The Federal Foundation for the Study of the Communist Dictatorship in Eastern Germany is tasked under public law with the comprehensive investigation and study of the causes, history and impact of the dictatorship in the Soviet occupation zone in Germany, the GDR and East Central Europe. It promotes the reappraisal of the former Communist dictatorships in Germany and other countries as well as advancing public awareness at an international level. The Federal Foundation entertains partnerships with museums, memorial sites, institutions of political education, schools and universities, independent archives, historical societies, and, not least, associations of the victims of Communist dictatorship in East Germany.
Please note: We offer the bulk of our content in German only. With ReadSpeaker webReader, the content on a website can be read aloud to you. The web reader also allows you to translate a selected text to a number of languages and have the text read in the target language. As a user, you don't have to download anything.
The Federal Foundation provides content-related and financial support to various projects conducted by initiatives and institutions both nationally and internationally. Ever since the establishment of the Foundation, it has been able to fund and support several thousand projects across the country, thereby ensuring a diverse landscape of critical appraisal and investigation, unmatched internationally.
Around half of the Foundation’s annual budget is dedicated to project funding in the areas of historical-political educational work, archive and documentation projects, exhibitions and documentary films, publications and scholarships, as well as the activities of victims’ associations.
The required funds are comprised of an annual grant earmarked in the federal budget and in part generated from the endowment fund which the Foundation was allocated by the German Bundestag from the assets of the former Communist state party of the GDR.
Fresh Impulses for Political Education, Research, Politics and Society
Through the organisation of panel discussions and lectures, historical exhibitions, workshops and conferences, discussions with contemporary witnesses, colloquia and advanced trainings, as well as publications and online resources, the Foundation provides a wide range of materials related to the investigation of Communist dictatorships and their impact. The Federal Foundation moreover promotes debates and generates impulses for further discussion, which then advance the process of study and reappraisal in the form of knowledge transfer, communication and advisory capacities. The Foundation’s materials are aimed at academia just as much as the fields of educational and classroom work, critical reappraisal, politics, and a broad interested public.
The special library and archive complete with a documentation centre provide books, documents and other materials primarily addressing the key topics of opposition and resistance in the Soviet occupation zone and the GDR, as well as political persecution and repression to the interested public. This includes a well-resourced publicly accessible reading room.
In our publication shop you will find a number of English publications.
Our poster exhibitions cover various contemporary historical topics, events and developments. With little effort, the richly illustrated poster sets can be ordered from us and put on display in adequate institutions or public places. The exhibitions provide a comprehensive and concise basis for engaging with contemporary history and are particularly suited for (extra-)curricular educational work. Produced in large volumes and different language versions, they reach tens of thousands of visitors in Germany and abroad each year.
Are you active in the field of remembrance work and devoted to the investigation and reappraisal of dictatorships and similar experiences of state violence? The exchange programme Memory Work sponsored by the Federal Foundation for the Study of Communist Dictatorship in East Germany provides you with the opportunity to conduct international research on your specific topic, establish new contacts and gain experience at foreign institutions. In the context of this programme all employees and staff members of NGOs, memorial sites, archives, museums and similar establishments dealing with reappraisal and remembrance may complete a stay at a corresponding institution in a foreign country for up to three months. The aim of the exchange programme Memory Work is to support transnational collaborations in the reappraisal of dictatorships and experiences of state violence, to help stimulate the exchange of experience and to promote the interaction between individual researchers and institutions.You can find more information on the programme and details on the application procedure on our memory work website.
The platform www.zeitzeugenbuero.de was set up 2009 by the Federal Foundation for the Study of the Communist Dictatorship in Eastern Germany with the support of all German federal states and the Federal Ministry of the Interior. More than 350 men and women who witnessed the years of German partition and had an active part in overcoming it can be contacted through the platform and invited to speak with young students interested in the study of contemporary German history. In addition, the database provides links to numerous English-language didactic materials, websites, online exhibitions, books and documentary films. The platform is geared toward journalists, schools and other institutions of historical and political education and is gradually expanded with new interviewees, teaching materials and historical focuses.