The Social Situation of Former Prisoners of Conscience in the GDR

In past years, research on former prisoners of conscience in the GDR was mainly concerned with their imprisonment, the methods of persecution used against them and the physical and mental torture inflicted upon them. This project is concerned with a new aspect: the social situation of former prisoners of conscience.

The qualitative part of this project will focus on their present social circumstances: their employment, everyday life, and how and why their current situation came about. It is specifically concerned with the personal/subjective views of those interviewed. Time and cirmcumstances of the imprisonment will also be an important aspect. Many former prisoners now live seperated from their partners or families, because the latter also have difficulties coping with the long term consequences of the imprisonment. The former prisoner’s statements will be compared to the statistical data of the HHG-Stiftung.

The quantitative portion will concentrate on the former prisoners' material situations, their biographies in terms of jobs, wages, pensions and compensation, so that the result will be a complete picture of their social situation and the long term consequences of the imprisonment.

The results of the projects will be published in a book.

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