Language: French & German
Initiated by the photographers’ agency OSTKREUZ and the Bundesstiftung zur Aufarbeitung der SED, this exhibition invites visitors to take a journey through images and time to discover life in East Germany at a time when the Berlin Wall still separated the two Germanies. The pictures of German photographer Harald Hauswald, accompanied by texts by historian and author Stefan Wolle, show us a GDR without make-up or artifice.
Harald Hauswald, born in Radebeul in 1954, trained as a photographer in Dresden and moved to East Berlin in 1978. In the 1980s, he roamed the streets there to immortalize what other photographers did not see or find worthy of interest: scenes from everyday life, single and elderly people, couples in love, rockers, hooligans and young people working for peace and environmental protection in the church. One of the principles of socialist realism is to place “Man at the center”. Harald Hauswald applies it in his own way. His work is not worth any price, but trouble with the authorities. Naturally, Harald Hauswald also photographs dilapidated facades and queues in front of grocery stores. But his photography does not so much seek to be subversive as to declare his love for the people of the GDR. For a brief moment, an almost tender relationship develops between the people photographed and the photographer, a relationship that continues to touch the viewer today. Hauswald’s photographs shape the image we have of the GDR before its fall and are regularly exhibited worldwide.
Stefan Wolle, born in Halle/Saale in 1950, obtained his school-leaving certificate in 1969 in Berlin and passed his specialized worker’s examination as a bookseller. From 1971, he studied German history and philology at the Humboldt University of East Berlin. In 1972, he was forced to abandon his studies due to critical political statements and had to “prove himself in the factory” for a year. After his reintegration and graduation, he worked at the Academy of Sciences. In 1984, he received his doctorate on German-Russian relations around 1800. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Stefan Wolle became a technical expert on Stasi files for the Round Table (dialogue with the regime’s new political forces); in March 1990, he co-authored Ich liebe euch doch alle (I love you all, however, I love you all), the first collection of Stasi documents, which became the GDR’s latest bestseller. As a historian, he later worked at the Humboldt University and the Free University of Berlin. Since 2005, he has been the director of
scientist of the GDR Museum in Berlin. He is best known for his trilogy Die heile Welt der Diktatur (The Intact World of Dictatorship). Readers appreciate his lively and realistic descriptions of the GDR, based on both scientific sources and his own experience.
The German Federal Foundation for Dictatorship Research of the SED (Bundesstiftung zur Aufarbeitung der SED-Diktatur) contributes to the in-depth analysis of the causes, history and consequences of communist dictatorships in Germany and Europe through its grants for various projects and its own offerings: www.bundesstiftung-aufarbeitung.de. The photographers’ agency Ostkreuz was founded in Paris in 1990 by seven East German photographers. Today, the agency has 22 members and is one of the most renowned in Germany: www.ostkreuz.de.
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