75. Stasi Correspondence on Richard Zipser: May/June, 1981

My visits and correspondence with the Halle poet, Rainer Kirsch, in connection with DDR-Literatur im Tauwetter and Contemporary East German Poetry, led the secret police in that district to seek information on me from Stasi headquarters in Berlin. The exchange of letters between Lieutenant Colonel Joachim Gröger, the head of Department XX in the Halle district, and Generalmajor Willi Damm, the head of Department X in Berlin, appears below. It is clear from Damm’s response to his colleague’s inquiry that Richard Zipser, operating within the cultural sphere, was considered to be an enemy of the GDR state.

County AuthorityHalle, May 18, 1981
for State Security7/ste-schr 4417/81
Department XX

Ministry for State Security
Department XX


Dr. Zipser, Richard, born 1/23/1943 in Maryland/USA

In accordance with the F 10 screening conducted on 5/5/81 by our service unit, the above-named person is registered as No. F 27 69 13 for your service unit.

Since the USA citizen maintains ties to the [several words blacked out] freelance writer

Kirsch, Rainer
[born] 7/17/34 in Döbeln
4020 Halle, [blacked out],

we would like to know the reason for the acquisition of information [on him], and whether your service unit has on hand references to the connection between these two persons.

Director of the Department


Lieutenant Colonel


June 12, 1981
X/   3898    /81


Department X


County Authority for State Security
Department XX


Dr. ZIPSER, Richard, born 1/23/43 – USA citizen
Letter of 5/18/81, Binder-No.:  7/ste-schr/4417/81

Recorded information on Dr. ZIPSER is in the archive material of Department X.

It contains correspondence with the security agencies of the CSSR [Czecho-Slovak Socialist Republic] as well as Main Department XX in relation to the operative handling of persons engaged in hostile activity in the cultural sphere.

In accordance with the information from Main Department XX, in 1976 Z. was working as a literary scholar at Oberlin College in Oberlin/Ohio/USA, however living temporarily in Vienna, Hörlgasse 11/6. He is said to have travelled to the GDR a number of times, in order to have conversations with writers in preparation for his planned publication on GDR literature.
Vis-à-vis official organizations he is said to have presented himself as a progressive. However, it was determined that he was exclusively oriented toward those writers who had reservations regarding the development of socialism in the GDR and who in the past had behaved in a hostile/negative manner.

Further information on Z. is not available.

It should be noted that archived material on ZIPSER exists in the Main Directorate Reconnaissance/IV/Reckling—AP 15612/73.

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