The End of the Faculty for Forest Economy Eberswalde - 1963

// 11th. Eberswalde Film Festival ("Heimatfenster")

Author & Director:
Burghard Ciesla | Daniel Ast


Daniel Ast

astfilm productions | Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development

In August 1962, the SED-Leadership gave the order to close the Faculty for Forest Economy Eberswalde of the Humboldt University. On September 1st, ended the 130 years long tradition of the worldwide recognized academic education in the "forest city". It was the "final chord", the end for a place with an excellent reputation and such a long lasting tradition in forestal teachings and research. Officially those steps were taken to be able to reform the system of higher education due to concentration and simplification. But the economic arguments, that were given by those on top to justify the close-down, they were nothing more than alibis. One of the crucial accusations was: "... because of missing political education."

In the midst of the 50th, the faculty got into the intrigues of the Cold War. There were supposed and real agents, enemies of the party, informants, schemes and defamations. Hundreds of reports by the Stasi. Students, employees and professors were observed, even by colleagues. Some had to face their removal from the register of students, arrest and condemnation. Many, as long as it was still possible, escaped into the West. After the rise of the Berlin Wall, a dramatic change took place. At a meeting of the central committee in 1962, presided by Erich Honecker, the closure of the faculty was decided.

In this documentary former students and professors for the first time tell of their stories and their "alma mater". They talk about the high spirit of a new start after the 2nd World War, their hopes, the daily student's life, the starting torments, and the new political ideology that applied constant pressure. Their personal stories document the close-down of the faculty. The research for the film disclosed many unknown documents, that partly shade a new light on the events that took place. Only past 1990, the forestal teachings and with it the traditions were able to return to Eberswalde. Today, the lecture halls are well filled, around 2000 Students are again part of the daily life in the city.

The documentation "Documenting a Close-Down" was produced on assignment for, and in cooperation with the Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development, within the framework of the commemoration of the 50th memorial day of the closure of the faculty, and the conference on October 22nd 2013 "... because of missing political education".