Independent association of historians

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The East Berlin historians Stefan Wolle and Armin Mitter founded the Independent Historians Association (UHV) in January 1990 in the GDR , which existed as a registered association from April 21, 1990 to oppose the leading historians of the GDR, especially in the Historian Society of the GDR under the chairmanship of Heinrich Scheel , at the Academy of Sciences of the GDR and at the Humboldt University in Berlin .

“The situation in the humanities is terrifying. For decades, an inedible pulp of lies and half-truths stifled every free spiritual impulse. Scholastic follies and stale platitudes were passed off as the "only scientific worldview". Pseudoscientists swung themselves into the judgment seat of Marxist omniscience and defamed entire epochs of modern intellectual history with stupid arrogance. While people were morally indignant about the book burnings by the Nazis, there was a 'cold book burning' in the GDR for 40 years? on a much larger scale. Important works of the past and present disappeared behind the armored doors of poison cabinets and special reading rooms. Provincialism and an often ridiculous technical incompetence settled like a deadly disease over the so-called social sciences. Philosophy, sociology and even art and literature became the confirmation bodies of the SED resolutions. The saddest fate, however, met the science of history. ”(From the invitation for April 21, 1990, quoted from Winfried Schulze: The saddest fate, however, met the science of history. )

At the German Historians' Day in Bochum in September 1990, Mitter went publicly to court with the established historians of the GDR ("cold book burning"). In November 1990, at a public event at Berlin's Humboldt University, the perpetrators of the relegation for political reasons and the relegated students and employees up to the 1960s clashed. The first publication with captured Stasi files was already published in March 1990 : I love you all! (BasisDruck Berlin 1990). It was sold 250,000 times in a few weeks because the secret service was screened for the first time. Other members besides wool and Mitter included Isolde Stark , Rainer Eckert , Ilko-Sascha Kowalczuk , Andreas Graf , Wolfram Brandes , Bernd Florath and Gerd Dietrich . Up until the mid-1990s, the UHV had repeatedly initiated widely received public historical debates on how to deal with GDR history and the legacy of personnel. With the consolidation of historical teaching and research in East Germany, the association lost its importance.


  • Armin Mitter / Stefan Wolle (eds.): I love you all! Orders and situation reports of the MfS, January - November 1989. BasisDruck, Berlin 1990, ISBN 3-86163-001-X .
  • Rainer Eckert , Ilko-Sascha Kowalczuk , Isolde Stark (editor): Whore or muse? Klio in the GDR. Documents and materials from the Independent Association of Historians. Berlin 1994. ISBN 978-3-929666-13-7 .
  • Rainer Eckert, Ilko-Sascha Kowalczuk, Ulrike Poppe (editor): Who is writing GDR history? A historians' dispute over positions, structures, finances and interpretation skills. Conference from March 18 to 20, 1994 in cooperation with the Independent Historians Association in Adam-von-Trott-Haus in Berlin-Wannsee, Berlin 1995.


  • Wolfram Brandes: Guardians of the Grail fight for power, in: FAZ v. September 21, 1990
  • Stefan Wolle: We are the nuisance. In: Die Welt , September 27, 2000 online .
  • Winfried Schulze: The saddest fate, however, struck history. In: History in Science and Education 1990, pp. 683–689 online at
  • Krijn Thijs: The Independent Historians Association and the Association of German Historical Sciences 1990. in: Matthias Berg et. al, The Assembled Guild. Association of Historians and Historians' Days in Germany 1893–2000, Göttingen 2018, pp. 653–680
  • Krijn Thijs: Broken History. Life experience and encounters with historians after 1989. in: Franka Maubach and Christina Morina (eds.), The 20th Century Telling: Time Experience and Time Research in Divided Germany. Göttingen 2016, pp. 387–448