The Leipziger Zentrale was a meeting space, reading room and exhibition and event space. It was located in Lindenau, a neighborhood for industrial workers during the GDR. The Zentrale began as an individual effort, quickly growing to become a collaborative project and neighborhood fixture.
The Zentrale created a platform for individuals to reflect on their experiences in the GDR and how these have shaped them and continue to be relevant today. Our motto was that each person is the expert on their own experience.
Monthly events offered a chance for exchange between participants on topics connected to GDR history. Themes included “Homosexuality in the GDR”, “The Role of Popmusic in the GDR”, “After the Industry’s Gone…Then What?”, “What Belongs in a GDR Museum?”, “Potluck: Cuisine in the GDR”, etc.Topics could be suggested by the general public, and we would work to support the realization of the person’s idea. Formats included lectures, discussion groups, storytelling circles, comic drawing workshops, Christmas crafting nights, music listening parties, and so on.
During regular open hours, visitors could come by to record an interview, bring in objects to donate to the archive or simply to stop and talk. There was always a conscious effort to create a sense of hospitality that put people at ease even when discussing contentious subjects.
A self-published newspaper documented Das Fundbuero’s activities. Articles were written by participants and event attendees. The newspapers were distributed throughout Leipzig and beyond at libraries and shops. Print costs were funded by donations from neighborhood businesses.