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Greeks in the GDR - An Unexplored Chapter

Conference on the Relations between the GDR and Greece: April 22 and 23 in the Representation of the Free State of Saxony to the German Federal Government in Berlin

№ 094/2015 from Apr 13, 2015

The Center for Modern Greece (CeMoG) at Freie Universität Berlin is holding a conference on April 22 and 23, 2015, that will address "German-Greek relations in the East German State Socialism, 1949-1989." Experts will discuss the history of the so-called GDR-Greeks, Greek citizens who found themselves in the GDR in the aftermath of the civil war in their homeland in 1949. The aim of the conference is to explore this aspect of German-Greek relations, which up to now has been largely ignored. The conference participants will also address the diverse political, economic, and scientific aspects of the relationship between the two countries. The welcoming address will be given by Panayotis Kalogeropoulos, the Greek ambassador in Berlin. The event will take place in the Representation of the Free State of Saxony to the German Federal Government. It is public, and admission is free. Registration is requested at:

In 1949 and 1950, out of solidarity with individuals persecuted for their leftist political leanings during the Greek Civil War, the German Democratic Republic (GDR) already took in about 1,100 children and young people and their adult companions. Shortly thereafter, the GDR welcomed Greek families and children from other socialist countries like Romania, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia, where they had first found refuge. After the end of the military dictatorship in 1974, the legalized Communist Party of Greece provided scholarships for students who wanted to study in the GDR.

The conference speakers will discuss topics such as the relationship of the GDR-Greeks to the SED state, the connections of the SED to the communist and socialist parties of Greece, the diplomatic, cultural, and economic relations in the triangle Greece – German Democratic Republic – Federal Republic of Germany, and the role of the Greek press and culture in exile in the GDR.

Time and Location

  • Wednesday, April 22 and Thursday, April 23, 2015, both days starting at 1:00 p.m.
  • Representation of the Free State of Saxony to the German Federal Government, Brüderstraße 11/12, 10178 Berlin
  • The meeting is open to the public, and admission is free. The conference language is German. Registration is requested at:

Further Information

Dr. Konstantinos Kosmas, Center for Modern Greece, Freie Universität Berlin,
Tel.: +49 30 838-58073, Email:

Link to the Conference Program

Programm der Tagung "Deutsch-griechische Beziehungen im ostdeutschen Staatssozialismus 1949-1989"