Teaching the Archive: Student project in the East German Studies Archive 2018-19


Thanks to the University of Reading’s Teaching and Learning Development fund, I worked all year at the Archive searching its holdings for rare documents and objects in order to open a new door into East German politics and culture for university students and secondary school pupils of German, History, Politics, Design or Typography. My findings are now available on this website!

Despite a lot of fascinating books, brochures, and magazines, my favourite object was the pin of the Freie Deutsche Jugend (FDJ)/Free German Youth (founded 1946), the only officially recognised and supported youth organisation in East Germany; it stood under the control of the GDR’s ruling party, the Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands (SED)/Socialist Unity Party. The pin shows a bright yellow sun rising into a blue sky – a symbol of hope as a ‘new day is breaking’ after war and disaster. From the beginning, the Communists in the eastern part of Germany tried to mobilise young people for their socialist project.

Thank you again for letting me take part in the archiving project this year; I’ve really enjoyed it and it has inspired me to work on it more in my year abroad. I hope I can continue with it in final year.


Emily Woodall




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