This chapter introduces the other group of East German reformers, those affiliated with the human rights organizations (HROs). Like the SED reformers, they were a numerically small and socially homogeneous group. For the most part, they were young, and almost all had at one point in their short lives had a run-in with the GDR’s ubiquitous secret police, the Stasi. Most found employment in church-related jobs or in subordinate positions in the GDR’s health services.

As for the HROs’ ideas, they too were vague and contradictory. Their vision of the “third way” between capitalism and neo-Stalinism envisioned a society in which the GDR’s citizens “could find themselves” free of Stasi and SED interference in their lives.


German Democratic Republic Public Ownership Democratic Socialism Free Market Economy Parliamentary Democracy 
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  1. [1]
    Pollack, Protest, pp. 64 and 139–40; and Christof Geisel, Auf der Suche nach einem dritten Weg: Das politische Selbstverständnis der DDR-Opposition in den 80er Jahren (Berlin, 2005), pp. 14–15.Google Scholar
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    Hagen Findeis et al., eds, Die Entzauberung des Politischen: Was ist aus den politischen alternativen Gruppen der DDR geworden? (Leipzig, 1994), pp. 58–59.Google Scholar
  3. See also Geisel, 3. Weg, pp. 194ff; and Enquête-Kommission des Deutschen Bundestages, ed., Aufarbeitung von Geschichte und Folgen der SED-Diktatur in Deutschland (Baden-Baden, 1995), VII: 246ff.Google Scholar
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    Bärbel Bohley, Englishes Tagebuch 1988, in Irene Kukutz ed. (Berlin, 2011), pp. 29 and 62 (5 February and 3 March 1988);Google Scholar
  5. Michel Aymerich, “Anfang einer Kapitulation?” in: Siegfried Prokop, Die kurze Zeit der Utopie: Die “zweite DDR” im vergessenen Jahr 1998/90 (Berlin, 1994), pp. 22–42.Google Scholar
  6. See also Ernst Elitz, Sie waren Dabei: Ostdeutsche Profile von Bärbel Bohley zu Lothar de Maizière (Stuttgart, 1991), pp. 150ff;Google Scholar
  7. Konrad Weiss, “Was macht ihr, wenn ihr die Macht habt?” in: Jesse, Revolution, pp. 48–49; Rochus, Utopie, pp. 124–26;Google Scholar
  8. Knabe, Aufbruch, pp. 201–03; and Carola Wuttke and Berndt Niedbalski, eds, Parteien und politische Bewegungen im letzten Jahr der DDR (Berlin, 1991), pp. 101ff.Google Scholar

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© Dietrich Orlow 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dietrich Orlow
    • 1
  1. 1.Boston UniversityUSA

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