39. Second Report from IME “Dichter”: December 30, 1977

The poet Paul Wiens provided the final report in my file for 1977, based on information gathered in two December meetings with me. A memo attached to the report, dated January 5, 1978, indicates that Stasi officer Rolf Pönig received the information from IME “Dichter,” who is known to be a reliable source. The report appears below in its entirety.

Main Department XX/7                               Berlin, 12/30/1977

R e p o r t

IME “Dichter” reported on two meetings he had with the American Germanist

Dr. Zipser, Richard
residence: 102 Shipherd Circle

on 12/8/1977 and 12/15/1977.

During the first meeting ZIPSER asked the unofficial collaborator to review his contribution to ZIPSER’s book on GDR literature with regard to its correctness and accuracy in representing the unofficial collaborator’s views.

ZIPSER stated to the unofficial collaborator that, as far as possible, he ought not to make any modifications. He said he has experienced major difficulties with a number of writers lately. The reason for this is because he conducted interviews with writers primarily at the end of 1975 and in the first half of 1976. In the aftermath of the Biermann affair many of them now want to rewrite their contributions.

The unofficial collaborator told ZIPSER that he is not one of those persons who change their opinion at every opportunity. If ZIPSER has represented his views correctly, he will not make any changes. It was agreed that ZIPSER can return to pick up the unofficial collaborator’s contribution on 12/15/1977, after the unofficial collaborator has reviewed it.

During their second meeting ZIPSER told the unofficial collaborator that he had experienced a series of family problems all the while he was working on the GDR literature and writers project. His wife, from whom he is now separated, did not show any understanding for his work. She is a librarian and archival specialist by profession, and was not able to find a job in this line of work in the places where he had to reside. On top of that, she did not have any interest in accompanying him. She came from a wealthy family and had been completely spoiled. While he was away from home travelling, she consoled herself with another man. In the end, these circumstances led to their separation. Very convenient for the separation, according to ZIPSER’s account, was the fact that he and his wife did not have any children.

After that ZIPSER offered the following comments on his literary project: This book will not be published initially in the English language in the USA, but rather in German by a FRG [West German] publishing house. In order to finalize the work on this manuscript, he will return to the GDR on 5/15/1978. The unofficial collaborator commented that this ought not be a burden to him and that a serious collaboration also demands a certain honesty, since ZIPSER chose this date in order to be in Berlin during the 8th Writers Congress. After the unofficial collaborator made this direct reference, ZIPSER confirmed that it is his intention to confer with as many GDR writers as possible during the Writers Congress.

ZIPSER mentioned further that Ulrich PLENZDORF has given him much assistance with this book project and that he sometimes stays at his countryside cottage. The working conditions are very favorable for him at PLENZDORF’s home in [blacked out], he said.

ZIPSER promised to get in touch with the unofficial collaborator in 1978, after he returns to the GDR.