Ilko-Sascha Kowalczuk

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Ilko-Sascha Kowalczuk (born April 4, 1967 in Berlin-Friedrichshagen ) is a German historian and publicist.


Kowalczuk trained as a construction worker from 1983 to 1985 and worked as a doorman in an institute from 1986 to 1988 . In 1988 he made up his Abitur at an evening school . From 1990 to 1995 he studied history at the Humboldt University in Berlin . He received his doctorate in 2002 with Christoph Kleßmann at the Philosophical Faculty of the University of Potsdam . He has received grants from the Hans Böckler Foundation and the Fazit Foundation .

He has been a member of the Independent Association of Historians since it was founded in 1990 . From 1995 to 1998 he was an honorary, expert member of the German Bundestag's study commission “ Coming to terms with the history and consequences of the SED dictatorship ” .

From 1998 to 2000 he worked as a scientific advisor in the Federal Foundation for Coming to terms with the SED dictatorship . Since 2001 he has been a research assistant and project manager in the education and research department of the Federal Commissioner for the Records of the State Security Service of the former GDR and also an associated researcher at the Robert Havemann Society in Berlin. In spring 2018 he was given leave to write a biography about Walter Ulbricht . For this he received a scholarship from the Hamburg Foundation for the Promotion of Science and Culture. In spring 2019 the federal government appointed him to the commission "30 Years of Peaceful Revolution and German Unity".

Kowalczuk was involved in many academic and public debates about the GDR and its consequences, for example in the discussions about historical studies in the GDR, the uprising of June 17, 1953 , the 1989 revolution and the transformation process. Examples are the debates on the present in East Germany , state security , the unjust state or the role of the opposition and resistance in the GDR , which were conducted in connection with Jan-Hendrik Olbertz , Andrej Holm , Hubertus Knabe and Holger Friedrich . He is a regular interview partner on contemporary historical topics and on questions of reappraisal. Since 1999 he has been advising numerous feature and documentary films on contemporary history topics, for example the TV series Weissensee . He also advises exhibitions and projects such as comics or projects in the new media, so he developed the basic concept for the successful open-air exhibition Peaceful Revolution 2009/10 on Alexanderplatz , which identifies him as a specialist advisor.

Kowalczuk is married to Susan Arndt and has four children.


  • (Ed.): Paradigms of German History. Lecture series at the Humboldt University in Berlin. Berliner Debatte / GSFP, Berlin 1994, ISBN 3-929666-09-X .
  • with Rainer Eckert , Isolde Stark (Eds.): Whore or Muse? Klio in the GDR. Documents and materials from the Independent Association of Historians. Berlin Debate, Berlin 1994.
  • with Armin Mitter , Stefan Wolle : The Day X - June 17, 1953. The "Inner State Foundation " of the GDR as a result of the crisis in 1952/54 (= research on GDR history. 3). Ch. Links, Berlin 1995, ISBN 3-86153-083-X .
  • with Ulrike Poppe & Rainer Eckert (eds.): Between self-assertion and adaptation. Forms of resistance and opposition in the GDR (= research on GDR history. 6). Ch. Links, Berlin 1995, ISBN 3-86153-097-X .
  • with Rainer Eckert, Ulrike Poppe (eds.): Who is writing the GDR history? A historians' dispute over positions, structures, finances and interpretation skills. Evangelical Academy Berlin-Brandenburg, Berlin 1995.
  • Legitimation of a new state. Party workers on the historical front. History in the Soviet Zone / GDR 1945 to 1961. Ch. Links, Berlin 1997, ISBN 3-86153-130-5 .
  • The suppression of the opposition at the veterinary medicine faculty of the Humboldt University in Berlin in the crisis of 1956/57. Documentation of a press conference of the Ministry for State Security in May 1957 (= series of publications by the Berlin State Commissioner for the records of the State Security Service of the former GDR. 6). The State Commissioner for the Records of the State Security Service of the former GDR, Berlin 1997; 3rd unchanged edition ibid. 2006, ISBN 3-934085-07-5 .
  • with Ulrike Poppe, Rainer Eckert (eds.): "With us the new time moves ...". The SED between the end of the war and the construction of the wall . Evangelical Academy Berlin-Brandenburg, Berlin 1998.
  • with Stefan Wolle : Red Star over Germany. Soviet troops in the GDR. Ch. Links, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-86153-246-8 .
  • (Ed.): Freedom and Public. Political samizdat in the GDR 1985–1989. A documentation (= series of publications from the Robert Havemann Archive. 7). Robert Havemann Society, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-9804920-6-0 .
  • Spirit in the service of power. University policy in the Soviet Zone / GDR 1945 to 1961. Ch. Links, Berlin 2003, ISBN 3-86153-296-4 (doctoral dissertation University of Potsdam, 2002).
  • Jun. 17, 1953 - Popular uprising in the GDR. Causes - processes - consequences. Edition Temmen , Bremen 2003, ISBN 3-86108-385-X .
  • The eventful decade. History of the GDR from 1949 to 1961 (= ZeitBilder. 13). Federal Agency for Political Education, Bonn 2003, ISBN 3-89331-521-7 .
  • with Bernd Eisenfeld & Ehrhart Neubert : The suppressed revolution. The place of June 17, 1953 in German history (= The Federal Commissioner for the Records of the State Security Service of the former German Democratic Republic. Analyzes and documents. 25). Edition Temmen, Bremen 2004, ISBN 3-86108-387-6 .
  • with Roger Engelmann (Ed.): Popular uprising against the SED state. An inventory for June 17, 1953 (= The Federal Commissioner for the Records of the State Security Service of the former German Democratic Republic. Analyzes and documents. 27). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2005, ISBN 3-525-35004-X .
  • with Torsten Diedrich (Ed.): State foundation on installments? On the effects of the popular uprising in 1953 and the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961 on the state, military and society of the GDR (= military history of the GDR . 11). Ch. Links, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-86153-380-4 .
  • with Tom Sello (ed.): For a free country with free people. Opposition and Resistance in Biographies and Photos. Robert Havemann Society, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-938857-02-1 .
  • Endgame. The 1989 revolution in the GDR. Beck, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-406-58357-5 .
  • The 101 most important questions - GDR (= Beck'sche Reihe. 7020). Beck, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-406-59232-4 .
  • Stasi specifically. Surveillance and repression in the GDR. Beck, Munich 2013, ISBN 978-3-406-63838-1 .
  • June 17, 1953. History of a riot. Beck, Munich 2013, ISBN 978-3-406-64539-6 .
  • with Arno Polzin (Ed.): Be brief! The opposition's cross-border telephone traffic in the 1980s and the Ministry of State Security. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2014, ISBN 978-3-525-35115-4 .
  • History of the opposition in the GDR: From the establishment of a dictatorship to overcoming the dictatorship .
  • The takeover. How East Germany became part of the Federal Republic. Beck, Munich 2019, ISBN 978-3-406-74020-6

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall: “No lobby for GDR research” . In: Mitteldeutsche Zeitung . ( [accessed on May 1, 2017]).
  2. Andreas Molitor: The Unadjusted: The GDR refused Ilko-Sascha Kowalczuk a degree. Then came the turning point. He studied history and has been working in the Stasi records authority since 2001. He is now writing a book about the surveillance apparatus. . Hans Böckler Foundation, Düsseldorf .
  3. I always had a big face!5389924/ .
  4. Der Zweifler .
  5. Vita on .
  6. Markus Decker: Interview on the 57th anniversary of the construction of the Berlin Wall "There is an incredible anger" , Berliner Zeitung of September 27, 2018.
  7. Expertise of the former federal commissioner for the Stasi files Marianne Birthler and the historian Dr. Ilko Sascha-Kowalczuk on the Stasi past of the Berlin publisher Holger Friedrich. In: turi2. Accessed December 11, 2019 (German).