Dr. Peter Hampe

Berlin, Berlin
* 1944

‘Have the courage to use your own reason’ (Immanuel Kant)

Biografie auf Deutsch
  • politische Haft
  • Flucht/Fluchthilfe
  • Ausreise/Ausbürgerung
  • Alltagserfahrungen
  • Englisch

Biographical information

1944 Born in Magdeburg
1963 Abitur
1963-1964 Job as a labourer
1964-1965 Pedagogy studies in Potsdam
1965-1967 Political detention and university ban; sham purchase of freedom
1967-1968 Job as a locksmith assistant in heavy machinery construction in Magdeburg
1968-1971 Steel construction fitter while attending evening classes to become a chemical engineer
1971-1978 Engineer at the VEB (‘people’s owned enterprise’) Minol, Magdeburg, while taking correspondence courses at the Martin Luther University in Halle/Wittenberg
1978-1984 Head of various laboratories, awarded scientific doctorate
1984-1985 Application to leave the GDR
1985-1997 Employment as graduate chemist at the former Schering AG in Berlin
2005 Retirement


Due to an escape attempt and a reader’s letter to the editor of RIAS (Broadcasting Service in the American Sector) in West Berlin, the high military court in Neubrandenburg sentenced me to one-and-a-half years of imprisonment. In addition to my sentence on charges of subversive agitation and ‘attempted passport fraud’, I was issued a lifelong ban from university studies. The Stasi threatened to refer me to a penal labour camp. In May 1967 I was released back into the GDR, learning about the alleged exchange involving my person only years later. The West German government believed to have purchased my release and shortened my sentence, but in truth I had simply already served my time. Thanks to the help of some generous GDR citizens, I was able to attend evening school courses to move up from a worker and earn my PhD in chemistry. Even when my family and I were finally allowed to exit the country in 1985, this was only possible after a year-long period of waiting and urging on our behalf by then-Austrian chancellor Dr. Fred Sinowatz. I published my memoirs in the book Die DDR - mein Absurdistan, Innenansichten und Dokumente aus einem Überwachungsstaat (‘The GDR – my own Absurdistan. An Inside View and Documents from a Police State’).


"Ein Leben in der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik" - Unterrichtsmaterialien in digitaler und gedruckter Form auf school-scout.de. Die Arbeitsblätter für den Schulunterricht basieren auf dem Buch von Peter Hampe. Seine Berichte werden mit Arbeitsaufträgen an die Schülerinnen und Schüler ergänzt. Wolfgang Wertenbroch, 2014, 14,49€