In: Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung 2014. Berlin: Metropol Verlag, pp. 29–45.
The article deals with six political memoirs written by former members of the West German Deutsche Kommunistische Partei (DKP), which was founded in 1968. Until now research on the DKP has focussed primarily on the party’s ideology and its strong ties with the GDR. But why did young Germans in the Federal Republic join this orthodox communist party? These autobiographies represent the dispositions of older members, who had spent years in the GDR before returning in 1968. Herbert Mies and Richard Kumpf have written for those few remaining Communists today, and appear all but unaffected by the end of communist regimes and their crimes. A contrary stance is taken by Wilfried Reckert. His retrospection is shaped by political and personal shame about his activism for the DKP after 1969 and his feelings are rationalized in a wide background of theoretical research on communism. Harald Werner and Richard David Precht – the later was not an apparatchik – try to explain their experiences in terms of belonging to a time where the DKP was also a milieu with strong cohesiveness beyond the ideological. Finally, there is Adrian Geiges, who writes a story of coming of age. His mixture of sex and crime is popular and loaded with fictional elements. To write the history of the DKP it is necessarily, to take into account this subjective view, but still nevertheless autobiographies remain a problematic source.