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Archive project on Homosexuality in the GDR completed

6. August 2014

Having twice financed the project since January 2013, the Stiftung Aufarbeitung has guaranteed the indexing of materials concerning the history of the homosexual movement in the GDR. Biographical materials and items from the everyday lives of lesbians, gay men and trans*persons in the GDR is now completely processed and is available to the interested public and for scholarly research at the Schwules Museum*. “What is exciting about this collection is that it not only contains materials relevant to the opposition, but also from groups affiliated with the State”, states Kristina Schmidt, the researcher at the Schwules Museum* responsible the project. “With this basis, it will be possible to easily integrate new materials as they come in.”

The first phase of the project dealt mainly with individual estates and bequests from persons active for the emancipation of homosexuals in the GDR, such as the sex researcher Rudolf Klimmer. Beyond that, materials from various secular and non-secular opposition groups were included. In the year 2014, items related to the Demokratischen Jugendverband (Democratic Youth League) were archived. The League was formed in 1947 as a counter to the FDJ (Freie Deutsche Jugend / Free German Youth). In addition, extensive materials on the AIDS-Hilfe (AIDS-Help) in the GDR could be integrated into the collection.

Aside from the regular collection activities at the museum, the archive received several small individual collections and/or documents from private persons who may have lived in the GDR, but were neither part of the Church Working Groups nor the groups active in the homosexual movement. These small folders, documents and photograph collections which illustrate the everyday life of homosexual individuals in the GDR are now archived and available.

“Right on time for the 25th anniversary of the fall of the wall, these important sources are indexed, and the funds from the Bundesstiftung have ensured the preservation of the documents,” says Jens Dobler, Head of the Archive at the Schwules Museum*.