Jump directly to the page contents


As a convinced socialist, the renowned GDR writer Stefan Heym repeatedly clashed with the state leadership and was one of the first signatories of the Biermann petition in 1976. In 1979, without the approval of the GDR Ministry of Culture, he published his novel Collin with the West German publishing house Bertelsmann Verlag, whose two-part television adaptation ran in prime time on ARD in December 1981. With Curd Jürgens and Hans-Christian Blech, two old stars of all-German film history were engaged for the leading roles. They play the former Spain fighters Hans Collin and Wilhelm Urack, who engage in an irreconcilable exchange of blows from their hospital beds in a celebrity clinic. Heym had created the character of Urack with clear references to the incumbent Stasi minister Erich Mielke, who was involved in Stalinist "purges" by the Soviet secret service during the Spanish Civil War. Mielke's retaliation was not long in coming. Heym was charged with "foreign currency offences" and ordered to be expelled from the GDR writers' association. (cl)