life stories

remembered... recounted... recorded!

Browse through life stories from the biography Publishers´s programme – only through those, of course, who were approved for publishing. A lot of biographies were designed and printed for family and friends only and are therefore not on display.

All books (apart from those marked “out of print”) can be ordered in any bookshop, online bookshop or directly at the publishing house via email. Shipping to Germany is free, shipping to the US is 5.00 $.

On display besides many intriguing stories: A lot of experience by now…

Ausreisezeit. Abschied von der DDR.

“I am never returning to the GDR!” Bewildered Inge Krausbeck receives her husband’s sudden announcement through the telephone that he will not be returning home from visiting his family in West Germany in February 1988 – she also has no immediate answer to his question: “Will you follow me?” Inge Krausbeck likes living in the GDR. As she files an application for departure she primarily wants to keep the family together. Three denied applications, twenty months and numerous harassments later the doctor is beginning to see her home country in a very different light and now only sees one solution: The West German Embassy in Prague. It is the summer of ’89… Inge Krausbeck’s memories, excerpts from her Stasi files and letters from family members have formed “Abschied von der DDR (Goodbye to the GDR)” vividly and full of suspense.

Inge Krausbeck: Ausreisezeit. Abschied von der DDR.
ISBN: 978-3-937772-15-8, paperback 172 pages, 14,90 Euro

“We tried squeezing through the huge crowd of people towards the issuing authority. All of a sudden nothing moved anymore. We were told that everything would be handled at a later point, now Genscher was up! The meaning of these words only found their gravity in hindsight. Right now I was thirsty and my feet were sore. It must have been 6.30pm by this time and dusk was setting in. A calm had swept across the crowd and all were waiting patiently. There was a microphone attached to the balcony of the embassy, spotlights had been set up and people were coming and going. After almost an hour it was finally time: Foreign Minister Genscher stepped out onto the balcony and an incredible rejoice rang out from the crowd. Then, his first words: “Dear fellow countrymen, I stand here before you today, in order to inform you that your departure…” It was not even possible to hear any more, all was drowned in cries of joy and elation. People were rejoicing and falling into each other’s arms, tears were flowing. It was one of the most moving moments in my life: Our departure had finally been granted!

Letters, almost forgotten, lay amongst the documents as Inge Krausbeck pulls her Stasi files from her letterbox in 2002 – the past has caught up with her. 348 pages of copies of letters, transcripts, protocols and communications. Publisher Ruth Damwerth from Münster was intrigued. “Abschied von der DDR” is a vivid and suspense-ridden combination of excerpts of Inge Krausbeck’s Stasi files, letters from family members and her own recount.

Altmarkzeitung, 10.28.2009, on “Inge Krausbeck: Ausreisezeit. Abschied von der DDR“

Tagebuch, geführet seit dem 20ten Juli 1800 nebst Verzeichnis aller mitgemachten Gefechte, Treffen und Schlachten.

“I, Franz Seraph Bedall, with the authorization and concurrence of my dear parents enlisted for service as a volunteer into the Royal Bavarian Infantry Lifeguards Regiment on July 20th 1800, at the age of 19, and was stationed at Amberg in the Upper Palatinate.” These are the opening lines of the war diary that not only captivates the reader due to its age, but also due to its dense and meticulous account. Aside from military campaigns, battles and combat actions that have imprinted in the European memory, from Napoleon’s expedition against Russia in 1812 to the suppression of the March agitation of 1848, Franz Seraph Bedall’s diary also documents the daily life of a regular soldier and his strive for honors and advancement and comradery. The diary’s text is added to by images of medals, printed facsimile of present-day newspaper articles and pages of the diary itself as well as illustrations of poems paying homage to his officer corps. Franz Seraph Bedall manages to work his way up from a regular officer to a highly decorated major general. He personally meets Napoleon and dines with his most “supreme patron” King Max II at Nymphenburg. His records are not only an impressive read, but a very special historical document.

Bedall, Franz-Seraph: Diary, recorded since 20th July 1800 along with list of all combat, meetings and battles participated in.
ISBN: 978-3-937772-16-5, Hardcover, 248 pages with numerous images and family tree, 18,90 Euro

“The confusion knew no limits, the army dissolved and I find no words to describe the misery of the drawback. Without rest, plagued by frost and hunger, granted lodgings by no one, every single one was left to themselves. Villages were abandoned, blight and devastation everywhere and we often gathered around burning houses to escape death from exposure. In this desolate state we arrived at the Neman River during the night of December 10th. Both feet were frozen, I had no footwear anymore, and in order to continue my journey I had to wrap them in coarse canvas, tie them with cord and stagger through the deepest of snow.”

Besondere Vorkommnisse: Keine. Erinnerungen eines Lehrers in der DDR.

“…eternal grouch and pessimist, adopting an oppositional stance through more or less subversive expressions to almost any problem…” So the assessment of a teacher colleague, who was watching him as a Stasi informant. It was quite an accurate description of the author’s attitude towards the GDR. As a young adult Hans-Dieter Waltz had been strongly influenced by the war and by National Socialism, that he had had to participate in actively as a ninth grade student. His hope to finally live in a free country was destroyed by the developments in East Germany. In his account Waltz relives the time of National Socialism and the GDR and allows the reader an insight into daily life and the development of schooling in the GDR. Even though his age was setting him limits, post-reunification the PhD chemist was active in various ways in the organization of the new democratic order on a municipal level. 2001 he was honored with a First Class Federal Cross of Merit for his lifetime achievement.

Waltz, Hans-Dieter: Besondere Vorkommnisse: Keine. Erinnerungen eines Lehrers in der DDR.
ISBN 978-3-937772-18-9, Paperback, 280 pages, 24,90 Euro

“Making plans turned out to be a similar mania as the dreadful state of conferences had already proven to be. There was sitting upon sitting – no end in sight. The daily work affairs, of course, needed to be sorted during the weekly team conferences. Most important things, especially those of the most essential nature (and which were not of the most essential nature?), were dealt with in these “pedagogical councils” that we had the joy of looking forward to each six to eight weeks. This is where the headmaster had the thoroughly taken advantage of opportunity to lay out the state of affairs of the students’, teachers’ and individual classrooms’ political and ideological development, to make (mandatory) suggestions relating to labor optimization and to deal out copious amounts of criticism about sub-standardly functioning colleagues. Rarely did anyone emerge unscathed. (…) Many a problem could only be solved with all the colleagues of an individual grade level involved, so, about three to four times a year a grade conference (Stufenkonferenz) was called. If one happened to teach across multiple grade levels, this meant an additional ten to twelve conferences. Each school had expert roundtables (Fachzirkel) relating to the different subjects that were taught. All teachers had to be a part of the roundtable relating to the subject they taught in order to coordinate the matters of the subject and these roundtables met every four weeks. As everyone taught multiple subjects this was adding another eight “conferences” per year. As roundtables were also held on district level and each teacher was assigned to one or more this meant another five to six annual sessions to look forward to. The most important tool kit and equipment was imparted at the so called “Parteilehrjahr” (regular “guidance and coaching” by the Socialist Unity Party) that needed to be visited every four weeks. In addition, this particular conference called for written preparation. (…) And of course other organizations also insisted upon their right to congregate, for example the school group of the German Soviet Friendship Alliance (DSF - Deutsch-Sowjetische Freundschaft), as who in their right mind would not have friendship with Soviet persons at the top of the list of their heart’s priorities and want to communicate about it? (…) And as a teacher could barely function in relation to their own subjects without being instructed such conferences that instructed on being instructed were also included…”

Einwurf. Ein Sendenhorster erzählt Geschichte(n)

Heinz Höne was born in Sendenhorst above his parents’ colonial goods store on the first day of the year 1929. He so vividly immerses the reader into his childhood and adolescence, the atmosphere of days long gone, that we almost feel we can hear the clacking of wooden shoes on cobblestones and the cries of children as they play rough and tumble. Urged by his teacher the fourteen-year-old changed schools and went to “Lehrerbildungsanstalt Wadersloh”, a National Socialist elite school, from which he enlisted into the Wehrmacht with all his school comrades in 1944. His experiences both at this school and during the war turn him into a unique witness. 

After this episode soccer aids his return to the local community and into a “normal life”. He visits a high school from Münster temporarily set up in Sendenhorst, due to the severe bombings in the city, and earns his school fees working as a construction laborer, in a brick factory and peddling moonshine. 1952 he became the Munsterian Soccer Champion with his soccer club Sendenhorst. 

His ambition is not weakened by sport but propelled him, now father to three children, to leave the security of his civil servant’s job and pursue self-employment. 

Höne, Heinz: Einwurf. Ein Sendenhorster erzählt Geschichte(n).
ISBN 978-3-937772-26-4, paperback, 174 pages, 14,90 EUR

“To grow up in a house with a store is something quite special. When I was a young boy the salesroom with all its smells, conversations and my mother behind the counter exuded a huge gravitational pull. I almost preferred it though when it was empty and no one was minding the lolly jars, all bright and colorful and placed neatly waiting for the next customer…”

Subtly and continuously Ruth Damwerth contextualizes Heinz Hönes memories. The reader is given a unique insight into the perfidious strategies of the Nazis…

Westfälische Nachrichten, 01.25.2014, on “Einwurf. Ein Sendenhorster erzählt Geschichte(n)“

Zeit und Wandel Bewegtes Leben in bewegter Zeit

Ingrid Guntenhöners life story shines more than just a spotlight on the German history of the past century. Influenced by her mother’s attitude and involvement with the “NS-Frauenschaft (a NS women’s alliance) in order to make faster headway, Ingrid, born in 1929, visited Napola Kolmarberg one of the Nazis very rare elite schools for girls. At the end of the war she must completely change her way of thinking. Whilst she witnesses the German economic miracle and shapes it moving up from a simple office clerk position to becoming a successful businesswoman, the mother of two and grandmother of three still notices that during every phase of her life she has her very personal conflict with the question: “What is actually true?”

Guntenhöner, Ingrid: Zeit und Wandel. Bewegtes Leben in bewegter Zeit.
ISBN: 978-3-937772-27-1, paperback, 172 pages, multiple images of historical records, 14,90 Euro

“I cannot recall when exactly it was that my mother arrived home from one of the “Frauenschaft” meetings completely electrified. It must have been spring or early summer of 1941, I was twelve then. She had been to a presentation on the construction of a new school for girls in Luxembourg. “That’s where we’ll enroll you!”, she had claimed enthusiastically. “If you pass the entrance examination you will have great professional prospects.” She went on gushing about this school, it was going to be in a castle and the students would be allowed to travel abroad – it sounded more like a fairytale to me than school…”

As a child Ingrid Guntenhöner had black hair. In the school’s archive she was listed as ‘dark blonde’: an interpretation the Nazis preferred. The now 85-year-old attended school at Napola Kolmarberg, one of the most prestigious Nazi elite schools for girls. German studies specialist Ruth Damwerth has written down her story. It is the first biography of a female Napola student.

Westfälische Nachrichten, 04.16.2015, on “Zeit und Wandel“