The Umwelt-Bibliothek [Environmental Library] opened in the basement of the Chuch of Zion [Zionskirche] in East Berlin on September 2, 1986. The space had been made available by Pastor Hans Simon. An independent information center for members of the opposition, the Environmental Library was modeled on Poland’s “Flying University,” an underground educational organization that organized open lectures and discussions in fields in which public discussion was hampered by propaganda, censorship, repression, and misinformation. The Umwelt-Bibliothek was founded by Wolfgang Rüddenklau (seen below), Carlo Jordan, and Christian Halbrock, among others. Shortly after the library opened, it began publishing its own magazine, which eventually became the most widely distributed underground publication in the GDR. Initially called Umwelt-Bibliothek [Environmental Library], the magazine was distributed under the title Umweltblätter [Environmental Pamphlets] beginning in April 1987. Circulation rose from 150–200 copies in the fall of 1986 to approximately 2,000 in 1989. In this photo, Wolfgang Rüddenklau is shown sorting a new edition of Umweltblätter in December 1987.

Umweltblätter [Environmental Pamphlets] (1987)


Source: Photographer: Ann-Christine Jansson. Available from the Archive of the Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft or from the photographer.

© Ann-Christine Jansson