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LETTERS WITHOUT SIGNATURE

Until 1975, in the weekly radio programme „Letters without Signature“, the BBC read out letters written anonymously by GDR citizens. The show gave numerous East Germans hope – but for many it was their downfall.

Over a period of 20 years until 1975, in a weekly radio programme called „Letters Without Signature“, the BBC read out letters that had been written anonymously by East German citizens. Spurred on by the slogan „Write to us wherever you are, about whatever you want“, the letter-writers on the other side of the Iron Curtain gave vent to their feelings. They wrote about everything: from everyday concerns or views on important political events to harassment from SED officials. The presenter Austin Harrison became a friend and confidant to his East German listeners and was celebrated as a hero. In some cases, he even actively intervened in their fate. For the BBC, the programme was a sign of the freedom of expression, for the Stasi treason. They spent years and an enormous amount of effort trying to eliminate the makers of the English „enemy show“ and track down and severely punish the „renegade“ letter-writers in the GDR. For several decades the letters were kept in a BBC archive and forgotten about. Who were these letter-writers and what were their stories? Who were the makers of the programme? What drove them? We give the writers of these letters the opportunity to speak out again, and we immerse ourselves in 20 years of Cold War history.

History
Length 52’ HD
Film by Claudia Gründer, Christian H. Schulz
Production Schulz & Wendelmann Film
Original Title Briefe ohne Unterschrift
Completion date September 2019