GHDI logo

"To the Base – against Self-Satisfaction": Erwin Strittmatter’s Contribution to the Discussion at the Bitterfeld Conference [Excerpt] (April 24, 1959)

page 4 of 4    print version    return to list previous document      next document

On the 10th Anniversary of our Republic

Many writers are preparing special works in which they give expression to their bond to the Republic. In addition, the Writers’ League will publish two anthologies on the same occasion. One has the working title: “We Grew with It.” It will talk especially about how writers in our Republic develop. So far, twenty writers have resettled to building sites of the Republic, though only six of them are Berlin writers.

However, when it comes to the Writers’ League itself, one can say somewhat more optimistically during the last few weeks: “Things are happening!” In the last members meeting, in particular, there was a discussion about participating in the brigades of Socialist labor. Something like an exchange of experiences already took place. And by now, additional writers have joined these brigades or committed themselves to start working there, as for example Alex Wedding, Klein, Jakobs, Rackwitz, Pijet, Victor, and others. However, given the many writers living in Berlin, this is still a small number. All told, 30 writers have so far established relationships with the brigades of Socialist labor. It is my ardent wish that we arrive at the point where this is seen as a gap in one’s education, and the attitude is that one cannot join the discussion if one does not have one’s second home somewhere in an enterprise or on a state-owned farm or in an agricultural production cooperative. To be sure, a modest beginning has been made, but it must not be reason for self-satisfaction.

Source: Neues Deutschland, no. 116, April 28, 1959; reprinted in E. Schubbe, ed., Dokumente zur Kunst-, Literatur- und Kulturpolitik der SED [Documents on the Artistic, Literary, and Cultural Politics of the SED]. Stuttgart: Seewald Verlag, 1972, pp. 562-64.

Translation: Thomas Dunlap

first page < previous   |   next > last page