Department XVMagdeburg, 12/16/1977
1. Ex.: Main Directorate Dept. IX
2. Ex.: Main Directorate Dept. XI
3. Ex.: Main Department XX
I n f o r m a t i o n
Dr. Richard Z i p s e r
(Follow-up information to Control no. 9/77, Serial no. 9 from 12/6/77)
On 12/13/1977 Dr. Zipser invited the source to participate in a party he was having at 8:00 p.m. that day. He was inviting a number of good friends who had frequently invited him, in order to reciprocate. When the source asked him who would be there, he only said that Schlesinger is coming, among others, and that there would be a total of 12 persons.
The party will take place in the Hotel “Metropol.”
At approximately 8:15 p.m. the source arrived at the restaurant in the Hotel “Metropol,” where everyone was already seated at the table in the alcove. In attendance were (listed in the same order in which they were seated):
(Friend of Dr. Z. from West Berlin)
Martin . . .Member of the Writers’ Union
(Television announcer – residence: 1138
Berlin-Kaulsdorf, [blacked out])
(Caricaturist – Tel. [blacked out])
A Latin American man
Husband of Christa Wolf
Wife of Plenzdorf
[Although IMV “Kurt” provides a list of the guests, he does not include himself on that list, presumably to protect his identity. However, it is obvious that “Kurt” and “Milan” are one and the same person. It is also apparent that the secret police conducting the surveillance were not aware that “Milan” was an informant working for the Stasi.]
Furthermore, one could see that these persons did not know one another personally; as a result of that conversations arose mainly between
Plenzdorf – Schlesinger – Martin [Stade]
Plenzdorf – wife of Plenzdorf – Christa Wolf
Maria Moese – Helga Schrader
Dr. Zipser turned out to be an excellent host (dinner, beverages – wine only) and conversed with each of the participants, one after the other. The source was unable to overhear the content of these conversations. Dr. Zipser had a longer conversation with Christa Wolf. This was primarily about five photos she had brought along for him to include in his book. He disapproved of these photos because she looked very sad in all of them. Christa Wolf looked exceptionally sad and listless all evening long.
At 11:50 p.m. Dr. Zipser took his female friend to the city railway station. He asked Schlesinger to look after the guests during his absence.
At around 12:20 a.m. everyone said their goodbyes in front of Hotel “Metropol.” [Name blacked out] drove off in his automobile, even though he had consumed about five glasses of wine. Dr. Zipser, Maria und Willy Moese, and the Latin American man then walked together to the “Möwe” where they remained until around 2:45 a.m. [For some reason, IMV “Kurt” does not mention that he accompanied them to this private club.]
From 3:00 a.m. until 5:00 a.m. the source conversed with Dr. Zipser in his apartment. The invitation to have a nightcap together came from Dr. Zipser. In a conversation presumed to be confidential, Dr. Zipser then made the following remarks:
a. He emphasized several times that he is not in contact with the
American Embassy in the GDR.
b. He said three fourths of the questionnaires have been answered
via interviews, one fourth (i.e., ten writers) have answered in
c. He had the questionnaire approved by the Writers’ Union.
They provided him with the names of only fourth- and
fifth-level writers to interview. He also gave these writers the
questionnaire, of course, and their answers will be compared
to those of Plenzdorf, Christa Wolf and Schlesinger.
d. He emphasized that he is also interested in getting
together with writers who are not well known. A friend is
supposed to make it possible for him to do that in 1978.
e. He has intentionally avoided the minder the Humboldt
University assigned to him. This person has frequently tried
to contact him, but he has managed to become so “elusive”
that they have not seen each other.
Dr. Zipser offered the source his unconditional support, in West Berlin as well as in the USA. The source is to procure a visa for West Berlin, without fail, when he returns to the GDR in May 1978. He then wants to bring the source together “with his people.” The people in question are not writers though, but rather architects, engineers, and others.
Since the source indicated that an earlier trip to West Berlin might be a possibility, he gave the source the following addresses:
1 Berlin 30, Tel. [blacked out]
1 Berlin 45, Tel. [blacked out]
It should be noted that Schrader plans to get together with Maria Moese soon in the capital city. They were not acquainted previously, but supposedly come from neighboring places.
Dr. Zipser will drive to West Berlin on 12/15/1977 and from there travel back to the USA on 12/18/1977. He said that his project here in the GDR has assumed such proportions that he is now in need of a collaborator. For that purpose he proposes to gain the assistance in the USA of
Christiane Kraus or Krause
(comes from Leipzig, father is supposedly a professor at the “Karl Marx” University, moved to the USA in 1964). She is planning to write a book about art and culture in the GDR.
Dr. Zipser then wrote down his address for the source
102 Shipherd Circle
Oberlin, Ohio 44074
Tel. (216) 775-3785
Dept. of German
As we parted company, he said to the source: “It was a great pleasure for me to get to know you in the GDR. Perhaps you are the right one after all!”
In the source’s judgment, Dr. Zipser’s basic attitude toward the GDR is distinctly hostile. He has a strong interest in continuing to stay in contact with the source. His overall behavior vis-à-vis the source does not preclude a desire to make use of this person himself or recruit the source for intelligence service.
Also to be noted operatively is that Dr. Zipser was in Cafe Burger four times, together with Schlesinger, where he presumably also got together with Gerd Poppe [blacked out]. [Gerd Poppe was a human rights activist who protested the expatriation of writer/singer Wolf Bierman. From the late 1970s on, he was an important figure in the opposition movement in the GDR.]
The source is reliable and has been vetted. The information is not assessable officially, or else the source’s identity would be revealed.
The last section of IMV “Kurt’s” report is very cleverly written and misleading. He had told me that he was applying for a visa to attend a conference in West Berlin in the spring of 1978 and asked for the names of contact persons. The information I gave him, as well as my offer to be helpful, is presented in a way that makes it look like I was trying to recruit him as an operative. Since his Stasi-handler had no way of knowing what was actually said in our conversations, and since he could not verify most aspects of the report, “Kurt” could easily omit information, misreport conversations, or even fabricate statements (e.g., “Perhaps you are the right one after all!”) to suit his own purposes. In so doing, “Kurt” was probably trying to elevate his status and importance as a trusted informant—and he may have thought this would somehow increase his chances of getting a visa for a first visit to West Berlin, something he was extremely eager to do.
As “Kurt” mentions in his report, my project had become so large in scope that it threatened to overwhelm me. I had indeed decided to seek a collaborator, a Germanist with a keen interest in GDR literature who was also a native speaker of German. I first asked Dr. Christina Kraus (University of Pittsburgh) if she would like to work on the project with me, but—after giving the matter considerable thought—she declined. I turned next to Dr. Karl-Heinz Schoeps (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), who agreed to step in and assist me. We worked well together and in 1980 were able to finalize the manuscript. Without the able assistance of Karl-Heinz Schoeps, I doubt that I would have been able to complete this massive project. My undertaking was far too ambitious for a single person to carry out.