Stefan Wolter

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Stefan Stadtherr Wolter 2016

Stefan Stadtherr Wolter (born Stefan Wolter on October 24, 1967 in Eisenach ) is a German historian and author. He works on the topics of medicine, tourism and military history. He became known through his autobiography Hinterm Horizont alone - The Prince of Prora and his influence on the culture of remembrance in Prora on the island of Rügen .


Family origin

Wolter is the son of pastor Jürgen Wolter and his wife Brigitte (née Gründich), who grew up in the Bornhagen parsonage and later in Reinsdorf / Artern after her family had to move from the border region in connection with the Vergeziefer campaign (1952). Her mother, granddaughter of the travel-loving landscape gardener Ernst Robert Pietsch , worked there as an escape helper on the inner-German border . Her father, Jobststeig, had refused to take the oath of allegiance to Adolf Hitler in 1938. Brigitte Wolter (* 1940), who, as a pastor's daughter in the GDR, was denied the Abitur and the desired medical studies, is a great cousin of the theologian Joachim Greich .


Stefan Wolter grew up as the third of four children in the Kaltensundheim rectory in the Hohe Rhön . He started school in Kaltenwestheim . In 1978 the family moved to Eisenach , near the deaconess house , where the father was appointed rector. Wolter continued the "Polytechnische Oberschule" there in the 5th grade and was able to switch to the Extended Oberschule (EOS) Ernst Abbe in 1984 with the help of the regional bishop Werner Leich because of the stated desire to study theology . At the Abitur level, Wolter opposed pre-military training after he had already refused membership in the Pioneers and the Free German Youth (FDJ) .

After his military service as a construction soldier in Prora (1986-1988) studied Wolter as his sister Ulrike Wolter-Victor in Jena theology . Wolter experienced the political turning point in Jena and was one of the first to join the New Forum after the experiences in Prora and the arrest by the Hungarian State Security during a vacation in Jena in the summer of 1989 . The time of political change is reflected in his letters to a then law student living in Hungary. At that time, his father fell ill with a cerebral haemorrhage that stole his short-term memory throughout his life. This experience shaped Stefan Wolter.

In 1990 Wolter moved to Göttingen, which meant a new start in his studies. During his studies of history and religion as a teacher, with the minor subjects of education and philosophy, Wolter began research on the poor fund of the city of Eisenach in the 17th and 18th centuries, the detailed analysis of which represented a novelty in social history research. He published the first results in the summer of 1996 in the Thüringische Landeszeitung (Eisenach), which Wolter granted a series in full-page format. 1997–1999 he wrote his doctoral thesis with Ernst Schubert . His work on the social affairs of the city of Eisenach and the poor reformer Johann Carl Salomo Thon , which provided information from the time of the Eisenach Bach family, he completed with Magna cum laude. Wolter has been working freelance in Berlin- Prenzlauer Berg since 1999 . He has also been married in Vonhausen (Büdingen) since 2015 .


Wolter published his first article at the age of 14 in the Thuringian church newspaper Glaube und Heimat . From 1996 to 1998 the first publications on historical topics followed in Thuringian newspapers, especially the Thuringian regional newspaper .

His three themes, rooted in autobiographical references, crystallized in 1997. His first major publications included medical-historical essays on the denominational hospitals in Eisenach, the preoccupation with the history of travel as well as the contribution to the book of the Thuringian newspaper (publisher) Villas in Eisenach , which heightened his sensitivity for houses and their stories. In the space of twenty years, Wolter has published 25 books and around a dozen essays in three subject areas.

Medical history

In May 1997, on the occasion of the 100th German Medical Association, the Eisenach city administration published a brochure based on Wolter's idea with the first articles on the history of medicine. Including a rare contemporary witness source from the Accouchierhaus Jena discovered in the main state archive in Weimar , which was later received several times. This initial was followed by a series of publications on the history of medicine, for example on the clinic histories of Eisenach (2006), Quedlinburg (2007), Merseburg (2009), Bernburg (2011), Sommerfeld near Berlin (2013), Rostock (2015), as well as the largest religious hospital in Germany Merciful Brothers Regensburg (2016).

Due to his approach to everyday history, Wolter is one of the pioneers of a hospital historiography that, in relation to the GDR, takes seriously the social and political components of the “microcosm of the clinic” in the area of ​​tension between demands and reality, in addition to the focus that was usually on building history and the economy of scarcity. The result is a differentiated picture of the hospitals with their underlying image of man, which makes the life of those active in the GDR understandable.

The analysis of compulsory sterilizations in the administrative district of Magdeburg (2007), which was published in the Historia Hospitalium in the course of his confrontation with National Socialism , broke a taboo in the journal of the German Society for Hospital History, as the medical historian Richard Kühl commented in 2010.

Tourism history

Between 1999 and 2013 Wolter commented on and published three historical travel reports, including those of the Upper Silesian landscape gardener Ernst Robert Pietsch in Poland, Denmark and Sweden. The second edition of the book Journey to Sweden and Denmark in 1908 was published as an audio book in 2002.

Military history and culture of remembrance in Prora

Since 2005 Wolter has been working on the GDR usage history of the "Colossus of Prora" on his own initiative. Inspired by his autobiography Hinterm Horizont alone - The Prince of Prora , former Prora soldiers, construction soldiers and sympathizers founded the non-profit organization Denk-MAL-Prora eV in 2008. The aim was to critically recall the history of the GDR, which had been suppressed by Prora . In 2009 the association carried out educational work on GDR history on the Prora youth campground that was opened at the time. Due to lamented political resistance, the 35-member association disbanded on the 20th anniversary of German unity (2010), symbolically. In a press release, Stefan Wolter criticized the "questionable selective and implausible culture of remembrance in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania", which only refers to the KdF bathroom planning. The memorial plaque for the construction soldiers in Block V, which goes back to Wolter's initiative, has finally changed the perception and historical assessment of the colossus by the official memorial work. Following the affixing of the plaque, the state department for memorial work "Political Memorials" Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania announced :

“For a long time, the controversies about the place of remembrance related to the importance of Prora in the Nazi era, the GDR military history was mostly the subject of transfiguring exhibition projects. (...) The discussion about the preservation of remains from the construction soldiers' stationing changed the perception of the place, from a Nazi memorial to a place with a 'double past'. "

All monument preservation protection regarding the GDR history of Prora can be traced back to Wolter's initiative. For ten years, the focus of the efforts was a common room for the construction soldiers including the painting, the history of which Wolter has researched and published. In 2017, Wolter's rescue of a mural at a former polytechnic high school in Prora, which the Usedom artist Klaus Rößler had designed on the subject of “youth preparedness”, caused a stir .

Wolter is co-initiator of the contemporary witness project “Virtual Museum Proraer Bausoldaten” (2007) by Tobias Bemmann and runs the platform Denk-MAL-Prora, which emerged from the association of the same name. In 2011–2014, Wolter published six volumes in the series of the same name, most of which deal directly with the town of Prora. In 2015, Wolter coined the term "large Stalinist barracks" for the core of the colossus, which was sealed off until the political change. Based on this interpretation, Wolter wants to clarify and overcome the one-sidedness of previous representations by politics and the media.

More recently, Wolter has widened his view of East Germany as a whole and criticizes retrospectively created "false continuities through false facades", as reflected in the rebuilt Berlin City Palace . They would inspire the distortion of history and negate the realms of experience of the East Germans.


Although the media primarily focus on the planned KdF pool in their reporting , numerous articles in the press and television, including international ones, take up Wolter's insistence on the background of his own history. Despite initial resistance, his suggestions are now often followed up in educational work. Because of his success in establishing a memorial plaque for those who refused to use guns stationed in Prora (2010), Chrismon magazine named him “Savior of the Month” in November 2012.

In the film Prora , Wolter sees a central plot in his book The Prince of Prora, in a modified form, relocated to the “KdF-Bad, which is more effective for the public”.

Publications (selection)


  • Think about poverty! The poor system of the city of Eisenach in the late 17th and 18th centuries , Göttingen 2003 ISBN 978-3-932622-22-9
  • Pietsch, Ernst Robert: Trip to Sweden and Denmark in 1908 , Göttingen 1999, ISBN 3-932622-75-8
  • Pietsch, Ernst Robert: Journey to Helgoland via Berlin and Bremen in 1912 , Göttingen 2001, ISBN 3-932622-76-6
  • Alone behind the horizon - the “Prince” of Prora , Halle, 1st edition 2005, 3rd edition 2010, ISBN 978-3-86634-028-2
  • History of the general hospitals in the city of Eisenach , vol. 1: The Wartburg-Klinikum and its legal predecessors , Norderstedt 2006, ISBN 978-3-8334-3046-6 vol. 2. The Christian hospital and its legal predecessors , Norderstedt 2006, ISBN 978 -3-8334-3047-3
  • "The best is just good enough for the sick" Klinikum Dorothea Christiane Erxleben gGmbH; 100 years of the Ditfurter Weg location, Quedlinburg 2007, ISBN 978-3-938579-23-7
  • The “Prince of Prora” in the mirror of criticism , Halle 2007 ISBN 978-3-86634-370-2
  • In the spirit of noble, helpful humanity From the Merseburg Municipal Hospital to the Saale District Clinic - 100 Years of History , Halle 2009, ISBN 978-3-86634-847-9
  • What an overwhelming sight is presented to our astonished eyes! , Halle 2008, ISBN 978-3-86634-459-4
  • The Prince and the Proradies , Halle 2009, ISBN 978-3-86634-808-0
  • KDF and barracks. (In) visible GDR history in the Prora youth hostel , Denk-MAL-Prora series of publications, volume 1, Halle 2011, ISBN 978-3-86237-503-5
  • Secret records of a construction soldier , series Denk-MAL-Prora Vol. 2, Halle 2011 ISBN 978-3-86237-630-8
  • "A model institution for healing and the circle for honor" , Quedlinburg, 2011, ISBN 978-3-938579-27-5
  • Ashes on your head! On the fight against the collective suppression of the GDR past from Prora on Rügen , series Denk-MAL-Prora vol. 3, Halle 2012, ISBN 978-3-86237-888-3
  • Cruise before the war. With the pleasure steamer Meteor to Norway , series Denk-MAL-Prora, Vol. 4, Halle 2012. ISBN 978-3-95486-163-7
  • Repke, Wolfgang: Prora, Block V, TH 4 , with a foreword edited by Stefan Wolter, series Denk-MAL-Prora Vol. 5, Halle 2013, ISBN 978-3-95486-388-4
  • Pastor's children in World War I, a hospital diary and a war diary by Tutti and Martin Besich , series Denk-MAL-Prora Vol. 6, Halle 2014, ISBN 978-3-95486-455-3
  • Future through tradition - the Alpine idyll on the outskirts of Berlin (Sana Kliniken Sommerfeld) , Quedlinburg 2013, ISBN 978-3-938579-28-2
  • Prora - In the Middle of History II , Berlin 2015, ISBN 978-3-7386-2981-1
  • Prora - In the Middle of History I , Berlin 2015, ISBN 978-3-7386-3237-8
  • Klinikum Südstadt Rostock 1965–2015 , Quedlinburg 2015, ISBN 978-3-938579-29-9
  • Longing sonata, love letters in the Cold War , Berlin 2017, ISBN 978-3-7460-3781-3


  • Collection of essays in StadtZeit Spezial. For the 100th German Medical Congress 1997, Eisenach 1997.
  • "An Accouchier-Hospital would soon replace this deficiency". From women's art to science. The development of obstetrics in the 18th and early 19th centuries using the example of Eisenach. In: Journal of the Association for Thuringian History , Vol. 53, Jena, pp. 113–150.
  • From labor mother to midwife. The establishment of midwifery schools with a view to their political value and their practical use. In: Frauengesundheit, Vol. 1, Universitätsverlag Rasch, Osnabrück, 2001, pp. 79–96.
  • "Everyone's goodwill was often strained." Development of a children's clinic in the GDR between 1969 and 1979. In: Historia Hospitalium , 2004–2005, Vol. 24, pp. 157–186.
  • “For a long time we saw our patients beckoning” Displacement strategies in the introduction of state nursing training in the GDR using the example of the Diakonieseminar Merseburg , Historia Hospitalium, In: Historia Hospitalium , vol. 26, 2008–2009, pp. 171–220.
  • The cursed state commits acts of violence - hospitals in the pull of evil. Forced sterilization in the Prussian administrative district of Magdeburg 1934–1936. In: Historia Hospitalium , 2006-2007, Vol. 25, pp. 37-61.
  • Memory needs a place to connect with. In: Zeitgeschichte regional 13th year, 2009, pp. 85–94.
  • Prora - from the “double trauma” in the struggle to remember to the first steps towards a successful turnaround. In: Contemporary history regional. Messages from Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania 2/10 14th year, pp. 61–69.
  • That will not do! A wall painting as a symbol of resistance , in: Prora-Zentrum (ed.): Waffenverweigerer in Uniform, conference proceedings (Wissenschaftliche Reihe, Vol. 2), 2011, pp. 49–66, here p. 57.
  • The "large-scale Stalinist barracks building" and its reception today , in: State Office for Culture and Monument Preservation Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (ed.): Alles Platte? Architecture in the north of the GDR as cultural heritage , Links-Verlag Berlin, 2018, pp. 156–172.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Beyond the horizon alone - The 'Prince' of Prora. In: Pearl Divers. Retrieved January 18, 2018 .
  2. From pastor's son to “Prince of Prora”. The story of an NVA construction soldier . Report by Florian Breitmeier NDR-Inforadio (Lebenswelten), October 3, 2007
  3. Tom Smith: The Archive and the Closet: Same-sex Desire and GDR Military Service in Stefan Wolter's Autobiographical Writing. In: Oxford German Studies. July 11, 2016, accessed January 18, 2018 .
  4. Holger Teschke: Instructions for use for Rügen and Hiddensee . Piper-Verlag, Munich 2013, ISBN 978-3-492-27621-4 , pp. 102 .
  5. Angelika Gerlach-Praetorius: The church before the oath question - The discussion about the pastor's oath in the "Third Reich" . In: Works on the history of the church struggle . tape 18 . Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1967.
  6. Michael Hollenbach: The Beschichs - a pastor's family (NDR-Info, April 11, 2015)
  7. Stefan Wolter: The Prince and the Proradies . 1st edition. Projekt-Verlag Cornelius, Halle 2009, ISBN 978-3-86634-808-0 , p. 304 f .
  8. Stefan Wolter: Behind the horizon alone - The "Prince" of Prora . 1st edition. Projekt-Verlag, Halle 2005, ISBN 978-3-86634-028-2 , p. 23 .
  9. Stefan Wolter: "Wende" letters. (PDF) In: The Prince and the Proradies. Halle, 2009, accessed January 18, 2018 .
  10. Axel Hinrich Murken: nn . In: Historia Hospitalium, journal of the German Society for Hospital History . tape 24 , 2005, pp. 251-252 .
  11. Received for example in: Kathrin Imhof: The children's soul house on the Kaulberg. Everyday life in the Bamberg orphanage in the early modern period. In: Social structures and economic conjunctions in early modern Bamberg edited by Mark Häberlein and Robert Zink, Bamberg 2013, pp. 131–198 and Katja Reinhardt (ed.): Stacked city of knowledge: Jena as a university town between 1770 and 1830, Böhlau Verlag.
  12. Stefan Wolter: Kinderkisten reader writes . In: Faith and Home . September 27, 1981, p. 3 .
  13. StadtZeit special . Fresh printing and publishing house, Eisenach May 27, 1995.
  14. Jürgen Schlumbohm: Lebendige Phantom: A maternity hospital and its patients 1751-1830. Wallstein, Göttingen 2012.
  15. ^ H. Schott: Medical history (s): Obstetrics - "Accouchierhaus" (building) . In: Deutsches Ärzteblatt . tape 103 , no. 25 , 2006, pp. A 1748 col. 2 f .
  16. Steffen Kublik: The University of Jena and the science policy of the Ernestine courts around 1800 . Jena 2008.
  17. ^ Axel Hinrich Murken: Reviews . In: Axel Hinrich Murken (Hrsg.): Historia Hospitalium, magazine of the German society for hospital history . tape 25 , 2006, pp. 314-320 .
  18. ^ Richard Kühl: Leading Aachen clinicians and their role in the "Third Reich" . In: Studies of the Aachen Competence Center for the History of Science . tape 11 , 2010, p. 10 .
  19. Patrycja Strąk: Tropem przodka. April 29, 2003, accessed January 13, 2018 (Polish).
  20. ^ Annegret Heitmann: Turisme anno 1908: Ernst Robert Pietschs rejse til Sverige og Danmark . In: Stephan Michael Schröder, Martin Zerlang (ed.): 1908 et snapshot af de cultural relationer mellem Tyskland og Danmark . Hellerup, 2011, p. 26-61 .
  21. Philip Schroeder: The tatters fly around Prora again. In: Schweriner People's Newspaper. August 30, 2010, accessed January 16, 2018 .
  22. Prora - various museum offers and educational institutions. In: Political Memorials. Retrieved February 14, 2014 .
  23. May 2nd, 1936 - laying of the foundation stone for KdF-Seebad Prora. May 2, 2016, accessed January 16, 2018 .
  24. ^ Matthias Schlegel: Protest with the spade. In: Der Tagesspiegel. Giovanni di Lorenzo, Sebastian Turner, October 7, 2007, accessed January 20, 2018 .
  25. Anne Ziebarth: Proraer Kult-Wandbild ist saved In: Ostsee-Zeitung October 30, 2017, accessed on January 26, 2018.
  26. Martin Lagerholm: Diktaturernas Prora Om Secret diary of a construction soldier in Prora. Retrieved January 20, 2018 (Swedish).
  27. Stefan Wolter: The "large-scale Stalinist barracks building" and its reception today . In: State Office for Culture and Monument Preservation Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (Ed.): Alles Platte? Architecture in the north of the GDR as a cultural heritage . S. 156-172 .
  28. lub: Prora - luxusní dovolená pro nacisty, později kasárna pro nepřátele státu. Ceska Televize, November 5, 2012, accessed on January 13, 2018 (cz).
  29. Derek Scally: From Nazi holiday camp to Cold War base to hot property. In: Irish Times. Retrieved January 17, 2018 .
  30. Wolter came u. a. in the programs artour (MDR, October 6, 2005), Unter uns (MDR, November 26, 2010) and Kulturzeit (3sat, October 2, 2014). In 2007 , the NDR filmed a journey through time with Wolter, which was broadcast in 2008.
  31. Savior of the Month . In: Arnd Brummer (Ed.): Chrismon . No. 11 . Hansisches Druck- und Verlagshaus (HDV), 2012, p. 43 .
  32. Stefan Wolter: Behind the horizon alone - The Prince of Prora: Experiences of an NVA construction soldier . 4th edition. 2006, ISBN 978-3-7392-4845-5 , pp. 285 f .