Thuringian Archive for Contemporary History 'Matthias Domaschk'
Jena Camsdorfer Ufer 17, Germany 07749
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Provenance and cultural activities
The provenance of the "Matthias Domaschk" Thuringian Archive of Contemporary History’s holdings is closely linked to the chronology of political protest initiatives and the activities of independent artists in Jena. These holdings detail the continuity from small opposition groups in the beginning of the 1980’s to circles of opposition activists formed around the “City Youth Parish” (“Junge Gemeinde Stadtmitte”; JG) and the “Jena Society for Peace” to the personalities of the countercultural and alternative movements, as well as the so-called “Second Public”, members of which could be encountered from 1988 in the “Leseladen” (“reading shop”). Many of the documents in the collections were passed among these circles before entering the archive.
In 1991, a project group of “Artists for others” began collecting documents and documentation relating to the history of opposition and nonviolent resistance in Jena and Thuringia. Presently, the resulting archive comprises more than 100 estates belonging to former members of opposition groups and individuals active in the alternative milieu. The archive is named after Matthias Domaschk, who died under still-unsolved circumstances while being held in pre-trial detention by the Ministry for State Security in 1981.
For many years, the Archive was not housed in a fixed location, but moved within the city as well as outside of the city, to a commune in the surroundings of Jena, where its holdings were used in the publication of several projects. In 2009, the Archive was recognized by Thuringia and the city of Jena and began to receive institutional funding. This support has allowed the Archive to collect, professionally organize and open its holdings to the public for the foreseeable future.
Description of content
The holdings of the "Matthias Domaschk" Thuringian Archive of Contemporary History offer rich source material for documenting the daily life of societal outcasts or members of the opposition in the GDR. The Archive holds the largest cache of documentation relating to opposition and nonviolent resistance in the GDR in Thuringia. The Archive possesses recordings of live events, political and artistic Samizdat publications, collections relating to construction soldiers as well as pertaining to the self-initiated solidarity projects in Latin America and Africa. Personal documents detailing youth subculture(s) as well as those individuals active in grass-roots organizations which became more brazen as the “Autumn of Change” approached are likewise well-represented. Finally, the Archive contains the documentation of the Jena Environmental Library, which came into existence at the end of the 1980’s. These holdings are being continually enlarged with the addition of interviews conducted with contemporary witnesses.
- artifacts: 10-99
- clothing: 10-99
- graphics: 10-99
- grey literature (regular archival documents such as brochures, bulletins, leaflets, reports, intelligence files, records, working papers, meeting minutes): 1000-
- manuscripts (ego-documents, diaries, notes, letters, drafts, etc.): 1000-
- photos: 1000-
- publications (books, newspapers, articles, press clippings): 1000-
- video recordings (including oral history recordings): 10-99
- voice recordings (including oral history recordings): 100-499
Geographical scope of recent operation
Date of founding
Place of founding
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- Riedel, Maria
Important events in the history of the collection
- completely open to the public
Part of network
Author(s) of this page
- Sonnenberg, Uwe
Riedel, Maria , interview by Sonnenberg, Uwe, April 07, 2017. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection
Ilse, Andreas , interview by Sonnenberg, Uwe, April 07, 2016. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection