72. IMB “Pedro Hagen” Finds a GDR Sympathizer in Minnesota

From the next report in the Fries/Zipser file, which is based on information IMB “Pedro Hagen” communicated to his Stasi-handler Gerhard Hoffmann on June 12, 1981, we gain insight into the GDR’s strategy for recruiting and developing a cadre of GDR sympathizers at major US universities. The report focuses primarily on what the informant experienced while visiting the University of Minnesota. It appears in its entirety below.

Department XX/7Frankfurt (O), 6/15/1981

source: IMB “Pedro Hagen”
received: Capt. Hoffmann
on: 6/12/1981

Regarding possible visits to the GDR by Americans

During his stay in the USA the IM got together with persons who were thinking seriously about visiting the GDR. In this connection the IM provided the following comments orally, as an addendum to the information reported previously:

It is certain that Dr. Zipser will travel to the GDR before the end of 1981. His fellowship at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University expires at the end of August 1981. After this, he intends to travel to Europe—and also to the GDR. Until August 1981 Dr. Zipser can be reached at the following address:

Stanford University
Stanford CA  94305

Nothing came to light regarding Dr. Zipser’s objectives and plans for such a trip.
The actual central focus of those persons who want to travel to the GDR, which was discovered during the USA trip, is

Prof. Dr. [blacked out]

of the University of Minneapolis [University of Minnesota]. By his own account, Prof. [blacked out] has ties to the International Friendship League of the GDR and was also in the GDR on a number of occasions. Among other things he took part in the Weimarer Hochschultage. [This was an annual summer conference in Weimar for college and university professors from other countries. It featured a program of events organized around a specific topic or related topics, with lectures, seminars, podium discussions, readings and talks by GDR writers, film screenings, exhibitions, and excursions.] Prof. [name blacked out] must be known in the Writers’ Union of the GDR and among Germanists at universities in the GDR. Hermann Kant visited this university during his stay in the USA and also gave a reading there. [Hermann Kant, a prose writer known for staunchly supporting the Honecker regime and representing the socialist point of view in his works, became president of the GDR Writers’ Union in 1978. In that capacity, he made a lecture tour to the US and visited (along with other colleges and universities) the University of Minnesota. There he made the acquaintance of GDR literature specialist Prof. Frank Hirschbach and other professors and students in the German program, some of whom were interested in visiting the GDR.]

[Note: Hermann Kant was not invited to visit Oberlin College, which he was very eager to do and would have done at his own expense—that is, with financial support from the GDR Embassy. Their cultural attaché, a woman named Tischbein, called me from Washington, DC and requested formally that our German Department invite Kant to give a talk and reading. When I told her we did not have the funds for his honorarium, travel and other expenses, Ms. Tischbein indicated that the embassy would cover all expenses related to this trip. When I then told her that we still could not invite Kant to visit and speak at Oberlin College, she of course asked why. I told her to ask Kant that question because he will know why.]

Grouped around Prof. [blacked out] are several students—their names are not known—who also have already spent time visiting the GDR and intend to travel to the GDR again. On the one hand these students are interested in getting to know the GDR somewhat and, on the other hand in learning how our vocational training operates at the university level. During his stay in the USA he [Kant] was asked on various occasions if it is possible for Americans to study in the GDR.

Thus, interest in the GDR definitely exists and Prof. [blacked outin Minneapolis can be viewed as the focal point for persons who are interested in the GDR. The International Friendship League is present in Minneapolis, at the university. According to his own account, Prof. [blacked out] is also involved editorially with the publication of the “GDR Bulletin” Newsletter for Literature and Culture in the German Democratic Republic (attachment).


The IM supplemented his report on the USA trip. The information presented by him cannot be clarified further.

Measures to be taken

– review of report [blacked out]
– send report for operative evaluation to Main Directorate for
Reconnaissance via Department XV



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