9. First Report from IMV “Kurt”: November 25, 1975

IMV “Kurt,” who today is a practicing lawyer and notary in Berlin, contributed more reports to my file than any other informant. It is clear that he was assigned to gather information on me following my return to East Berlin in November 1975. Kurt’s first report is a transcription of a tape recording he submitted to a Stasi officer, First Lieutenant Gerd Paulitz. Kurt begins: “I became acquainted with Zipser at Klaus Schlesinger’s apartment on Nov. 11, 1975. In the course of numerous conversations that resulted from this first get-together, I was able to find out the following.” Kurt proceeds to provide general information on my academic background, the nature and purpose of my book project, the financing of my sabbatical leave, my contacts with the GDR Writers’ Union, and then the interview questions: “In our conversations Zipser admitted to me that his questions are deliberately presented in a way that does not guide the writer in a particular direction, but rather lets the writer answer the questions based on his own stance. . . . Zipser intends to publish the interviews verbatim in connection with excerpts from these writers’ works. The individuals he has interviewed to date willingly provided him with these texts, according to Zipser.” Kurt then provides a list of seventeen writers I am intending to interview and notes: “There were additional names on the list (ca. 30), but no sign of Biermann.” Finally, he comments on the goal of my project, repeating accurately what I had told him:

Z.’s objective, according to his account, is to publish for the first time ever in the USA a multi-volume book that deals with the GDR literary scene. He has determined that so far very little is known about GDR literature in the USA and wants to close the existing gap. The book is aimed primarily at Germanists, literary scholars, and students. In addition to the items already mentioned, he also plans to publish short biographies of these writers. In his own words, he does not intend to comment and state his position on issues, but wants to impart an objective view of GDR writers’ lives and literature in the GDR in general. For information only, he plans to prepend an introduction to the book.