59. Report Dated June 27, 1978

There is one more document in the 1978 section of the Fries/Zipser file, a two-page typewritten report prepared by Stasi officer Hoffmann, using information Fries had provided orally on May 22, 1978. It appears in its entirety below.

Department XX/7Frankfurt (O), 06/27/ 1978
source: IMS “Pedro Hagen” Pe [Petershagen]
received: First Lieutenant Hoffmann
on: 05/22/1978

– oral –

Prof. Z i p s e r , American literary scholar

In relation to Prof. Zipser the IM provided the following new details, adding to the information he obtained on 04/14/1978:

On 05/18/1978 Prof. Zipser made contact via telephone and said that he was able to follow through on his plan and is staying in the GDR. He indicated that he was very interested in having a conversation and wanted to set up a meeting. He said he would be spending a longer period of time in the GDR, which would enable him to continue his work. After that an agreement was reached to hold a meeting on 05/23/1978.


On 04/14/1978 the IM reported that Prof. Zipser gave advance notice of another working visit in the spring of 1978. After Prof. Zipser made contact recently, an agreement was reached to have a meeting in the IM’s apartment. The IM stated that—without being prompted to do so—he was very interested in speaking with Zipser because he is eager to know if Zipser has completed the manuscript with interviews he conducted some years ago with GDR authors and where things stand with regard to its publication. In addition to that the IM is interested in learning in whose company he would find himself in the event of a publication, whether for example the authors who have left the GDR will still be published as GDR authors. Furthermore, the IM wants to discuss with Prof. Zipser opportunities to conduct seminars and give readings at USA universities in 1979. The IM is in possession of an invitation from a small university in Minnesota; but it makes no sense to accept this invitation without having the opportunity to read and/or offer seminars at other universities. That is why the IM intends ultimately to reach an agreement with Zipser that involves readings at more universities.

On the basis of the IM’s plans with regard to the conversation with Zipser, the IM was given the following assignment:

a. Find out and clarify what has become of
Zipser’s project, the reason why he previously
spent time in the GDR;

b. Clarify who else is participating
in this project;

c. Whom does Zipser still intend to call on,
for what period of time will he be in
the GDR, where is he staying during
the Writers Congress, arrange a meeting
during the Congress if possible;

d. Which GDR authors is Prof. Zipser
considering for a period of residency
at USA universities?

The IM showed interest in this assignment and agreed to make an effort to clarify these questions.
It seems significant that the IM accepted the assignment as such, because previously there were reservations in this regard.


Consolidation of the information on hand and then forward to Main Department XX/7.

Distribution List: 1 x Main Department XX/7
1 x IM File

First Lieutenant

As one reads the first set of reports from the Fries/Zipser file, it is especially interesting to see how Fries becomes increasingly willing to cooperate as a Stasi collaborator, no longer expressing reservations about his assignments. Hoffmann, who worked with Fries for many years, patiently molded him into an exemplary informant. But Fries, eager for privileges such as permission to travel to the US and the assignment of an apartment in Berlin, was more than willing to let himself be molded by Hoffmann. In retrospect, one could say that this was the perfect marriage between a GDR writer and his Stasi-handler. Both parties benefitted from it, albeit in very different ways.