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New Left Review I/231, September-October 1998

Nicholas Jacobs

Trials and Triumphs of East German Publishing

In his autobiography, Walter Janka, who died in 1995, records the following exchange during his interrogation by the infamous Erich Mielke (Minister of State Security in the gdr) after his arrest in 1956 on charges of endangering state security while head of the Aufbau Publishing house. ‘Mielke:“Don’t talk rubbish! You wanted the counter-revolution, like the Hungarians. Petöfi Circle there, Aufbau here! Do you deny it?” Janka:“Would you mind stepping back a little? I don’t like people spitting in my face”.’ [1] Walter Janka, Spuren eines Lebens, Reinbeck 1991, p. 321.

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