Dagmar Meier-Barkhausen / Tina Österreich (Ps.)

Rastede, Niedersachsen
* 1944

There may be more beautiful times, but this one is ours. (Jean Paul Sartre)

Biografie auf Deutsch
  • politische Haft
  • Flucht/Fluchthilfe
  • Freikauf
  • Bildung/Erziehung
  • Englisch

Biographical information

1944 Born in Bautzen
1962 Abitur
1964–1968 Teacher training in Leipzig and Altenburg (via correspondence courses)
1964–1974 Employment as teacher and educator at the 11th secondary school in Leipzig
1974 Sentenced to 16 months in prison on charges of ‘preparing to escape the republic’
1974–1975 Incarceration at the penal labour camp in Dessau-Wolfen
1975 Release purchased by the West German government
1977 First book published under the pseudonym ‘Tina Österreich’
1979 Cultural work scholarship from the ‘Märkische Kulturkonferenz’
1979–2000 Employment as a teacher at a vocational school in the Wesermarsch area in Lower Saxony
1990 Art Prize of the German Democratic Republic
1995 Shortlisted for the ‘Deutscher Kurzgeschichtenpreis’ (German Prize for Short Stories); contribution to various anthologies and TV productions; numerous reviews for Die Welt and Rheinischer Merkur
2002–2009 Spent most of her time in Canada
2010–2018 Residing in Bad Zwischenahn and Rastede
2018 Residing in Canada
2019 Return to Germany
Currently Residing in Rastede


Born in Bautzen, Dagmar Meier-Barkhausen was sentenced to 16 months in prison for ‘preparing to escape the republic’ in 1974. The West German government purchased her release after one year in a penal labour camp in Dessau. In 1977, she published her first book under her pseudonym ‘Tina Österreich’. In her novel, Ich war RF’ (‘I Was a Fugitive of the Republic’) she describes her arrest, trial, conviction and everyday life in the GDR’s women’s prisons. Her second book, Gleichheit, Gleichheit über alles (‘Equality, Equality über alles’), contains short prose on life in the GDR. The topic of her third book, Luftwurzeln, is resettlement in West Germany. She frequently gave lectures and presentations on behalf of the Federal Ministry of All-German Affairs and the Federal Ministry of Intra-German Relations as well as for different organisations, parties and schools until 1997. She had set herself to reporting on these very matters. She describes the day of reunification as one of the greatest in her life.