"Remembering East Germany" is a documentary memoir focused on experiences Richard A. Zipser had while travelling and doing research in communist East Germany during the 1970s and 1980s. The memoir is based primarily on a 396-page file the East German secret police--the Stasi--compiled on him with the complicity of at least ten informants over a twelve-year period. The informants were all East Germans from different walks of life--three well-established writers, a prominent publisher, a university professor who was assigned to keep an eye on Zipser, an opportunist affiliated with the communist party academy, a lawyer, a functionary in the East German Writers' Union, the spouse of a Sorbian-German poet, and the housekeeper of East Germany's most famous writer. After the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and German reunification in 1990, Zipser was able to obtain a copy of his Stasi-file, a process that took seven years from beginning to end. Large sections of the top secret file have been incorporated into this book, along with appropriate commentary.
Zipser's memoir provides unique insights into a society and literary scene that no other Westerner was able to experience so intensely. It reflects, on several levels, how he experienced communist East Germany and how it in turn experienced him. This fascinating book will transport you back in time to the chilling Cold War days of yesteryear and take you behind the Iron Curtain. There you will encounter one of the first and most efficient surveillance societies of the 20th century, and you will gain insight into the modus operandi of the ruthless secret police all East Germans feared and hated--and much more!