Go back

Karl-Wilhelm Fricke

Karl Wilhelm Fricke


  • Fricke, K.W.: Politik und Justiz in SBZ und DDR (1979)
  • Fricke, K.W.: Die DDR-Staatssicherheit (1982)
  • Fricke, K.W.: Opposition und Widerstand in der DDR (1984)
  • Fricke, K.W.: Akten-Einsicht (1995)

Fricke was born in 1929 in Hoym, a small rural town near Aschersleben. At the age of sixteen, he witnessed firsthand the disciplinary actions of the Soviet secret police when they arrested his father, who died in Waldheim in 1952. As a young teacher, Fricke was arrested after a colleague denounced him in the classroom in 1949. However, he was able to escape police custody and fled across the border into the West. In Wilhelmshaven and West Berlin, he studied Political Science and worked as a freelance journalist. His contributions to press and radio informed the public about dissident groups against inhumanity and the Committee of Free Jurists, which dealt mainly with political persecution in the GDR.

With the help of a friend who, unbeknowst to Fricke, was a secret Stasi employee, the Stasi drugged Fricke with knockout drops, kidnapped him, and brought him to East Berlin in April 1955. He was interrogated for fifteen months in the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen remand prison. At a secret trial in July 1956, the Supreme Court sentenced him to four years' imprisonment in Brandenburg-Görden and Bautzen II on charges of "boycott agitation." After his release in 1959, he worked as a freelance journalist and publicist.

Beginning in 1970, he worked as an editor in Cologne. His books about political persecution and resistance in the GDR are highly regarded works. The Stasi monitored him in the Federal Republic until 1989. In the 1990s, he was an expert of two commissions of inquiry of the Bundestag and was recognized for his reconnaissance work on the SED dictatorship with an honorary doctorate from the Free University of Berlin. Fricke has been chairman of the advisory board of the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial for several years.