East German school boy Stephan Giering – at the age of 16 escaped alone to the West

Stephan Giering was born in 1973 in Belzig in the state of Brandenburg today and grew up in East Berlin (“capital of the GDR”). His father was a Catholic theologian and his mother came from a strictly communist home. So he got early insights into very different living environments within the GDR. The desire to become a journalist and reporter, he already expressed open as a teenager expression and thus as a publisher of his own school newspaper in conflict with the censorship of the school system. When it was clear that he would not be “delegated” to high school, he decided to flee to the West. In October 1989, he drove in his autumn vacation alone by train to Hungary and fled via Austria to the Federal Republic of Germany. There he lived until the German Unity in the former West German capital Bonn. Today Stephan is back home in reunited Berlin-City of Freedom- as he works as a freelance journalist and offers Communist East Bloc workshops and Berlin Tours.

East German school boy Stephan Giering – at the age of 16 escaped alone to the West

In his eyewitness interviews, Mr. Giering is concerned with the individual educational and experiential horizons of the participants of all age groups. He creates his conversations interactively and multimedia and thus integrates the groups. Here, Mr. Giering uses handouts with excerpts from his GDR textbooks & one of his then self-created school newspaper, which was confiscated by his GDR school.
It is important for him to sensitize the participants to the “gray and nuances” of the everyday GDR experience he experiences, because he does not want to classify people and their individual biographies in a black and white scheme.

Contemporary witnesses Stephan Giering

DDR Zeitzeuge Stephan Giering

Here you will find an exemplary overview of the variety of groups with which Mr. Giering has so far organised events in German and English:

  • School classes & classes from vocational schools from approx. 8 years to approx. 23 years from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the USA, Portugal, France, Denmark, Italy, Ireland & Great Britain and Norway.
  • Welcome classes of students & young adults from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Russian Federation & Africa.
  • Classes with pupils with physical disabilities and hearing impaired & deaf people with simultaneous translation by sign language interpreters and guided tours for pupils with LES challenges in light language.
  • Officers of the German Federal Armed Forces at a management seminar in Berlin
  • Adult individual travellers from India, New Zealand, Spain, Ireland, etc.
  • Government Delegation of the State Council of China (Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office) and also journalists from free media from Hong Kong
  • Employees of international companies with participants from different countries.

Participants says...

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