German Writers' Association

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The German Writers 'Association (DSV) (from November 1973 to October 1990 Writers' Association of the GDR ) was the professional association of writers in the GDR from 1950 to 1990 , which dissolved after German reunification at the end of 1990.


The association was founded on June 4th 1950 as the German Writers' Association in the Kulturbund for the Democratic Renewal of Germany in Berlin and succeeded the Association of German Authors SDA / Zone and SDA / GDR. The protection association had, among other things, organized the First German Writers' Congress in October 1947. The German Writers' Association was constituted on May 22, 1952 as an independent association.

In 1989 the SV had 931 members and 118 candidates. The association was divided into 15 district associations and the group of Sorbian authors.

Legal supervision was subject to the Ministry of Culture , political guidance to the Central Committee of the SED , and the so-called "safeguarding the writers' line" was taken over by the Ministry of State Security . Like all artists 'associations in the GDR, the Writers' Union was financed from the state budget (Ministry of Culture); in 1989 it received 2.5 million marks .

Since 1953 the association has maintained the writers' rest home " Friedrich Wolf " in Petzow am Schwielowsee . Marika Rökk lived in the villa at the time of the Hitler dictatorship . The property was returned to the Jewish heirs in 2001.

The literature institute "Johannes R. Becher" was closely associated with the DSV / SV. Originally it was supposed to start working as an institution of the association as early as 1950, but was then founded in 1955 as an independent university institution.

As a political organization of the GDR (the association did not see itself as a professional representation of the interests of writers), it contributed to the implementation of the SED's cultural policy. In this context, the resolutions and addresses of devotion to the uprising of June 17, 1953 , the suppression of the Hungarian uprising in 1956, the building of the Wall in 1961 and the expatriation of Alexander Solzhenitsyn in 1974 from the Soviet Union and of Wolf Biermann in 1976 from the GDR attracted attention . To the 8th Writers' Congress in May 1978, some writers who were accused of lacking "ties ... to the party of the working class" were not invited. Hermann Kant , the president elected to succeed Anna Seghers at this congress , justified this with the sentence: “Some don't get along with many.” The exclusion of critical authors in 1979 aroused worldwide protest ( Kurt Bartsch , Adolf Endler , Stefan Heym , Karl-Heinz Jakobs , Klaus Poche , Klaus Schlesinger , Rolf Schneider , Dieter Schubert and Joachim Seyppel ).

At the Extraordinary Writers' Congress 1. – 3. March 1990 Rainer Kirsch was elected as the new president. After the German reunification , the association was renamed the Deutscher Schriftstellerverband (DSV) again after a member survey by circulation . At its last meeting on November 27, 1990, the Board of Directors decided to cease the association's activities on December 31, 1990.

From 1952 until its self-dissolution at the end of 1990, the Writers' Association published the literary magazine “New German Literature” (ndl) . The association's internal information material was monthly “Mitteilungen”, and at the beginning of the 1950s the magazine “Der Schriftsteller” was also published.

The Archives of the Writers' Union has been in the Archives of the Academy of Arts Berlin since 1991 .


Members could become authors of "aesthetic works of all genres", translators, editors, literary critics, essayists, literary scholars and those people who "had made a special contribution to promoting literature" (cultural officials or political employees from the management of the association) . Tasks and duties were regulated by a statute which obliged the members to use the "creative method of socialist realism" and which required recognition of the "leading role of the working class and its party".

Confirmation as a candidate was a prerequisite for admission. For a candidacy, in addition to the intercession of two members as guarantors, proof of literary activity and existing publications of a fictional or lyrical nature were necessary. In general, this required two fiction or lyric publications. After the abolition of the candidate status in the 1950s and after the temporary delegation of junior work to the AJA working groups for young authors , the candidate status was reintroduced in 1974.


The highest organ were the writers' congresses, ten of which took place until 1989 and which were convened by decision of the board of directors. The executive bodies were the Presidium, which met quarterly, and the Executive Board, which usually met monthly. The members of the executive committee were elected at the writers' congresses after prior confirmation by the Central Committee of the SED. The executive committee consisted of the chairmen of the district associations and the secretaries of the association. The president, the vice-presidents and the presidium were elected from the board. Qua office the editor-in-chief of the ndl and the secretaries of the association were members of the presidium.

Writers' congresses

  • 1st Writers' Congress October 4-8, 1947 (convened by the Kulturbund for the Democratic Renewal of Germany and the Association of German Authors (SDA))
  • II. Writers' Congress July 4-6, 1950
  • III. Writers' Congress May 22-25, 1952
  • IV. Writers' Congress January 9-14, 1956
  • 5th Writers' Congress May 25-27, 1961
  • VI. Writers' Congress May 28-30, 1969
  • VII Writers' Congress November 14-16, 1973
  • VIII. Writers' Congress May 29-31, 1978
  • IX. Writers' Congress May 31 - June 2, 1983
  • Xth Writers' Congress November 25-26, 1987
  • Extraordinary Writers' Congress March 1-3, 1990


  • Bodo Uhse (1950–1952), first chairman of the DSV within the Kulturbund
  • Anna Seghers (1952–1978), President who founded the DSV as an independent institution, since 1978 Honorary President
  • Hermann Kant (1978–1990)
  • Rainer Kirsch (1990)

Vice President

since 1969

First secretary of the association

Presidium and Board of Directors

The board of the DSV was elected at the congresses that usually take place every 4 to 5 years. The board of directors consisted of co-opted chairpersons of the 16 district associations (15 districts and the separate Sorbian working group Bautzen ) and a large number of other authors (the board elected at the 1978 congress comprised over 100 members). The real decision-making powers, however, lay with the Presidium of the Board of Management and there specifically with the President and the First Secretary, and to a lesser extent with the five Vice-Presidents.

In addition to the listed Presidents, Vice Presidents and First Secretaries, the Presidium included Helmut Sakowski , Kurt Stern , Horst Beseler , Günter Görlich , Irmtraud Morgner , Rudi Strahl , Hans Weber , Walter Flegel , Herbert Otto , Rosemarie Schuder , Volker from 1969 onwards Braun , John Erpenbeck , Klaus Jarmatz , Waldtraut Lewin and Maria Seidemann . The editor-in-chief of the association magazine ndl (initially Werner Neubert , then Walter Nowojski ) was also a member of the executive committee.


Departments were part of the administrative and organizational apparatus of the DSV / SV and at the same time an administrative instrument of the association. Departments of the association support the work of the voluntary commissions, the board of directors, the presidium and the work of the president. They obtained information (from the district associations, the responsible ministries or the Central Committee of the SED ), prepared analyzes and prepared resolutions. A second important task of the departments consisted in the implementation of resolutions of the commissions, the board of directors and the presidium. Departments were made up of full-time employees who were under the guidance of secretaries; responsible and accountable for the work of the departments was the first secretary. Secretaries of the DSV / SV were political employees, were subject to the GDR's nomenclature cadre system and were required to confirm and report to the SED Central Committee.

The association had the following departments:

  • International Relations Department (Foreign Department) emerged from the Western Department (Western Labor Department)
  • Organization and Finance Department
  • Social Policy / Management Department
  • Literature department
  • Young Talent Department (emerged from the Young Talent and Order Management department)

The tasks of a management or personnel department were subject to the first secretary of the DSV / SV.


Commissions were set up by the Central Board as required; their appointment and tasks were subject to confirmation by a writers' congress. The members were appointed, usually after consultation with the Central Committee of the SED. The work in commissions was voluntary. DSV / SV secretaries (heads of departments) were automatically co-opted depending on the subject area and had voting rights within the commission. Resolutions of the commissions were forwarded to the respective department of the DSV / SV for implementation; Commissions were therefore an important body for the internal work of the DSV / SV. The work of commissions usually extended to the period between two writers' congresses, but could be extended by decision of the congress.

In 1987 the following commissions existed:

  • Contract and scholarship committee
  • International Relations Commission
  • Young Talent Commission
  • Legal Commission (emerged from the Legal and Professional Commission)
  • Solidarity Commission
  • Social Commission (also called Social Policy Commission)
  • Statute Commission (which was set up if necessary)

See also


Since the III. At the 5th Congress, the minutes of the writers' congresses were published by the German Writers' Association / Writers' Association of the GDR.

  • Ursula Reinhold, Dieter Schlenstedt (Ed.): First German Writers' Congress October 8, 1947 . Berlin 1996. ISBN 3-351018-83-5 .
  • II. German Writers' Congress from July 4 to 6, 1950 . (not documented)
  • III. German Writers' Congress from May 22 to 25, 1952. Lectures and contributions to discussions . Berlin 1952.
  • IV. German Writers' Congress 9.-14. January 1956. Papers and contributions to discussions . Berlin 1956.
  • V. German Writers' Congress from May 25 to 27, 1961. Lectures and contributions to discussions . Berlin 1962.
  • VI. German Writers' Congress from 28.-30. May 1969. Lectures and contributions to the discussion . Berlin 1969.
  • VII. Writers' Congress of the German Democratic Republic. Protocol . Berlin and Weimar 1974.
  • VIII. Writers' Congress of the German Democratic Republic . Berlin and Weimar 1979.
  • IX. Writers' Congress of the German Democratic Republic . Berlin and Weimar 1984.
  • Xth Writers' Congress of the German Democratic Republic from November 25 to 26, 1987 . Berlin and Weimar 1988. (2 volumes)


  • Joachim Walther , Wolf Biermann , Günter de Bruyn , Jürgen Fuchs , Christoph Hein , Günter Kunert , Erich Loest , Hans-Joachim Schädlich , Christa Wolf (eds.): Minutes of a tribunal. The exclusions from the GDR writers' association 1979 (= rororo. 12992, rororo current. ). Rowohlt, Reinbek near Hamburg 1991, ISBN 3-499-12992-2 .
  • Renate Chotjewitz-Häfner , Carsten Gansel , Andreas Kalckhoff , Till Sailer (eds.): The Biermann expatriation and the writers. A German-German case. Minutes of the first meeting of the history commission of the Association of German Writers (VS), Berlin February 28 to March 1, 1992 (= Library of Science and Politics. 52). Verlag Wissenschaft und Politik, Cologne, 1994, ISBN 3-8046-8815-2 .
  • Roland Berbig, Arne Born, Jörg Judersleben, Holger Jens Karlson, Dorit Krusche, Christoph Martinkat, Peter Wruck (eds.): In the matter of Biermann. Protocols, reports and letters on the consequences of expatriation (= research on GDR history. 2). Links, Berlin 1994, ISBN 3-86153-070-8 .
  • Andreas Herbst (eds.), Winfried Ranke, Jürgen Winkler: This is how the GDR worked. Volume 2: Lexicon of Organizations and Institutions, Do-It-Yourself Movement - Customs Administration of the GDR (= rororo-Handbuch. Vol. 6349). Rowohlt, Reinbek bei Hamburg 1994, ISBN 3-499-16349-7 , pp. 864-867.
  • Joachim Walther: Security area literature. Writer and State Security in the German Democratic Republic (= analyzes and documents. 6). Links, Berlin 1996, ISBN 3-86153-121-6 .
  • Carsten Gansel : Parliament of the Spirit. Literature between hope and repression 1945–1961. Basisdruck, Berlin 1996, ISBN 3-86163-067-2 .
  • Klaus Michael , Margret Pötsch, Peter Walther : History, structure and working method of the writers' association of the GDR. In: Journal of the SED State Research Association at the Free University of Berlin. No. 3, 1997, ISSN  0948-9878 , pp. 58-69.
  • Carsten Gansel: Germany united in a fatherland? The German Writers' Association and its Western work in the fifties. In: Mark Lehmstedt , Siegfried Lokatis (ed.): The hole in the wall. The intra-German exchange of literature (= publications of the Leipzig working group on the history of the book industry. Writings and testimonies on book history. 10). Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 1997, ISBN 3-447-03918-3 , pp. 261-278.
  • Dieter Schiller : The refused dialogue. On the relationship between the party leadership of the SED and writers in the crisis years 1956/57. Dietz, Berlin 2003, ISBN 3-320020-22-6 .
  • Marion Brandt: For your and our freedom? Polish October and the Solidarność Revolution as perceived by writers from the GDR. Weidler, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-89693-215-2 .
  • Sabine Pamperrien : Experiment on the unsuitable object. The writers' association of the GDR in the service of socialist ideology. Lang, Frankfurt am Main et al. 2004, ISBN 3-631-52409-9 .
  • Carsten Gansel (Ed.): Memory as a task? Documentation of the II. And III. Writers' Congress in the GDR 1950 and 1952 , Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht , Göttingen 2008, (Forms of Memory 31), ISBN 978-3-89971-406-7 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Dieter E. Zimmer : A privileged caste? . In: Die Zeit, 50/1990
  2. Sibylle Wirsing : The power and the measure. The Eighth Writers' Congress of the GDR . In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of June 2, 1978, p. 23.
  3. ^ German National Library , call number ZB 54634, holdings 1950–1955 No. 24; Microfiche readable at the Leipzig location.