youth, peace, environmental and human rights groups. The holdings are sorted topically, by event and by group and refer not only to developments in Leipzig, but also within the GDR. Their contents comprise 220 linear meters and have grown to 10,000 files. Paper records from the collections form the “Document Collection” of the Archive and total about 110 linear meters. In addition, the archive has an extensive collection of photos and posters, numerous bequests and estates as well as eyewitness interviews. The “Civic Movement Archive in Leipzig” is used for many exhibitions and publications.
Description of content
With 110 from more than 200 linear meters, paper records form the most comprehensive holdings of the Leipzig Civic Rights Movement Archive. This collection contains the self-testimony of local peace, environmental and human rights activists and internal records maintained by the movements and groups during the 1980s. Further, the collection contains unique documentation relating to the People’s Uprising of 1953 and the Leipzig Beat Wave of 1965.
A chronicle of prayers for peace and alternative political groups in Leipzig can be found online (http://www.archiv-buergerbewegung.de/zeittafel). The engagement of the opposition groups, their immediate prehistory as well as the events leading up to the autumn of system change with its Monday demonstrations can be reconstructed on the basis of the collection’s documents. In addition, the archive contains an extensive collection of photos and posters, numerous bequests and estates as well as eyewitness interviews.
- grey literature (regular archival documents such as brochures, bulletins, leaflets, reports, intelligence files, records, working papers, meeting minutes): 1000-
Geographical scope of recent operation
- Roewer, Klaus
- Schwabe, Uwe
Date of founding
Place of founding
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Important events in the history of the collection
- completely open to the public
Broschüre: Archiv Bürgerbewegung Leipzig e.V.: Archiv, Ausstellungen, Publikationen. 1991 bis 2015 [Brochure: Civic Movement Archive of Leipzig e.V.: Archive, Exhibitions, Publications. 1991 to 2015], Selbstverlag [o.J.].
Civic Movement Archive Leipzig e.V. (ed.) Rotstift. Medienmacht, Zensur und Öffentlichkeit in der DDR [Red marker. The power of the media, censorship and the public in the GDR]. Begleitkatalog zur Ausstellung [Accompanying publication to exhibition].
Eckert, Rainer. 2014. Opposition, Widerstand und Revolution. Widerständiges Verhalten in Leipzig im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert [Opposition, Resistance and Revolution. Oppositional Behavior in Leipzig in the 19th and 20th Centuries]. Edited by the Civic Movement Archives of Leipzig e.V. Halle: Mitteldeutscher Verlag.
Liebing, Yvonne. 2005. All you need is beat. Jugendsubkultur in Leipzig 1957-1968 [All you need is beat. Youth sub-culture in Leipzig 1957-1968]. Edited by Uwe Schwabe and Rainer Eckert. Leipzig: Forum Verlag.
Mayer, Thomas. 2009. Helden der Friedlichen Revolution. 18 Portraits von Wegbereitern aus Leipzig [Heroes of the Peaceful Revolution. Eighteen portraits of peace pioneers from Leipzig]. Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt.
Mayer, Thomas. 2010. Helden der Deutschen Einheit. 20 Portraits von Wegbereitern aus Sachsen [Heroes of German Unification. Twenty Portraits of Saxon Pioneers in Unification]. Edited by the Civic Movement Archive of Leipzig e.V. and the Saxon Regional Representative for Stasi Documentation. Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt.
Pausch, Andreas. 2004. Waffendienstverweigerung in der DDR... das einzig mögliche und vor dem Volk noch vertretbare Zugeständnis [Rejecting conscription in the GDR… the only possible and socially accepted concession]. Edited by Uwe Schwabe and Rainer Eckert. Norderstedt.
Pausch , Andreas Peter. 2014. Widerstehen. Pfarrer Christoph Wonneberger [Resistance. The Reverend Christoph Wonneberger]. Edited by Uwe Schwabe. Berlin: Metropol.
Author(s) of this page
- Sonnenberg, Uwe
Paul, Saskia , interview by Sonnenberg, Uwe, October 14, 2016. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection