Hubertus boy

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Hubertus Knabe (2009)

Hubertus Wilhelm Knabe-Buche (born July 19, 1959 in Unna ) is a German historian . He was director of the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial from its foundation in 2000 until 2018. for his dismissal on 25 November Knabe releases the dedicated West work of the GDR , the Ministry of State Security (Stasi) of the GDR, the opposition movements in the Soviet bloc , the East German post-war history and the processing of the SED - dictatorship .

Family and education

Hubertus Knabe is the youngest son of the forest scientist Wilhelm Knabe and his wife. In 1959, his parents fled with their three older siblings from the GDR to the Federal Republic and moved to Unna, where Hubertus was born. He grew up in Mülheim an der Ruhr and graduated from high school there in 1978. He then studied history and German at the University of Bremen until 1983 . From 1985 to 1987 he studied in Budapest on a DAAD scholarship . In 1988 he was director of studies at the Evangelical Academy in Berlin (West) and, in the early 1990s, DAAD lecturer at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia . In 1990 he received his doctorate at the Free University of Berlin on “Possibilities and limits of social problem articulation in socialist systems. A comparative analysis of the environmental discussion in the GDR and Hungary . "

Early political activities

Knabe's father was involved in founding the Greens party from 1978 to 1980 . He was also involved with the Greens in Bremen . From 1983 to 1985 he was press spokesman for the parliamentary group of the Greens in the Bremen citizenship and in the 1980s advised the parliamentary group of the Greens in the Bundestag on questions of German politics. As early as 1978 he founded a committee in Bremen for the release of the GDR dissident Rudolf Bahro and was involved in the peace movement of the time . Through relatives, he got in touch with church peace groups in the GDR and met his future wife there. After he smuggled banned political literature into the GDR, he was banned from entering the country in 1980. In 1981 his girlfriend and her son were allowed to leave the GDR. In 1983, Knabe became the press spokesman for the Green List in Bremen. In 1992 he found out from his Stasi files that the priest Frank Rudolph from Herzfelde in the Templin district, who was friends with him and his wife, had betrayed the book smuggling and escape-seeking GDR citizens to the MfS as an unofficial employee "Klaus". After a confrontation, the IM reported himself and was sentenced to probation and a fine for espionage. From then on, Knabe devoted himself to uncovering or exposing former MfS informers.

Activity and criticism of the BStU authority

From 1992 to 2000, Knabe worked in the research department of the Federal Commissioner for Stasi Records (BStU). There he was also a member of the scientific advisory committee of the Stasi records authority for a long time.

According to Christoph Links , in 2000 Knabe sold a volume on the MfS's work in the West, which was to be published exclusively by Ch. Links Verlag , to another publisher. This breach of contract led to the fact that his publisher stopped working with the authority on their research series.

According to the historian Karsten Krampitz , the head of the BStU, Joachim Gauck , resigned Knabe as head of the department. Gauck's successor, Marianne Birthler, wanted to fire Knabe because he had made unproven IM allegations against West German journalists in many cases.

In 2007, Knabe criticized the authority: it was reluctant to publish the rosewood files , refused to research the cooperation between former members of the Bundestag and the MfS, tried to largely abolish Stasi inspections in Germany and employed former MfS employees. The Stasi Records Act grants those affected private access to files, but keeps the huge network of other IMs secret. The BStU research department does largely non-public research, hardly pays attention to real stasis crimes and has not even opened up its own archive, so that many personal files are still undiscovered. Therefore, the BStU should hand over its Stasi documents to the Federal Archives . The BStU can process requests for private file inspection and Stasi reviews as before. A balancing clause instead of complicated anonymization should make it easier for research and the media to access the other files. The BStU budget must serve specifically to effectively clarify the SED injustice. BStU researchers could support the work of memorials and educational institutions. "Only when the communist dictatorship is as present to the Germans as the criminal regime of the National Socialists is the processing of the legacies of Stasi Minister Erich Mielke really successful."

The BStU advisory board and civil rights activist Richard Schröder rejected Knabe's criticism: Since he left the BStU authorities in the dispute over their publication rules, he has been more involved against them than for an exhibition in his memorial. His allegations are wrong: The peculiarity of the MfS files and the legal situation required access barriers, regardless of where the MfS files were. Because the Stasi Records Act gives priority to victim protection, the Federal Archives must also blacken files, keep them secret and train employees to do this. The BStU authority is only allowed to give out names of actual, not suspected IMs. You could not block the exposure of West IMs because their files were destroyed in 1989/90. The few rescued West files, such as Rosewood, recorded sources, not IM name lists. The study on this ( Helmut Müller-Enbergs : Rosenholz. A source review ) was completed in 2007 and published on the Internet. The head of the BStU had objected to the general expiry of the Stasi inspections that had been planned since 1991. The former Stasi employees employed by the authority were taken on as property and personal security officers and subsequently checked. The authority has so far made archives accessible to 75 percent of the Stasi files; even the Federal Archives could not do this any faster. The Stasi Records Act should not prevent clarification, but must allow the constitutional right to informational self-determination and the protection of privacy to apply to perpetrators to a limited extent. Knabe would prefer “instead of a constitutional authority, an inquisition authority , a published list of names of all IMs and lots of bans. He should be careful not to look too much like his opponent. ”Only if the BStU authority is not dismantled can it effectively combat historical falsifications by former Stasi groups.

Activity as head of the Hohenschönhausen Memorial

Historical-political line

Since December 1, 2000, Knabe has been scientific director of the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial in the former central remand prison of the State Security. On assuming office, Knabe emphasized that coming to terms with National Socialism should be a model for dealing with the SED dictatorship. “With Hohenschönhausen we have handed down a site of persecution from the last dictatorship almost intact, which is of real national importance. That is, if you can compare it at all, the Dachau of communism . ”In the future, the two great dictatorships of the 20th century will be viewed much more closely than usual and both systems will be“ similarly stunned ”. There are many common sources and parallels to these mass dictatorships. Both totalitarian plans for society emerged from the anti-democracy of industrial society. The memorial is there primarily for the victims of the GDR and must pass on their experiences in order to immunize future generations against repeated attempts. To this end, a permanent exhibition should first be set up, preferably based on individual fates. Furthermore, history workshops lasting several days could be set up and part of the building could be converted for overnight stays. A modern exhibition didactics should be aimed for. Remembrance, commemoration of victims and research should be pursued equally.

According to the historian Karsten Krampitz, Knabe was appointed director of the Hohenschönhausen Memorial because of the way he was staged, his undifferentiated denunciation of the "unjust state" of the GDR and the support of the SED victims' associations. He included many more former GDR prisoners in the work of remembrance than other memorials and neglected research, documentation and teaching of history according to scientific and educational standards. The memorial did not have any accompanying information material or exhibitions that would put the one-sided, victim-centered communication of history in a higher-level historical context. That is why the cultural scientist Carola S. Rudnik criticized Knabe's course in her dissertation as a “pro-active” anti-communist history policy.

Debate about historical revisionism and AfD proximity

In May 2018, the memorial site leader and former GDR prisoner Siegmar Faust stated in an interview: The prison sentence for the Holocaust denier Horst Mahler was "unbearable". The question is whether the number of six million Holocaust victims is “holy”. One should not "exaggerate the memory of the Nazi crimes." There are "few" in Hohenschönhausen who think differently. Knabe then withdrew further tours from Faust and emphasized that Faust's statements in no way correspond to the opinion of the foundation, but rather damage its work. On the basis of inviolable human dignity, she advocates “a consistent reappraisal of both dictatorships”. Knabe emphasized that he had not dismissed Faust because of his political views, but because of an unauthorized interview on "non-foundation issues" at the memorial. He announced that he would make " right-wing extremism and xenophobia " the topic of the event and ask about a connection between "40 years of SED dictatorship and anti-democratic attitudes in the present". He also wanted to allow people politically persecuted by the GDR to appear "who are generally placed in the right-wing extremist corner by some media."

The historian Jens Gieseke , a member of the foundation's advisory board, doubted that Faust's attitude, as claimed by Knabe, was an isolated case. He worries "the growing closeness of the Hohenschönhausen Memorial to the AfD and its right-wing populism ". The memorial must clearly distinguish itself from historical revisionism and seek cooperation with Nazi memorials so that the New Right cannot "play it off". The fact that the chairman of the Friends of the Memorial Jörg Kürschner regularly writes "enthusiastic articles about the rise of the AfD" in the weekly newspaper Junge Freiheit is incompatible with the memorial mandate. Kürschner had advertised the foundation as an opportunity for the AfD to "broaden their network and expand the culture of debate." According to Christian Booss ( Die Tageszeitung ), the events showed a growing influence of right-wing populists in GDR victims' associations and their susceptibility to historical revisionism. Despite protests, the memorial's friends' association accepted Georg Pazderski , the head of the Berlin AfD . Robert Klages ( Der Tagesspiegel ) criticized the fact that Knabe claims "party political neutrality" and expects his employees, but above all criticizes the Left Party, but not the AfD.

Due to the growing criticism, Knabe suspended the foundation's cooperation with its friends' association in August 2018. The historian and BStU research director Ilko-Sascha Kowalczuk doubted that Knabe would no longer work with Kürschner. Knabe runs the most important Berlin memorial for the crimes of communism like a private association. “Everyone knows that and no one intervenes. Anyone who criticizes the boy and his memorial policy is portrayed as trivializing and a Stasi friend, at best a victim of dictatorship. ”That must end, the work of the memorial must be assessed and redesigned by experts. Culture Senator Klaus Lederer ( Die Linke ) held back with criticism of Knabe and defended him against the suspicion that the memorial was infiltrated by the AfD.

Allegations of administration

According to research by the Tagesspiegel, the Berlin Senate has received complaints about Knabe's administration since 2013. By then, the memorial had changed its administrative manager six times. In September 2013, the Senate asked Knabe to pay more attention to leadership, satisfied employees, further training and courses.

In October 2014, a volunteer at the Senate Administration reported in writing that the Deputy Director of the Helmuth Frauendorfer Memorial had sexually harassed her. The Board of Trustees received the report in December 2015. In February 2016, its chairman, Tim Renner, informed Knabe of the allegations and instructed him to stop sexual harassment in the future. In March 2016, Knabe reported that he had given Frauendorfer a detailed warning and asked for new volunteers. Renner agreed to this in November 2016, but demanded that it not be used in Frauendorfer's area of ​​“political education”. The new Senator for Culture, Klaus Lederer, granted the memorial a new traineeship from April 1, 2017 on the same basis as his predecessor. In December 2017 the new trainee complained about Frauendorfer; contrary to the condition, it had been placed under him. In January 2018, the Senate informed Knabe that the volunteer would be withdrawn because of incidents similar to those in 2014.

In February 2018, Knabe denied the sexual harassment and asked for evidence, otherwise defamation and defamation could exist. In March he threatened to file a criminal complaint if the cultural administration did not provide him with details. The Senate Department declined to protect the identity of the witness and the ability to report discrimination in the workplace. The authority referred Knabe to the Equal Treatment Act for his employees and recommended protective and preventive measures for women at the memorial site that were coordinated with the foundation committees. According to the Senate, he did not react and only informed the Board of Trustees of the withdrawal of the volunteer, not the reasons for it. On June 11th, Lederer informed the Board of Trustees about these reasons. The council instructed Knabe to present a prevention plan against bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment. On June 12th, six women reported in a letter to Lederer of sexual assault and asked for confidentiality, since for them Knabe was “part of the problem”. After a conversation with the women, Lederer and Federal Minister of Culture Monika Grütters (CDU) commissioned a lawyer on June 14 to listen to the women and examine their allegations. The lawyer stated that the allegations were "substantiated". On August 6, Lederer and Grütters representatives on the Board of Trustees informed Knabe personally about this and invited Frauendorfer to a hearing. This admitted his misconduct; Knabe received the minutes of the hearing a few weeks later. According to Lederer, Knabe did not take any further educational or protective measures, but asked him in writing for a confidential solution. After two other women reported sexual harassment, Lederer's State Secretary Torsten Wohler spoke to Knabe on August 27.

After that, the women turned to the media. Thereupon the radio Berlin-Brandenburg asked Knabe about the allegations. In two press releases he called sexual harassment an “absolute no-go”, promised to clear everything up, and concluded a service agreement on how to treat people with respect. On September 24th, he put Frauendorfer on leave, which according to the Board of Trustees was not his. On the same day, another woman reported to the cultural administration about harassment, this time also by Knabe himself. The Board of Trustees then met on September 25, 2018 for a special meeting at which Knabe commented on all allegations and how he dealt with them. The board of trustees then informed him that they had unanimously decided to put him on leave and dismiss him.

Dismissal controversy

On September 25, 2018, the Board of Trustees announced in a press release that they had discussed the allegations of harassment and structural sexism and unanimously decided to terminate both Frauendorfer and Knabe because they had no confidence that he was going through the "urgently needed cultural change" in the Will initiate memorial and can credibly represent.

Knabe's resignation sparked controversy. The FAZ reported that the boy had no chance to comment. The Berlin CDU politician Kai Wegner accused Lederer of blocking Knabe's clarification of the allegations against Frauendorfer. Knabe complained that the media reports on the case damaged “the issue of coming to terms with the SED dictatorship as a whole” and denied that there was a “climate of fear and bullying” in the memorial. He "always treated all employees fairly and with respect". Four members of the scientific advisory board of the foundation (Heidi Bohley, Freya Klier , Edda Schönherz and Barbara Zehnpfennig ) called Knabe's termination in an open letter of protest a “political punitive action”. On October 10, 2018, Bohley, Klier and Zehnpfennig resigned from the advisory board. They accused its chairman Dieter Dombrowski (CDU) of presumption of office: he had postponed a discussion with a boy on the advisory board and withheld information from him. They declared Knabe's resignation due to the CDU's political interests in working with the Left Party. Knabe is the sharpest critic of such a collaboration. They did not go into the sexism allegations and Knabe's handling of them.

Dombrowski, on the other hand, stated that he had mutually postponed the date so that Marianne Birthler could take part as a confidante of the Board of Trustees. According to the statutes, the advisory board is not responsible for personal details and has received all information pertaining to it in good time. The advisory board could listen to the boy or the resigned members could ask him directly why he had never informed them about the harassment allegations and Senate instructions. Monika Grütters also rejected the assumption that Knabe's resignation was politically or ideologically motivated, as unfounded. The Board of Trustees emphasized that Knabe had tolerated and promoted the grievances for years and had not followed instructions to prevent further incidents. The authors of the letter from June 2018 criticized the fact that Knabe's supporters ignored personal experiences, the behavior of superiors and the handling of power relations in the memorial, thus promoting a “culture of looking away, covering up and playing down these processes”.

In October 2018, Knabe filed a lawsuit for protection against dismissal . On November 23, 2018, he obtained an injunction against his exemption from the Berlin district court . After a special meeting on November 25, 2018, the Board of Trustees dismissed Knabe as director and director of the memorial with immediate effect. Violations of the law, breaches of duty and a "breakdown of the relationship of trust" have been established, which preclude Knabe from further exercising his office. An objection was lodged against the preliminary injunction. On November 26th, Knabe appeared at the memorial and moved into his office again. At lunchtime, however, the Berlin Regional Court decided to suspend the injunction for the time being, so that Knabe had to leave the office again.

The deputy chairman of the CDU / CSU parliamentary group and spokesman for the East German regional groups Arnold Vaatz wrote in a six-page letter that the boy had been dismissed unconstitutionally. Lederer was "guilty of serious legal violations", planned to replace Knabe with "almost criminal energy" and put the courts under pressure to do so. Birthler hastily prepared a report on the fear of female employees for the special meeting of the Board of Trustees. The “instrumentalization of anonymous accusations” is reminiscent of “the denunciating methods” of dictatorships. The “staged decapitation” served the Left Party to soften the memory of the SED dictatorship. Grütters and Dombrowski were involved in this "political intrigue to bring the memorial into line".

On December 4, 2018, on the other hand, 41 freelance memorial site employees declared that Knabe's recall was necessary in view of the situation. You couldn't imagine continuing to work under him. On December 5, Marianne Birthler submitted the final report she had requested from the Board of Trustees on the allegations: In confidential discussions, only a few of the 36 employees had testified that Knabe had a problem-free employment relationship. The vast majority of them had “massive criticism” of his management style and complained about “no internal communication”, “lack of appreciation”, use as pure “vicarious agents”, nodding, use of contemporary witnesses as “attraction horses”. Sexual harassment has been an internal issue for years. Also because Knabe asked the staff council not to use complaints, the courage to do so was lacking. He did not act against the wrongdoing, repeatedly behaved inappropriately towards women and also tried to intimidate them. These leadership deficiencies created a climate of mistrust and damaged the employees' initiative and self-confidence. For years, Knabe had also damaged the image of the memorial in science, only used it for his political messages and also offered Stasi victims no fixed contracts or opportunities to develop. The allocation of tours was partly dependent on good behavior. The prospect that he would come back generated "overwhelming fear".

More than 40 former GDR civil rights activists, historians, memorial workers and contemporary witnesses criticized Vaatz: depicting courts as part of a “left-wing conspiracy of the foundation council” makes use of “right-wing populist arguments” and calls into question the rule of law. The memorial is only one facet of the GDR coming to terms with it. Their future leadership should be limited, the employees should be included in the content-related work, a high scientific standard must be guaranteed. Because more people are currently again welcoming the "authoritarian and governmental leadership of a community", every place is important that reminds of the possible consequences of this attitude. In doing so, they criticized Knabe's course for presenting himself as the most famous lawyer for the SED victims and for aligning the memorial with it. The historian Ilko-Sascha Kowalczuk said that the memorial had developed an overwhelming strategy under the Knabe, reminiscent of the one-sided memorial education of GDR institutions. Knabe's replacement is an opportunity to reorganize the GDR process. He had shown no regret for the women affected by the attacks: "From someone who deals professionally with coming to terms with guilt, that's the least that can be expected." The dismissal was not an act of revenge, but a political sign against sexism .

By December 14, 2018, Knabe and the Senate Administration agreed on a settlement, the content of which was not known.

In November 2019, the CDU and FDP applied for a committee of inquiry into the Knabe case in the Berlin House of Representatives to investigate the behavior of Senator for Culture Lederer and the Governing Mayors Wowereit and Müller .

further activities

Knabe is a member of the scientific advisory board "Social Processing" of the Federal Foundation for the Processing of the SED dictatorship . He is also a member of the Advisory Board for Contemporary History of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation .

Knabe has been the author of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung since April 2019 and has been with Tichys Insights since June 2019 as well as a guest author for the Axis of the Good .

Knabe has been active on Twitter since September 2013 , where he speaks out, among other things, in disputes about himself. In the case of the harassment allegations against him, he thanked his supporters, expressed his disappointment with the investigation and defended himself against the allegations.


Knabe sees it as his task to work through the history of the GDR and to give more public recognition to a critical view of it. According to Christoph Seils ( Die Zeit ), Knabe advocates a “ totalitarian concept of dictatorship” and often compares the SED dictatorship with the Nazi era . He criticized the unequal treatment of victims of both German dictatorships, for example in victim pensions .

In the volume “Die unterwanderte Republik” (1999), Knabe tried to prove that the MfS not only procured defensive information in the Federal Republic, but also had an offensive and controlling effect on politics. In the volume "Der diskrete Charme der DDR" (2001), Knabe examined the influence of the MfS on the German media and advocated the thesis that by 1970 at the latest the West German media had softened the "clear" political judgment on the GDR of the 1950s and no more strongly condemned. Using a wide range of sources, he presented the various forms of MfS influence and listed 36 IMs among West German journalists. Social democratic journalists in particular were prone to contact work, but so were high-ranking conservative and right-wing extremist journalists such as Lutz Kuche . Although the MfS had "penetrated the West German media in many ways", the change in the GDR image was "not primarily caused by agents". The IMs would have served more to gather information than to exert influence. The reasons for the increasing acceptance of the SED dictatorship in the West are therefore still unclear.

To counteract the forgetting of the GDR victims, Knabe published the works Captured in Hohenschönhausen and The Forgotten Victims of the Wall in 2007 . They deliberately represent the oral history of imprisoned contemporary witnesses. He also called for athletes to “adopt the perspective of the victims and separate them from cadres who are under pressure”.

In his book Die Täter sind unter uns (2007), Knabe describes the suppression and transfiguration of GDR history. Stasi and SED structures survived in other organizations. The PDS and, with their money, networks of the old Stasi cadre were reorganized under the rule of law. He specified these theses in 2009 in his work Honeckers Erben . In it he again pointed to personal, programmatic and financial continuities between the SED, PDS and the Left Party. He accused the party of not uncompromisingly distancing itself from its GDR past. Inadequate engagement of political decision-makers in dealing with the state security is an “all-German phenomenon”. He complained that the GDR dictatorship was "increasingly being evaluated from the perspective of fellow travelers or even the perpetrators".

In 2009, the stasis of Karl-Heinz Kurras became known, who shot the student Benno Ohnesorg in 1967 . Knabe accused the 68ers of having " idolized mass murderers like Mao Tse-tung or Ho Chi Minh " and "being instrumentalized by the SED". The Stasi infiltrated the extra-parliamentary opposition and influenced it significantly.

In 2011, Knabe advised the Tunisian interim government on the social reappraisal of the dictatorship there.

In 2013 Knabe called for a ban on political symbols of the GDR regime. To display GDR uniforms and emblems is a "careless handling of remnants of the communist dictatorship".

In 2005 Knabe wrote that the term Liberation Day for the end of World War II on May 8, 1945 was undifferentiated. Unlike West Germany , East Germany only got the chance to build a democracy from 1989 onwards. Josef Stalin made a decisive contribution to defeating the National Socialist regime militarily, but used the victory to establish his own dictatorship. In 2015, Knabe criticized the Brandenburg State Parliament for wanting to commemorate the end of the war as an annual day of liberation: “The GDR did that in 1950. A tradition is being continued, so to speak, without adding that Brandenburg in particular experienced very bad things from May 8, 1945: the rape, the shooting of civilians who had done nothing, camps like Sachsenhausen . ”This creates an undifferentiated view of history generated.


Knabe's work on the GDR and its institutions are sometimes viewed controversially. GDR victims' associations see his work as an important contribution to the memory of GDR injustice. In 2009, Knabe received the Federal Cross of Merit . Federal President Horst Köhler praised him as one of the "most consistent representatives of the victims of the SED dictatorship".

According to Dieter Rink, Knabe's essay New Social Movements in Socialism (1988) first made known opposition groups in the GDR “under the roof of the church” in West Germany , and from 1989 onwards suggested similar works on the GDR citizens' movements. According to Christel Degen, Knabe's essay contributed "to the explanation of the phenomenon of a rapidly growing and by the social sciences completely unexpected citizen movement in East Germany". However, he had hidden some peculiarities of these opposition groups and the GDR society.

The historian Helmut Müller-Enbergs, who worked at the BStU at the time, assessed Knabe's book The Infiltrated Republic of 1999 as "not very successful" and highlighted a contradiction to the successor volume The Discreet Charm of the GDR from 2001: Knabe himself refuted his initial suspicion that the milder West German GDR The picture was above all the work of GDR agents. He has presented known cases again for years. It is particularly interesting how the SED launched covert propaganda in the Federal Republic of Germany, how it brought certain (also applicable) information to the German media and, for example, promoted campaigns against the Axel Springer publishing house . The book is eloquent, entertaining and popular.

The political scientist Stefanie Waske praised the fact that Knabe's works are based on a broad source of sources and testify to a great deal of detailed knowledge. His works, The Discrete Charm of the GDR and The Infiltrated Republic, were particularly useful for their academic work. Wolfgang Müller ( Dickinson College ) judged Knabe's works The Infiltrated Republic and The West Work of the MfS as long-term standard works on the “organizational forms of this monster organization”.

Arnulf Baring ( Die Welt ) praised Knabe's book Die Täter sind unter uns from 2007 as a further attempt to warn the public against the continued effect of the totalitarian GDR tradition. He carefully documented that this is a far greater danger for the Federal Republic than a return of fascism . For example, he recalled the disappearance of the SED's assets from 1990, attributed this to the “criminal energy” of the PDS at that time, pointed out the conspicuously high party donations and presented problematic résumés of leading leftists in detail.

Günter Hellmich ( Deutschlandfunk ) criticized that Knabe's book did not offer any new facts or sources about the Left Party despite the title. The book is an "ammunition depot" for their political opponents. Knabe portrays the party's history not as a historian, but as an advocate for the Stasi victims. Even after 20 years, he does not allow Stasi employees and SED cadres to change their attitudes. He did not differentiate between subordinate bodyguards of the MfS and full-time IMs, and the SED junior cadre at the time not from state officials. He regards the MfS as the Gestapo , the SED as the NSDAP , and only approves of former representatives of the bloc parties' ability to learn. Like the SED for the economic collapse of the GDR, he made the PDS responsible for today's economic problems in the new federal states without any evidence. At the same time, he accuses the co-ruling Berlin PDS of supporting the austerity policy. He often deals with facts “particularly creatively”, for example by portraying the change in name of the SED to the PDS as a camouflage, although the WASG has demanded the new name. He adjusts all the facts to his thesis that the Left Party still wants the same thing as the SED, and assesses all evidence to the contrary as implausible. He advocates equal treatment of “red = brown”: That is why the historical truth about the left has no chance with him.

Sebastian Klinge saw Knabe's presentation as a symptom of a discussion about the latency of the GDR and its history. For example, he transferred the beginning of the Communist Manifesto about the specter of communism that was immediately circulating in Europe to the party Die Linke of 2009, which has covered its tracks with its constant renaming and is therefore a Trojan horse of the old SED cadres.

Christoph Kleßmann (Die Zeit) sees “missionary zeal” in Knabe. Mechthild Küpper criticized that Knabe raised the "IM files to the only value judgment" about members of the Left Party and neglected "how people have since treated their past and what they have achieved since then". The sociologist Urs Müller-Plantenberg also criticized the fact that the boy relied almost exclusively on IM spy reports and internal Stasi protocols, without sufficient criticism of the sources . Günther Heydemann ( Hannah Arendt Institute for Totalitarian Research ) considers Knabe's presentation of the foreign activities of the MfS, especially in the Federal Republic, to be one-sided and untenable.

In his 1999 book Die Unterwanderte Republik , Knabe claimed that the representative of the Nazi state and commentator on the Nuremberg Laws, Hans Globke, was a “resolute opponent of National Socialism”. His interpretation of the racial laws saved the lives of thousands of so-called half-breeds. He did not provide any evidence for this. The historian Klaus Bästlein explained in his book The Globke Case: Propaganda and Justice in East and West that Knabe probably only represented this thesis in order to relieve the early Federal Republic of allegations of guilt from the GDR. The historian Karsten Krampitz emphasized that, among other things, because of such unsubstantiated theses, Knabe was highly controversial in historical studies. It also did not serve the social discourse on GDR history because it wanted to defeat others, not convince them. In Knabe's thinking, the SED state is a static structure that has hardly changed since the 1950s. His image of the “communist tyranny” prevented him from describing various phases of GDR history. His thesis of a comprehensive infiltration of the old Federal Republic by Stasi agents is also very questionable. The rosewood files mentioned by Knabe as evidence , which the USA handed over to the Federal Republic in 2003, did not contain any minutes of such a conspiracy by the Stasi. The historian Wolfgang Wippermann has therefore described Knabe's claim as a "deliberate bluff" and Knabe as "a conspiracy ideologist with certain neurotic traits". Knabe's endeavor to equate SED victims with Nazi victims amounts to relativizing Nazi history and is only possible by excluding the Holocaust and the war of extermination .


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  • with János Kalmár , Alfred Komarek : Budapest. Bucher, Berlin / Munich 1991, ISBN 3-7658-0681-1 .
  • Departure for another GDR. Reformers and opposition leaders on the future of their country. Rowohlt, Reinbek near Hamburg 1989, ISBN 3-499-12607-9 .
  • New social movements in socialism. On the genesis of alternative political orientations in the GDR. Cologne Journal for Sociology and Social Psychology , Volume 40 (1988), Issue 3, pp. 551–569.
  • Klaus Ehring, Martin Dallwitz (pseudonyms for Hubertus Knabe and Ulrich Mickan): Swords to plowshares. Peace movement in the GDR. Rowohlt, Reinbek near Hamburg 1982, ISBN 3-499-15019-0 .

Web links

Commons : Hubertus Knabe  - Collection of Images

Individual evidence

  1. Hubertus Knabe. Munzinger - International Biographical Archive 04/2019, January 22, 2019.
  2. Rudolph is not to be confused with pastors of the same name who are still active today. He was 50 years old in 1992. See curiosity in each other . In: Der Spiegel. 1992.
  3. Heike Haarhoff: A man on the lookout. taz , November 29, 2006
  4. Christoph Links: A publisher with a clear profile. The program development in contemporary non-fiction. In: Christoph Links (Ed.): Surviving with links. 20 years of Ch.-Links-Verlag. Ch.links, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-86153-555-3 , p. 80 .
  5. a b c Karsten Krampitz: The commandant has to resign. Friday, September 28, 2018
  6. Hubertus Knabe: Mielke's heavy legacy: How the processing of the Stasi files could be reorganized. (Part 1) Spiegel Online, August 15, 2007.
  7. Mielke's heavy legacy: How the processing of the Stasi files could be reorganized. (Part 2) Spiegel Online, August 15, 2007.
  8. Richard Schröder: Because someone whispered it ... Time, August 30, 2007
  9. Gilbert Schomaker, Jens Stiller: The new head of the Hohenschönhausen memorial: "The Dachau of Communism". Berliner Zeitung , January 6, 2015.
  10. a b Markus Decker: Holocaust statement: Stasi memorial Hohenschönhausen separates from Siegmar Faust. Berliner Zeitung, May 31, 2018
  11. a b Robert Klages: The Hohenschönhausen Memorial and its mock neutrality. Tagesspiegel, August 13, 2018
  12. Christian Booss: Debate dealing with SED injustice: The great silence. taz, July 18, 2018
  13. Hubertus Knabe has to leave the Stasi memorial. Spiegel Online, September 25, 2018.
  14. Markus Decker: Interview on the 57th anniversary of the construction of the Berlin Wall "There is an incredible anger" , Berliner Zeitung of August 13, 2018
  15. Hannah Beitzer: Stasi Memorial Hohenschönhausen: Knabes Fall. SZ, October 5, 2018
  16. Alexander Fröhlich: Stasi Victims Memorial Hohenschönhausen: How Hubertus Knabe was released. Tagesspiegel, October 8, 2018.
  17. ^ Result of the meeting of the Foundation Board of the Hohenschönhausen Memorial. Press release Senate Department for Culture and Europe, 25 September 2018
  18. ^ Peter Carstens: Criticism of the dismissal of the head of the Stasi memorial in Berlin. FAZ, October 5, 2018.
  19. Alexander Fröhlich: Advisory board members resign in protest against the eviction of boys , Tagesspiegel, October 10, 2018.
  20. Alexander Fröhlich: Hubertus Knabe sued against his dismissal. , Tagesspiegel, October 11, 2018.
  21. Lorenz Maroldt, Alexander Fröhlich: Hubertus Knabe complains back - for the time being. Tagesspiegel, November 24, 2018.
  22. Elmar Schütze: Hohenschönhausen Memorial: Board of Trustees prevents Hubertus Knabe from returning. Berliner Zeitung, November 25, 2018.
  23. Björn Seeling, Alexander Fröhlich: Court: Ex-boss Hubertus Knabe is not allowed to go back. Tagesspiegel, November 26, 2018
  24. Alexander Fröhlich: CDU deputy accuses Lederer of “criminal energy” in the Knabe case. Tagesspiegel, November 28, 2018
  25. Alexander Fröhlich: Freelancers support the dismissal of Hubertus Knabe. Tagesspiegel, December 4, 2018
  26. Alexander Fröhlich: Birthler report burdens Hubertus Knabe heavily. Tagesspiegel, December 5, 2018
  27. Alexander Fröhlich: Civil rights activists accuse boy supporters of right-wing populism. Tagesspiegel, December 5, 2018
  28. Ilko-Sascha Kowalczuk: “And what did you do until 1989?” Süddeutsche Zeitung , October 23, 2018.
  29. Hubertus Knabe and the Stasi Memorial come to an agreement. Spiegel Online, December 14, 2018
  30. Robert Kiesel: 46 questions about the case, Hubertus Knabe, Der Tagesspiegel of 20 November 2019 online at: / ... .
  31. 4th Appendix: Members of the 3rd Foundation Council (§ 6 Foundation Act)., PDF p. 109
  32. ^ Article by and about Hubertus Knabe in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung .
  33. Article by Hubertus Knabe on Tichy's insight
  34. Short profile and guest contributions by Hubertus Knabe at the Axis of the Good .
  35. Constanze Nauhaus: Stasi Victims Memorial Hohenschönhausen: After the eviction of a boy: New letter from the harassed women ., October 10, 2018.
  36. Stasi victim memorial: Boy on allegations: No climate of fear, no bullying , , October 9, 2018.
  37. Stasi: Struggle for the sovereignty of interpretation. Time December 8, 2006.
  38. When a Stasi prison becomes condominium - an interview with Hubertus Knabe. Goethe Institute
  39. a b Helmut Müller-Enbergs: H. Knabe: The discrete charm of the GDR. In: H-Soz-Kult, May 13, 2002
  40. Jörg Winterfeldt: Ingo Steuer has not learned anything. Welt online, March 18, 2007.
  41. Rita Kuczynski : Hubertus Knabe writes in “The perpetrators are among us” against the glossing over of the SED dictatorship: “The lively, industrious old cadres”. Berliner Zeitung, April 10, 2007.
  42. a b Arnulf Baring: The enemy is on the left. Welt online, March 18, 2009
  43. Björn Hengst: “There is a lot of SED in the left”. Spiegel Online, March 24, 2009
  44. The Left wants the system change and plays down the GDR. In: Neue Rhein Zeitung , March 12, 2008.
  45. Sandra Tjong: "Stasi was an all-German phenomenon" . Focus, May 22, 2009
  46. Joachim Fahrun: When the Stasi wanted to recruit Angela Merkel. Welt online, May 5, 2009
  47. Hubertus Knabe: Historian criticizes activists from 1968. Focus online, June 21, 2009.
  48. Friedhard Teuffel: "The Stasi wanted to fuel the protests". Zeit Online, June 2, 2009
  49. Jenni Roth : Democratization in Tunisia: "Change judges and compensate victims". In: ZEIT ONLINE . October 26, 2011.
  50. Do not equate GDR with Nazi Germany. North German News, January 27, 2014
  51. Hubertus Knabe: Day of Liberation? The end of the war in East Germany. Propylaea, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-549-07245-7 , p. 10 ff.
  52. Boy criticizes the Brandenburg Memorial Day at the end of the war. rbb, May 4, 2015
  53. ↑ The head of the memorial site, Hubertus Knabe, receives the Federal Cross of Merit. Welt online, November 14, 2009
  54. Dieter Rink: Citizens' Movements in the GDR - Democratic Collection Movements at the End of Socialism. In: Roland Roth , Dieter Rucht (Ed.): The social movements in Germany since 1945. A manual. Campus, Frankfurt am Main 2008, pp. 391–416, here p. 415.
  55. Christel Degen: Political Concept and Biography: The Citizens' Movement New Forum in Search of Communicative Democracy. Leske & Budrich, Opladen 2000, p. 39.
  56. Christel Degen: Political Concept and Biography , Opladen 2000, p. 41; Leonore Ansorg, Bernd Gehrke, Thomas Klein: Introduction: Political Opposition in the GDR as a Research Subject of German Social History. In: Leonore Ansorg et al. (Ed.): “The country is still - still!” Change in rule and political opposition in the GDR (1971–1989). Böhlau, Cologne 2009, p. 20 f.
  57. Stefanie Waske: More liaison than control: The control of the BND by parliament and government 1955–1978. Springer VS, Wiesbaden 2009, p. 13.
  58. Wolfgang Müller: Hubertus Knabe: The infiltrated republic. Stasi in the west. Dickinson College
  59. Ines Geipel : Contaminated Society. World March 2007.
  60. Günter Hellmich: “Because this story is still steaming”. Deutschlandfunk, March 19, 2009
  61. Sebastian Klinge: 1989 and us: History politics and memory culture after the fall of the wall. Transcript Verlag , 2015, pp. 143f.
  62. Christoph Kleßmann: The mild treatment of the perpetrators. Time No. 26/2007.
  63. Mechthild Küpper: Review of "Honeckers Erben". FAZ, July 14, 2009
  64. Urs Müller-Plantenberg: The sources of Hubertus Knabe. taz, July 18, 2009.
  65. ^ Günther Heydemann: The internal politics of the GDR. Munich 2003, p. 85.