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Petition for an Exit Visa (April 20, 1977)

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– Recently, untrue information about me has been spread: for example, the Minister of Culture has claimed that I pressured people to sign the petition.
– False stories are being circulated. In Erfurt, a man publicly claimed that I have a dollar account in Switzerland. This man’s occupation – he works for the State Security Office [Stasi] – makes it presumable that this was not a rumor he was passing on, but deliberate slander.

The isolation resulting from such means is painful. Some acquaintances have started avoiding visits. When year-end bonuses were distributed, only five out of a hundred at DEFA dared to shake my hand. Parents prohibit their children from continuing to play with mine. At party gatherings people say, Krug may play party secretaries [on screen] but he lives the life of a bourgeois; one should sever contact with such people. A political science teacher in Berlin told her pupils that actors would sell their opinions for money and that Krug, in particular, is a criminal who has already been to prison several times. A sculptor-friend of mine was advised by army officers, his clients, to distance himself from me. Officials have investigated the neighborhood to determine whom I visit, when and how often. At a forum in Potsdam, a statement was made publicly that I am an enemy of the state and a traitor to the working class.

That is something I never was and never will be.

During my last concert tour in the winter of 1976-77, I was openly observed by police detectives; the comments I made on stage were pointedly transcribed. Fans of our concerts complained that there was no free sale of tickets. Photographers were removed from concert halls by force. There were assorted audience members, especially in the front rows, who displayed grim expressions throughout the concert and were demonstrative in their lack of applause. There were planned expressions of hostility from the audience; these were of a sort that makes it impossible for a stage artist to work, they break him down. I now know the countless ways through which people can be made discouraged and depressed. In contrast, the examples of tastelessness that I experienced at the premiere of the film Spur der Steine [The Trace of Stones] were relatively crass and painless.

I was and am of the conviction that a range of different opinions must exist, and that it should not be forbidden to express them openly. I am convinced that Biermann has left a gap behind in our country. Based on my experience, I see no chance for me to continue living here. The situation might be different for a writer who needs only paper and pencil to do his work.

After careful consideration, I herewith apply for an exit visa for my family and myself to leave the GDR and enter the FRG, where my mother and brother are living.

I leave to the state my house at Wilhelm Wolff Strasse 15, in 111 Berlin. It is the material result of long years of hard work. I also leave to the community of Vipperow in the county of Röbel the property that I was able to buy in 1968 as a privilege after completing the television film Wege übers Land [Paths across the Land].

I sincerely hope that my petition will be granted, and I request that I have the opportunity to arrange my affairs for my move without delay but not with undue haste.

Manfred Krug

Source: Manfred Krug, Abgehauen: Ein Mitschnitt und Ein Tagebuch [Scooted Off: A Recording and a Diary], 4th edition. Düsseldorf, 1996, pp. 122-25.

Translation: Allison Brown

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