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Understanding the East German Dictatorship – University of Reading

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Understanding the East German Dictatorship

Release Date 18 August 2005

Brandenburg GateGerman statesman Rainer Eppelmann, who played a major role in the unification of East and West Germany in 1990, is currently visiting the University's Department of German Studies. The visit comes after members of the Department and the Centre for East German Studies (CEGS) secured a significant agreement of co-operation with the German 'Foundation for Contemporary Understanding of the East German Dictatorship' ('Stiftung zur Aufarbeitung der SED-Diktatur'), of which Mr Eppelmann is chairman. The Foundation was created in 1998 with the aim of promoting understanding of the East German dictatorship and its consequences for the united Germany. It supports scholarship and research and advises and assists victims of political persecution, as well as assisting in the preservation of material relating to East German resistance and opposition groups. The formal agreement between the Foundation and CEGS involves an exchange of material relevant to both the Foundation and the CEGS archive, as well as a major joint conference in July 2006 in Reading. During Mr Eppelmann's visit, he will be inspecting the GDR archive currently held by the Department and finalising arrangements for a joint conference. Mr Eppelmann was a minister in the last GDR government and one of the major figures in the East German citizens' groups of 1989 that led to the fall of the GDR regime and the subsequent unification of East and West Germany. More details can be obtained from the Director of CEGS, Dr Peter Barker p.j.barker@rdg.ac.uk, or Professor John Sandford, Honorary President of CEGS j.e.sandford@rdg.ac.uk. end

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