Obituary: Karl Schirdewan
Tuesday 01 September 1998
Schirdewan was not born in Konigsberg, but in Stettin. I recently came across this fact when researching an encyclopaedia entry on Schirdewan. In GDR reference works he always stated that he was born into a working-class family in Konigsberg, but he was hiding the fact that his real family came from Stettin and had a higher social status. The standard biographical work on the GDR which has appeared since unification, Wer war wer in der DDR, repeated this mistake in its first edition (1994), but corrected it in its third edition of 1996 after the discovery of relevant files in the SED archive.
I WAS aware that there was controversy about the place of birth of Karl Schirdewan, writes Professor David Childs. However, as his friends in the PDS, who announced his death, kept to his claim that he was born in Konigsberg, I felt it was right to leave it at that.
A significant number of Germans changed details of their place of birth after the Second World War for political reasons and it is not always possible to get proper verification, especially in towns which were overrun by the Red Army. Many of the files in Konigsberg and Stettin were destroyed, causing great inconvenience for some and great opportunities for others. It will be interesting to see what appears in Schirdewan's autobiography which is due to appear shortly.
BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital moveTV
FestivalsFive ways to avoid the portable toilets
Jurassic WorldThe results are completely brilliant
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 2 Russian officials ban yoga because it's too much like a religious cult
- 3 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 4 Ginger Pride festival to take place next summer, organisers say 'time of bullying gingers is over'
- 5 Facebook rainbow profile pictures likely being tracked by social network
Glastonbury 2015: The best bits you missed from Lionel Richie and the Dalai Lama to The Libertines' secret set
Glastonbury 2015: The picture of a man crowd surfing in a wheelchair is brilliant, but it wasn't taken at Glastonbury
Fifty Shades of Grey author EL James' Twitter Q&A didn't exactly go as planned
Guillaume Tell gang-rape scene causes uproar at the Royal Opera House
Glastonbury 2015: Shocking scenes of rubbish left strewn across campsite as clean-up begins
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Pentagon accuses Russia of 'playing with fire' over nuclear threats towards Nato
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS