37. First Report on Farewell Dinner Party by IMV “Kurt”

The file contains two more reports on my farewell dinner party, both of which provide some interesting additional information. The first of these, which is dated December 14, 1977, appears in its entirety below. The information in it was provided by IMV “Kurt,” who was a guest at the dinner party. The absence of prominent dissident poet/prose writer Sarah Kirsch, who had moved to West Berlin earlier in 1977 and who had accepted my invitation to attend the party, is noted. A memorandum attached to the report indicates that it was prepared by Captain Hans Schiller, Main Department XX/7.

Main Department XXBerlin, 12/14/1977

I n f o r m a t i o n

about USA citizen ZIPSER’s get-together with GDR writers on 12/13/1977 in the capital city of the GDR.

The gathering took place on 12/13/1977, from 8:00 p.m. to 12:00 midnight, in the specialty restaurant of the Hotel “Metropol.” The attendees were:

Zipser, Richard— USA citizen, associate professor at Oberlin
College in the state of Ohio, USA, residing
at present in the GDR
Wolf, Christa— writer
Wolf, Gerhard— writer
Plenzdorf, Ulrich— writer
and his wife
Stade, Martin— writer
Moese, Willi— caricaturist
Moese, Maria— television announcer

as well as a male and a female person who have not yet been identified. [The unidentified persons are Helga Schrader, my guest from West Berlin, and Carlos, the Chilean doctoral candidate who was living in my apartment house. But for some reason IMV “Kurt” does not list two other guests: Klaus Schlesinger, the writer, and Dirk Strassenberger.]

Sarah KIRSCH, who left and moved to West Berlin, had also been invited to this get-together. She had originally indicated that she was coming, but then did not participate. She did not reenter the capital city of the GDR.

As regards this subject, the following was learned unofficially:
At the beginning of the gathering, ZIPSER pointed out that before returning to the USA he wanted to get together with those friends to whom he owed the most and thank them for their support during his residence in the GDR.
He says the manuscript of his forthcoming book on GDR literature is finished, apart from the foreword he still needs to write, and he expects to receive the galley proofs by the end of 1978.
In this connection, ZIPSER made known his intention to also offer the book he is preparing to a publishing house in the GDR for possible publication when the galley proofs are available.
Gerhard WOLF recommended the publisher Buchverlag “Der Morgen” for this purpose.
ZIPSER mentioned that the head of Suhrkamp Publishing Company in the FRG, [Siegfried] Unseld, had already expressed interest in his project on GDR literature.
The attendees approved of ZIPSER’s plan to publish his book in the GDR. PLENZDORF, SCHLESINGER and STADE expressed doubts about this manuscript being accepted by a GDR publishing house.
Moreover, it was learned that ZIPSER is intending to include an interview with Erich ARENDT in his book. However, since he is leaving the GDR on 12/15/1977 and no longer able to meet personally with ARENDT, he plans to have ARENDT’s written answers sent to him in the USA.
In this context, ZIPSER expressed thanks for the support of Gerhard WOLF, who on short notice still was able to put him in contact with ARENDT.
ZIPSER mentioned additionally that he had visited Stefan HEYM last Sunday.

During the remaining portion of the get-together more and more one-on-one conversations among the attendees came about. Topics of conversation at this juncture were Oberlin College, where ZIPSER is employed and about which he made insignificant remarks, Italian architecture about which STADE commented in connection with his recent trip to Italy and passed around a picture with a statue.
It was noticeable that Maria MOESE conversed very intensively with the person not yet identified, and Willi MOESE carried on animated conversations with ZIPSER.
SCHLESINGER was relatively isolated. For the most part he did not participate in the conversations and only now and then exchanged a few words with PLENZDORF.

At 12:00 midnight the get-together concluded. The participants said their farewells in front of the Hotel “Metropol” and set off separately for home.