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1968 at the Institute for East European Studies

1968 was a year of change in many respects: the protests against the Vietnam War, the anti-authoritarian movement, democratic awakening in the East, the suppression of the Prague Spring… Students from Berlin were particularly active – and the Institute for East European Studies was no exception. While it was not as much at the centre of the protests as the neighbouring Otto Suhr Institute for Political Science, two central protagonists of the student movement, namely Gretchen Dutschke-Klotz and Rudi Dutschke, studied at the IEES. Rudi Dutschke was also a student assistant at the institute’s sociology department. From 1967 to 1969, the extra-parliamentary opposition and the student university alliances repeatedly organised strikes at Berlin universities – for instance, against the introduction of tuition fees, for a greater say on the part of students and for the politicisation of teaching. IEES students also went on strike on 17 January 1969 and prevented the institute’s director, Werner Philipp, from holding his lectures, accusing the institute of living in “peaceful symbiosis with the secret services”. Strikes continued in the following weeks. In a notice, some employees of the institute expressed concern that the allegation of co-operation with the secret service could make it difficult for them to travel abroad to Soviet countries.