Manfred Wilke

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Manfred Wilke (born August 2, 1941 in Kassel ) is a German sociologist , GDR researcher and contemporary historian . Until August 2006 he was professor of sociology at the Berlin University of Applied Sciences (FHW). In 1992 he was a co-founder of the SED State Research Association at the Free University of Berlin, of which he was director until 2006 together with Klaus Schroeder . Since 2005 he has been a member of the board of the Berlin CDU . Today he is project manager at the Institute for Contemporary History in Munich.


After completing his training as a retail salesman, Manfred Wilke came to the Hamburg University of Economics and Politics (HWP), an institution of the second educational path. From 1967 to 1970 he completed a degree in sociology with a degree in social economics . He then continued his studies at Hamburg University , with a focus on education, political science and sociology. In parallel to his academic work, his contacts with the German Trade Union Confederation intensified . In 1976 he did his doctorate - together with his fellow student and later colleague Reinhard Crusius - at the University of Bremen on the subject of “Trade union occupational and youth policy”.

From 1976 to 1980 Wilke was a research assistant at the Technical University of Berlin , then from 1980 to 1981 State Managing Director of the Education and Science Union (GEW) in North Rhine-Westphalia . After retiring as a full-time union official , he returned to Berlin, where he joined in 1981 at the Free University (FU) Berlin as a political sociologist with the work "unions and professional" at Theo Pirker habilitated .

In the course of his academic work and through personal contacts with Central and Eastern European oppositionists, such as B. Jiří Pelikán , Jan Pauer, Robert Havemann , Wolf Biermann and Jürgen Fuchs from the GDR, increased his political commitment to dissidents in the GDR, in Czechoslovakia and in Poland. Against the background of Biermann's expatriation in 1976 and the arrest of the GDR writer Jürgen Fuchs, Wilke founded together with Hannes Schwenger , Otto Schily u. a. the Protection Committee for Freedom and Socialism , which campaigned for those arrested and their release. Later he stimulated the peace policy engagement, which in 1982 led to the "Berlin Appeal" by Havemann and Rainer Eppelmann .

With Pirker's support, Wilke received a GDR research project on the SED's work in the West from the Federal Ministry for Internal German Relations in 1984 . The history of communism then became the second focus of his academic work.

In 1985 Manfred Wilke became professor of sociology at the FHW Berlin, where he published further studies on trade union issues and on the German Communist Party (DKP) in the following years . The dispute over the legacies of the SED dictatorship led Wilke, together with the scientists Manfred Görtemaker , Siegward Lönnendonker , Bernd Rabehl and Klaus Schroeder , to initiate a research association SED state . The Free University of Berlin offered its support. The association was officially founded in March 1992. The name "SED-Staat" makes it clear that the group focuses on researching the political system of rule in the GDR, the party and the communist dictatorship. As one of the two heads of the research network, Wilke has published the research series “Dictatorship and Resistance” in 15 volumes (as of 2013) since 2000.

Manfred Wilke began his political path in the early 1960s under the influence of members of the banned Communist Party of Germany (KPD) who were also trade unionists. In 1960 he joined the trade, banking and insurance union himself. In 1961 he became a member of the SPD , later in the Socialist German Student Union (SDS). He was SDS chairman at the Hamburg Academy for Economics and Politics . Politically he came closer to the Trotskyists . In the 1970s he campaigned for opposition and dissidents in Eastern Europe as well as against attempts by the DKP to influence the DGB unions. In the 1980s, although he was still a member of the SPD, he came closer and closer to the CDU. His internally controversial appointment as professor of economic sociology at the University of Applied Sciences in Berlin in 1985 already took place with massive support from the CDU. In 1994 he left the SPD, in 1998 he became a member of the CDU. Since 2005 he has been a member of the board of the Berlin CDU.


In addition to his actual scientific work, Manfred Wilke also held scientific-political functions:

  • From 1992 to 1994 expert member of the Enquete Commission of the 12th German Bundestag "Dealing with the history and consequences of the SED dictatorship in Germany"
  • Expert member of the successor commission of the 13th German Bundestag "Overcoming the consequences of the SED dictatorship in the process of German unity"
  • Member of the advisory board of the Federal Commissioner for the Records of the State Security Service of the former GDR, BStU
  • Member of the Advisory Board of the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial Foundation until 2016
  • Member of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation for the Processing of the SED Dictatorship (Foundation Processing)
  • Member of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation Archive of Parties and Mass Organizations of the GDR in the Federal Archives (SAPMO).


He worked as a scientific advisor in the production of the film " The Lives of Others " by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck .

Research priorities

  • History and politics of the trade unions in the Federal Republic and the GDR
  • History of communism
  • Opposition and Resistance in " Real Socialism "
  • History of the SED rule

Fonts (selection)

  • with Rudi Dutschke (ed.): The Soviet Union, Solschenizyn and the western left. Reinbek 1975.
  • with Reinhard Crusius (Ed.): De-Stalinization. The XX. Party congress of the CPSU and its consequences Frankfurt / M. 1977.
  • with Crusius, Schiefelbein (ed.): Works councils in the Weimar Republic. 2 vols., Berlin 1976.
  • with Lutz Mez (ed.): The atomic felt. Contributions from Havemann, Flechtheim, Barnaby u. a., Berlin 1977.
  • with Jiri Pelikan (ed.): Menschenrechte, Ein Jahrbuch zu Osteuropa. Reinbek 1977.
  • with Ossip K. Flechtheim , Wolfgang Rudzio, Fritz Vilmar : The DKP's march through the institutions. Soviet Marxist strategies of influence and ideologies. S. Fischer Verlag Frankfurt / M. 1980.
  • with Marion Brabant: Totalitarian Dreamers. The SDAJ - The Unknown Youth Association. Olzog Verlag , Munich 1988, 125 pp.
  • with Hans-Peter Müller: Between solidarity and self-interest. The trade unions of the DGB in the German unification process. Melle 1992.
  • as publisher: The anatomy of the party headquarters. The KPD / SED on the way to power. Berlin 1998.
  • with András B. Hegedüs (Ed.): Satellites after Stalin's death, June 17, 1953 and Hungarian Revolution 1956. Berlin 2000.
  • with Jürgen Mahrun (Ed.): Rocket poker around Europe. Munich 2001.
  • with Andreas Graudin: The strike breaker headquarters . The Free German Trade Union Federation and June 17, 1953. Berlin 2004.
  • with Hermann Weber, Ehrhart Neubert , Ulrich Mählert a. a. (Ed.): Yearbook for historical communism research . Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-351-02686-2 .
  • with Udo Baron : Die Linke. Origin - Development - History , Sankt Augustin 2009, ISBN 978-3-940955-37-1 .
  • with Udo Baron: Die Linke. The party's alliance and coalition policy , Sankt Augustin 2009, ISBN 978-3-940955-59-3 .
  • with Udo Baron: Die Linke. Political conceptions of the party , Sankt Augustin 2009, ISBN 978-3-940955-60-9 .
  • The SED state. History and aftermath. Weimar 2006. (Review on: )
  • The way to the wall, stations in the history of division. Ch. Links Verlag , Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-86153-623-9 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. website Manfred Wilke
  2. ^ Rotary Club : Manfred Wilke