Dietmar Riemann

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Dietmar Riemann (* 1950 in Hainichen ) is a German photographer and author .

Self-portrait of Dietmar Riemann in his East Berlin house with hand luggage for crossing the border on the day of his expatriation from the GDR on September 28, 1989


Illustration of the original departure diaries that are now in the permanent exhibition “Everyday Life in the GDR” in the House of History of the Federal Republic in the Berlin Kulturbrauerei.

Dietmar Riemann grew up in the house and studio of the photographer Karl Spieß in Hartha (Central Saxony) and in 1986 saved part of Karl Spieß's work from destruction. In 2017, Riemann published a picture-text volume about Karl Spieß with the support of Canada.

Riemann completed an apprenticeship as a photographer and was a student of the Leisnig painter and graphic artist Karl Wagler (1887–1975), who was politically marginalized in the GDR . After his apprenticeship, he was a company photographer at the Boxberg power plant . There he refused to work as a Stasi informant . He later became an architecture photographer at the German Building Academy in Berlin.

From 1976 to 1981 he completed a degree in photography at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst (HGB) in Leipzig with Horst Thorau (1930–1989). His diploma thesis was an illustrated book about the mentally handicapped (with the text by Franz Fühmann ). The pictures were later banned from being exhibited, even though, after resistance, they appeared as a printed book. The illustrated book What for an island in what for a sea is considered an important photo book of the GDR.

Riemann worked as a freelancer and was primarily interested in social documentary photography . He was a member of the Association of Visual Artists of the GDR . In 1986 he applied to be released from GDR citizenship for political reasons. His departure was approved in 1989. He lost all of his fortune due to the departure. During this time, he secretly wrote and photographed a diary, which he hid and published after the reunification of Germany under the title dad . For this document, he photographed the Berlin Wall and socialist slogans, especially shop windows, with the extremely small Olympus XA camera.

At the turn of the millennium, the photographer once again dealt intensively with social conditions in Germany. The result was the exhibition folder My Year 2000 - 366 Days / 366 Pictures , which is kept in the national collection of the German Diary Archive.

In 2019, Riemann was involved as an interview partner, diary and picture author in the ZDF film Countdown to the Fall of the Wall . In August of the same year a round table was invited to the Federal President in Berlin's Bellevue Palace.

Books and book chapters (selection)

Dietmar Riemann is the author of the following books, or he is the author of photographs and text contributions, or of his work:

Photograph by Dietmar Riemann of the MONIKA described in detail in the illustrated book “Was für eine Insel ...” by Franz Fühmann, but not shown in the book.
  • Willy Kurth: Ernst Barlach . Henschelverlag Art and Society, Berlin 1985, ISBN 3-362-00400-8 .
  • Dietmar Riemann, Franz Fühmann : What an island in what a sea. Living with the mentally handicapped . Hinstorff, Rostock 1985, ISBN 3-356-00189-2 .
  • Dietmar Riemann, Jürgen Rennert : The good place in Weissensee. Pictures from the Jewish cemetery and a collection of Jewish voices on passing and becoming, remaining and being . Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, Berlin 1987, ISBN 3-374-00126-2 .
  • Peter Betthausen u. a .: The Museum Island in Berlin . Color photos by Dietmar and Marga Riemann. Henschelverlag Art and Society, Berlin 1987, ISBN 3-362-00275-7 .
  • Udo Christoffel (ed.): Art and artists. Municipal gallery and museum . Nicolai, Berlin 1989, ISBN 3-87584-290-1 .
  • Dietmar Riemann: walks around Mosbach . Edition Braus, Heidelberg 1996, ISBN 3-89466-171-2 .
  • Dietmar Riemann: Routing slip. Diary of an exit . Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2005, ISBN 3-525-35800-8 .
  • Georg Mein, Franziska Schößler (ed.): Exchange processes. Cultural studies negotiations of the economic . transcript-Verlag, Bielefeld 2005, ISBN 978-3-89942-283-2 .
  • Carol Poore: Disability in Twentieth-Century German Culture . University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor 2007, ISBN 978-0-472-11595-2 .
  • Helmut Gold (Ed.): Absolutely? Private! From diary to weblog . Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunications, Heidelberg 2008, ISBN 978-3-89904-310-5 .
  • Dietmar Riemann: I didn't want to take part anymore. Story of a denial . In: Roman Grafe (ed.): The guilt of fellow travelers. Adapt or resist in the GDR . Pantheon, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-570-55106-6 , pp. 91-100.
  • Marc-Dietrich Ohse (Red.): 50 years of building the wall . Bertelsmann, Bielefeld 2011 (= Germany Archive , vol. 44, special issue).
  • Thomas Wiegand, Manfred Heiting (Hrsg.): Germany in a photo book. 287 photo books on the subject of Germany from 1915 to 2009 . Steidl, Göttingen 2011, ISBN 978-3-86930-249-2 .
  • Uwe Kolbe : Vinetas Archives. Approaches to reasons . Wallstein, Göttingen 2011, ISBN 978-3-8353-0882-4 .
  • Dietmar Riemann: Greetings from the GDR. Photographs 1975–1989 . Mitteldeutscher Verlag, Halle 2012, ISBN 978-3-89812-943-5 .
  • Angela Kiefer-Hofmann: The jacket of Mr. A. Stories from the Samaritan institutions . Wichern-Verlag, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-88981-347-3 .
  • Ursula Röper: The Art of Charity. Photographs from the Diakonie in the GDR . Lukas-Verlag, Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3-86732-048-1 .
  • Dietmar Riemann: The story of an illustrated book with Franz Fühmann , in Palmbaum . Issue 58, Bucha bei Jena 2014, ISSN 0943-545X.
  • Dietmar Riemann: Posthumous visit to Franz Fühmann in Märkisch Buchholz , listen to it . Edition 256, Göttingen 2014, ISBN 978-3-8353-1456-6 .
  • Peter Braun u. Martin Straub (Ed.): Inside. Approaches to Franz Fühmann. With 4 text contributions and 49 photographs by Dietmar Riemann. Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen 2016, ISBN 978-3-8353-1971-4 .
  • Dietmar Riemann (ed. And text author): Karl Spieß - A Saxon photographer and his photographs, 1891-1945 . German / English, Mitteldeutscher Verlag, Halle 2017, ISBN 978-3-95462-904-6 .
  • Dietmar Riemann: 'Suitcases, boxes, lists', multi-page diary excerpts and photographs in the ZEIT history magazine 'The Border', Hamburg 2019

Solo exhibitions (selection)

  • 1979 Galerie Mitte, Berlin, portrait photographs
  • 1981 Kulturbundgalerie Die Kaufhalle, Der Gute Ort in Weißensee
  • 1982 Nikolaikirche, Potsdam, What an island in what a sea - living with the mentally handicapped
  • 1984 Gallery of Beeskow Castle, Beeskow, What an island ...
  • 1984 Adult Education Center, Goslar, The Good Place ...
  • 1984 Berliner Dom , Berlin, What an island ... (14,000 visitors)
  • 1985 Steinhaushalle, Burg, What an island ...
  • 1986 Gallery of the Kulturhaus An der Weißenseer Spitze, Berlin, What an Insel ..., after a short time the exhibition was forced to dismantle for political reasons and the Kulturhaus was closed
  • 1986 Gallery in the Raschplatzpavillon, Hanover, What an island ...
  • 1987 Berlin Cathedral, Berlin, The Good Place ...
  • 1987 Berlin Friedrichstadtkirche (so-called French Cathedral), Berlin, waiting - women from St. Elisabeth's monastery
  • 1990 Caritas Photo Gallery, Constance, The Good Place ...
  • 1998 Dreikönigskirche, Dresden, Thinking about death - experiencing the fullness of life
  • 2006 Art and Culture Center Brotfabrik, Berlin, flashback - photographs from the GDR 1979–1989
  • 2007 Gallery St. Afra (Saxon high school for gifted students), Meißen, GDR - pictures of a vanished republic
  • 2008 Kulturfabrik, Fürstenwalde / Spree, mentally handicapped people in conversation with Franz Fühmann about the Basel dance of death by HAP Grieshaber
  • 2009 Culture Forum, Bodelshausen, GDR - Pictures ...
  • 2010 Goethe-Institut , Syria Damascus and Aleppo, GDR - Pictures… The exhibition then moves to Erbil in Iraq and to Amman in Jordan.
  • 2013 Topography of Terror Foundation Memorial, Berlin, Guarded! Limited! Patronizing! - Memories of the impact of a book
  • 2013 Villa Rosenthal, Jena, worlds of words / worlds of images - Franz Fühmann / Dietmar Riemann
  • 2014 Museum in der Runden Ecke, Leipzig, Posthumous visit to Franz Fühmann in Märkisch Buchholz in 1984
  • 2014 Saxon Psychiatry Museum, Leipzig, pictures from the book What for an island in what for a sea ...
  • 2014 Zinzendorfhaus, Evangelical Academy of Thuringia, Neudietendorf, pictures of a vanished republic
  • 2015 Gallery STATION of the Kasseler Fotoforum, Kassel, supply and demand (colored shop window pictures from the GDR)

Participation in exhibitions (selection)


  • Collection of drawings in the Kupferstichkabinett of the Nationalgalerie Berlin
  • German Diary Archive (DTA) Emmendingen
  • Foundation House of the History of the Federal Republic of Germany , Kulturbrauerei Berlin
  • A / E gallery (Dr. Angelika Euchner), Potsdam
  • Collection Prof. Rolf Lindner, Berlin
  • Manfred Heiting Collection, Amsterdam, Houston (MFAH)

Web links


  1. Existing, accessible documents on Dietmar Riemann at the "Federal Commissioner for the Documents of the State Security Service of the Former German Democratic Republic" (BStU). Diary number: 004097/92.
  2. In: Roman Grafe (ed.): The guilt of fellow travelers. Adapting or resisting in the GDR. Contribution by Dietmar Riemann: “I didn't want to take part anymore. History of a Denial “Pantheon, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-570-55106-6 , pp. 91-100.
  3. Existing, accessible documents on Dietmar Riemann at the "Federal Commissioner for the Documents of the State Security Service of the Former German Democratic Republic" (BStU). Diary number: 004097/92.
  4. “The struggle for the top: youth work in the last few years in the GDR”, a conversation with Jörg Fügmann (former head of the “Brotfabrik” cultural center), in the historical-literary magazine of the citizens' committee “15. January "eV" Horch und Guck ", issue 54 / 15th year / 2006, pages 44 to 46.
  5. The meaning of the "Insel" book is explained in the work by Thomas Wiegand "Germany in a photo book - 287 photo books on the subject of Germany from the period from 1915 to 2009" on pages 12 and 118 and 157, published by Steidl in Göttingen in 2011 and picture described.
  6. The importance of the “Insel” book is proven in 2006 in Nicole Teske's master's thesis on art history, “Photographs from the GDR - Dietmar Riemann's view” at the Freiburg / Breisgau Albert Ludwigs University (see university archive).
  7. The "Insel" picture book is given an outstanding appreciation and historical classification in the book by Prof. Carol Poore "Disbility in Twentieth-Century German Culture" published in 2006 in the USA by Michigan Press.
  8. ^ From: Dietmar Riemann: Routing slip. Diary of an exit . Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2005, ISBN 3-525-35800-8 ; The publisher is the Federal Commissioner for the Documents of the State Security Service of the Former German Democratic Republic (BStU) and checked the documents for authenticity before publication.
  9. The exhibition folder in the form of a photographic diary is stored in the German Diary Archive (DTA) in Emmendingen under the signature no. 999, under which the departure diary was also archived, is kept.
  10. ^ Simultaneously in Japan at Iwanami Shoten Publishers Tokyo 1987, ISBN 4-00-008133-0 . The illustrated book was awarded the title “Most beautiful book in the GDR in 1987” in the illustrated books category.