The Peter Sodann Library of East German Books is Now Open

Gestaltung des Lebens und sozialistische Erziehung im Kindergarten

After the collapse of East Germany, the question arose of what to do with all those East German books. East Germany had many publishing houses and a quite well-developed educational system. Nevertheless, a typical East German biography of Bismarck, say, was unlikely to be competitive with its West German (or non-socialist) counterpart. Not to mention the hundreds of university coursebooks on 'socialist' small-business management, town planning, early-childhood education, etc. Some of these books made their way to used booksellers, where I eagerly bought as many as I could, as I find them fascinating. Others, however, were unceremoniously dumped into the garbage or left to molder in storage.

Then came Peter Sodann, a German actor and theater director who grew up in East Germany. He started collecting these books to preserve a part of German history and culture. The 'Peter Sodann' library is now open in the small town of Staucha, in Saxony. It even has an online catalog, which is quite extensive. Apparently much of the cost of the library is covered by donations and by volunteer catalogers. Many of the books, the website states, remain in banana crates, waiting to be catalogged.

Given my fascination with East Germany, I will be planning a pilgrimage there shortly, and will report…

3 thoughts on “The Peter Sodann Library of East German Books is Now Open

  1. Dear Andrew,
    this is not commenting on your entry. I have just a question: Since quite a while the appearance of your website is a bit “deformed” – at least on my computer, meaning: the text runs all over the page of the site instead of the small columne of before. Is this due to a fault at my computer (although I think my software (Safari) is quite up to date) or did you change anything …?
    Thanks for your help,


  2. @Heiko — Sorry for that. Switched to a full-screen format to allow bigger picture and video embeds. Typepad doesn’t allow (at least easily) for an intermediate setting, so I’m afraid there’s not much I can do.


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