Havemanns in History

Robert Havemann

Robert Havemann,
Chemist/GDR "Nichtkonformer" (Dissident)

Robert Havemann (1910-1982) was a physical chemist and a very committed socialist who gradually found himself in opposition to the kind of regime that emerged in the German Democratic Republic. He had joined the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) in 1932 and was thus later sentenced to death by the Nazis as a resistance fighter. He survived, however, in the prison at Brandenburg. He was a representative in the People's Assembly (Volkskammer) of the GDR from 1950 until 1963, and until 1964 [was] a professor at the prestigious Humboldt University in Berlin.

By 1956, however, he (and a number of others who had been initially sympathetic to socialism in the East bloc) began to find himself increasingly in opposition to the government's policies, and the government responded with repressive measures. During the remaining years of his life (he died in 1982), he was a leading inspiration for dissident opposition to the East German government. He lived out his last years in a kind of house arrest -- too dangerous to let roam around freely, yet too famous and too well-known as a socialist and anti-Nazi to throw in jail.

-- In an email from John Torpey (Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology at the University of California, Irvine CA USA). Prof. Torpey is the author of Intellectuals, Socialism, and Dissent: The East German Opposition and its Legacy. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995. Pp. 287. (Cloth: ISBN 0-8166-2566-2. Paper: ISBN 0-8166-2567-0.)

Another biography, by Klaus Ruthenberg (Laboratory of Physical Chemistry, Department of Physical Engineering, Coburg University of Applied Sciences, D-96406 Coburg, Germany), is available in the November 1998 issue of Hyle,, An International Journal for the Philosophy of Chemistry, Volume 4, Number 2.

A timeline of the activities of the Chemiker und Politiktheoretiker (chemist and political theoretician) can be seen, in German, here.

The Robert-Havemann-Archiv (Robert Havemann Archive) in Berlin has a large collection of documents concerning the life and times of Robert Havemann. It's in German, but you can enter the URL of an online translator to read it.

Magazine articles by Robert Havemann:

"Dialektiek zonder Dogma. Natuurwetenschappen contra communistische ideologie", Aula, Het Spectrum, 1966. Nederlandse vertaling van "Dialektik ohne Dogma". ["Dialectics without Dogmatism. Natural sciences against communistic ideology."]

Books by Robert Havemann:

Dialektik ohne Dogma (Dialectics without Dogmatism - Natural sciences against communistic ideology), Aula, Het Spectrum, 1966.

Fragen, Antworten, Fragen: Aus der Biographie eines deutschen Marxisten. (Questions, responses, questions: From the Biographie of a German Marxist.) Munich; Piper & Co., 1970. German text.

An Alienated Man, 1973.

Morgen, Die Industriegesellschaft Am Scheideweg: Kritik und reale Utopie. (Tomorrow, the industrial company at the crossroad: Criticism and Real Utopia.) Munich; Piper & Co., 1980. German text. 231 pp. 8 vol.