Main Department XX/Operative GroupBerlin, 6/14/1977
Transcript of tape recording
Source: IMV “Kurt”
received: First Lieutenant Paulitz on 6/8/1977
ZIPSER, Dick – USA Citizen: Germanist
On 6/6/1977 ZIPSER called me from Plenzdorfs’ place and said that he wanted to visit me with Helga PLENZDORF.
Around 7:00 p.m. he arrived at my place with Helga P. and her daughter Ulrike.
Shortly after his arrival he made a telephone call from my place to a citizen of Westberlin
born on [blacked out] 1942 in Berlin
resident of Westberlin, [blacked out]
and to a GDR citizen
Christa or Christine – ca. 35 years old
employed: GDR television
Christa met ZIPSER in Hotel “Berolina” during his last stay in the capital of the GDR.
After he informed KELLNER that he would be not be coming back to his house until after midnight (ZIPSER is staying with KELLNER), he asked Christa to make her way to the PLENZDORFs’ place, so they could spend the evening together following his return.
At 8:45 p.m. we picked up Christa at the Plenzdorfs’ and headed over to Hotel “Berolina,” in order to have supper together in the cellar restaurant. At around 10:00 p.m. Ulrich PLENZDORF joined us there.
At 11:15 p.m. ZIPSER and Christa left the restaurant after announcing their intention to walk together to Güst Friedrich-Zimmer-Street, from where ZIPSER would leave for Westberlin. ZIPSER declined Helga PLENZDORF’s offer to drive him to the border in her car.
[ . . . ]
According to ZIPSER’s account, he has been in Westberlin since Saturday, 6/4/1977, and plans to travel to Austria on 6/11/1977, in order to arrange a talk or series of talks in Vienna. [On June 16, 1977, I gave a talk in Vienna on “Literatur der DDR heute” (Contemporary GDR Literature), as part of the Literary Quarter lecture series, sponsored by the Vienna Art Association.]
ZIPSER did not comment on the specific reasons for his stay in Westberlin. It appears that he is using the transit journey as a week-long opportunity to call on friends and acquaintances in Westberlin and in the capital of the GDR.
ZIPSER mentioned that he met with Sarah KIRSCH on Sunday, 6/5/1977, and on Monday with Ulrich PLENZDORF, at whose home he also got together with Martin STADE.
I know that STADE was in Berlin on 6/6/1977. That afternoon Ulrich PLENZDORF drove him to Altrosenthal. Moreover, on the way to Hotel “Berolina” Zipser was carrying the book 19 Fische [19 Fish, a volume of short stories by Stade].
ZIPSER reported that his book on GDR literature would soon be published.
Furthermore, he has received a new fellowship from his university [a reference to the grant I received from IREX] and intends to return to the GDR in October 1977 and spend two months here as a resident. He did not comment on the specific nature of his activity here. It appears, however, that he plans to concentrate further on GDR literature. According to his own account, he frequently listens to the tape recordings he made a while ago with GDR writers.
In addition, ZIPSER reported that on 6/7/1977 he plans to meet with
in Westberlin. Supposedly, ZIPSER got to know BRASCH only now in Westberlin.
ZIPSER has an excellent command of the German language. According to his own account, he began learning German in the 10th grade and spent a year in the FRG [Federal Republic of Germany] as a college student. At age 20, he first began to read books in German and since that time has devoted himself intensively to German literature.
His demeanor is characterized by an unassumingness that one cannot fail to notice. For example, ZIPSER refuses to use his academic degree (Dr.) with his name when reserving a table in Hotel “Berolina.”
ZIPSER is able to adapt himself perfectly to his conversational partners and participate with concentration as the discussion progresses. Also, these behavioral patterns don’t change when he is under the influence of alcohol. Because of his adaptability, he quickly engages his contact partners in unrestrained discussions on diverse topics and thereby becomes a “sympathetic conversational partner” in relatively short order.
As I read the last two paragraphs of IMV “Kurt’s” report, with his comments on my person, I am reminded of Hinstorff publisher Konrad Reich’s observations about me in the “Personal Information” section of his report dated June 23, 1976. It is interesting to know how the informants perceived me way back then, and what I read in these reports pleases me.