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The Legacy of 1968 in U.S.-European Perspective

Gretchen Dutschke-Klotz invited by FU-BEST program of Freie Universität Berlin to speak in Berlin on November 28

№ 318/2018 from Nov 14, 2018

On November 28, Gretchen Dutschke-Klotz (b. 1942), the widow of a prominent spokesperson for the Berlin student movement of the 1960s, Rudi Dutschke, will speak at Freie Universität at the invitation of the Berlin European Studies Program (FU-BEST) . In an English-language presentation entitled “The Legacy of 1968 in U.S.-European Perspective,” she will recount her memories of the events of 1968 and their significance for today. Her presentation will be the first in a lecture series “Berlin Eyewitnesses” that is offered by the FU-BEST program and is open to the public; admission is free. Each semester an individual will be invited to speak about events and milestones that shaped Berlin in the 20th century. The invited person could be an eyewitness, an observer, or a victim of injustice. The lecture will be held on the Lankwitz Campus of Freie Universität.

Gretchen Dutschke-Klotz is an American writer and a former student activist. In 1964 she traveled to Antwerp as a passenger on a cargo ship. That same year she moved to Munich to pursue German language training at the Goethe-Institut, and while visiting West Berlin during the summer of that year, she met Rudi Dutschke. They got married in 1966. Following an assassination attempt on Rudi Dutschke in April 1968, Gretchen Dutschke-Klotz cared intensively for her husband for many months, helping him to redevelop the language center in his brain and helping him to learn to speak again. Rudi Dutschke died in 1979 from brain damage sustained in the assassination attempt, and Gretchen Dutschke-Klotz re-located to the U.S. in 1985. In 2010 she returned to Berlin, where she currently resides. As the partner of SDS student leader Rudi Dutschke, Gretchen Dutschke-Klotz campaigned strongly for gender equality during the years of the student movement. The idea of Kommune I, the first politically motivated commune in Germany, as a collective, non-alienated community for working and living together, can be attributed to her initiative.

Gretchen Dutschke-Klotz is the author of a detailed biography of Rudi Dutschke Wir hatten ein barbarisches, schönes Leben (We had a barbaric, beautiful life; 1996). In the book, she describes her husband’s background and private circumstances as well as his political development. In 2003 she published Rudi Dutschke’s diaries, which he kept from 1963 until his death on December 24, 1979. Based on the diaries and books by Gretchen Dutschke-Klotz about her husband, a documentary/fictional film Dutschke was produced in 2009. In the movie, Dutschke’s widow is played by the British-Irish actress Emily Cox; Gretchen Dutschke-Klotz herself appears in some interview passages. In her new book 1968 – Worauf wir stolz sein dürfen (2018) [What we can be proud of], she looks back on her life and the 1968 movement.

The Berlin European Studies Program was founded in 2005. Each year more than 300 students enroll. The target group is international students and universities, especially in North America, and study abroad providers. FU-BEST offers classes in German as a foreign language in combination with various subjects taught mainly in English. In addition to the academic program, FU-BEST includes a cultural program and excursions. Interested students can pursue internships after the Spring semester and volunteer work during the semesters.

Time and Location of the Lecture “The Legacy of 1968 in U.S.-European Perspective”

  • Lankwitz Campus, Freie Universität Berlin, Malteserstraße 74–100, Building G, Room G202
  • Wednesday, November 28, 2018, 7:30 p.m.

Further Information


Dr. Dirk Verheyen, FU-BEST Program, Tel.: +49 30 838-56582, Email: dirk.verheyen@fu-berlin.de, Homepage: www.fu-berlin.de/en/sites/fubest