Sexism in stasi victims’ memorial: director is dismissed

Sexism in stasi victims' memorial: director is dismissed

Director hubertus knabe loses his post in the affair of sexual harassment of women at the stasi victims memorial in berlin-hohenschonhausen. Knabe is duly informed, at the same time he is released from work for the time being.

This was announced by the berlin senate cultural administration. "The foundation council has no confidence that dr. Knabe will initiate the urgently needed cultural change at the foundation, let alone be able to credibly represent such a change," was the reason given in a press release issued by the council. He had passed the resolution unanimously. Knabe could not initially be reached for comment. On monday he had said: "if there is criticism, it should be put on the table"."Knabe has been director of the memorial since 2001.

Knabe’s deputy is also to go. The deputy director will be "duly informed as soon as possible and at the latest permissible date". He had already been suspended on monday by knabe because of the accusations with immediate effect.

In a recently published letter to the state minister for culture, monika grutters (CDU), and berlin’s senator for culture, klaus lederer, several former female employees, volunteers and interns had accused "the management" of sexist behavior. They formulated accusations of "frightening regularity of overreaching behavior patterns".

In the june letter, the women described verbal abuse of a sexual nature, "reports of private activities such as whorehouses and swingers’ clubs," "close, almost intimate physical contact and touching such as stroking the arms, close embraces," intrusive invitations, late-night text messages and bullying.

The deputy director in particular was the focus of the accusations. He could not be reached for a statement so far. In an earlier statement, however, the memorial had said that his lawyer had admitted misconduct and lack of sensitivity. The memorial referred to RBB information. At the same time, it was emphasized that the faulty behavior had been stopped after the employee had been approached by the director of the memorial a good two years ago.

The berlin-hohenschonhausen memorial had emerged from the former central investigation prison of the gdr state security. It is intended as a reminder of political willfulness and injustice. The facility is financed by the federal and state governments.

The foundation council consists of chairman lederer and one representative each from grutters, the senate judicial administration, the state of saxony-anhalt and a representative from brandenburg.


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