Schriftstellerverband der DDR (VDS - Author's Association of the GDR)
The Schriftstellerverband of the GDR was founded in 1950 as cultural association for the democratic renewal of Germany. Its first chairman (chairwoman) was Anna Seghers (1952-1978), followed by Hermann Kant (1978 until his resignation in 1990) and Rainer Kirsch (until the dissolution of the association on 31/12/1990).
According to the statues, the association was "the social organisation of the authors of the GDR, who are active joint creators of the developed socialist society through their creative work." The members were obliged to declare themselves followers of "socialist realism" and the "leading role of the working class and its party in the cultural politics".
Free-lance authors could only receive a tax number by becoming members. Factually this meant that one could only become an author by joining the association. The association functioned as a disciplinary and care institution. On the one hand internal association events offered opportunities for further education and for exchange of ideas the like of which were not possible in public. On the other hand it was possible to isolate and to humiliate authors by means of threats, warnings and exclusion proceedings, right down to the possibility of withdrawing their chance of publishing their work. During the changeover the association attempted in vain to find its place in the democratic renewal process of the GDR. After obtaining the declaration of approval, the association dissolved at the end of 1990.