This message was sent to Students, Faculty, and Staff on April 05, 2013 by Jane Canova, Ctr-ForeignLangs,Lit&Culture.
We want to be free! East Germans Rise Up, 1953
Prominent political activist and filmmaker, Freya Klier will
screen her documentary on Monday, April 8 at 7PM at Images
Cinema. This film is an important contribution to the historical
evaluation of the Socialist Unity Party's dictatorship. June 17,
1953 marked a watershed moment in the Cold War...
from Jane Canova, Ctr-ForeignLangs,Lit&Culture
and in the annals of East German communism: in Berlin and elsewhere,
factory workers and other dissatisfied citizens of the GDR organized mass
demonstrations against their Stalinist leader Walter Ulbricht and his
government. The demonstrators' demands for reforms, free elections and the
abolition of borders within Germany were violently crushed.
For many years, Berlin was the focus of accounts about the uprising on
June 17th, 1953. Few know that thousands of people took to the streets not
only in the capital, but also all over the German Democratic Republic. This
film shows how the 1953 uprising unfolded in the city of Leipzig --the very
same city where subsequently in 1989 weekly "Monday demonstrations" were to
ring in the fall of the Wall and the collapse of Erich Honecker's regime.
Among the youngest victims were Paul, 15, who was shot by the Russian
army, and a middle schooler who was shot in the stomach but survived his
This is a premier of the RTL Television Production to be released in May
2013 in Germany. Free and open to the public.
Freya Klier is a prominent German political activist and documentary
filmmaker. In 1988, the teetering East German government imprisoned and
deported Klier for her dissident activism. She is well known for her
documentaries about resisters against communism and fascism. Klier spends
a good part of every year traveling to schools to teach the young
generation about the GDR, and she also represents incarcerated writers for
PEN. Along with other former East German dissidents, she was invited to
attend the White House ceremony at which Obama bestowed the Freedom Medal
to Angela Merkel. Last October 2012 she was awarded Germany's highest
award for her life work and civic engagement, the Federal Cross of Merit
Her visit is made possible with generous sponsorship from the Departments
of German and Russian, History and Political Science, the Oakley Center
for Humanities and Social Sciences, the Program in Jewish Studies, the
Bronfman Fund, and the Wiener Lecture Fund, the Gaudino Fund, the W. Ford
Schumann '50 Program for Democratic Studies, and the Center for Foreign
Languages, Literatures, and Cultures.