Mason’s University Libraries’ Special Collections & Archives recently acquired a collection of more than 7,500 posters and 3,400 photographs from the former German Democratic Republic (GDR), more commonly known as East Germany.
Mason is the only university in North or South America to house such a large collection of cultural and political GDR posters, and the collection arrives at an important time in Germany’s history. The country will mark the 20th anniversary of the reunification of East and West Germany in October 2010.
The posters and photographs are divided into two groups. The first group documents East German film, theater, opera, visual art, politics, festivals, sports and recreation from the late 1950s through 1990.
The second collection includes posters relating to political persons, events and organizations from the former GDR from 1949 to 1990. The photographs primarily relate to the Berlin Wall, spanning the time from its construction through its demolition in 1989.
Through the integration of images and words, the posters reveal the oppressive conditions and hidden worlds of the East German playwrights, film directors, artists and rebellious politicians.
“This collection can be used in so many different ways by a variety of scholars and researchers who study general history, art history, military history, politics and the graphic arts,” says Marion Deshmukh, associate professor of history and art history.
“Most importantly, these posters help us understand how the remnants of this fallen regime are still present today as the two parts of Germany continue to integrate with one another.”
For more information about the collection, click here.