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uni'alumni 2013_ENG

ALUMNI ANSWER 1968: Gisela Becker Photo: 1967 Stealing a Name from the NPD “In the spring of 1968 there were rumors that the far-right NPD (National Democratic Party of Germany) planned to found a national demo- cratic student league with the initials NHB at our university. Many students were alarmed immediately. We met in the Old University and decided to found an NHB ourselves, but with dif- ferent content. We drew up a charter, elected officers, did everything you need to do when formally founding an association. The next morning we reg- istered the NHB at the university and in the register of associations at the district court. On the evening of the same day, the NPD tried to register its own association – and failed because the name was already taken. As a result, the NPD didn’t manage to gain a foothold at the University of Freiburg.” Franz-Karl Opitz Photo: 1968 Ammunition for the Wall Newspaper “We had learned not to ask questions, to work hard, and to keep out of mis- chief. We had learned that there were 60-year-olds who used to be Nazis but had then become good citizens after all, nice neighbors and good buddies for dad’s card nights. But then: Critical theory! Marxism! Question the tradi- tional teaching methods! Demand your own, preferably sociologically based, topics in literature courses! We had a professor who insisted on interpreting works exclusively on their own terms, without reference to anything outside of the text. The inevitable result: heat- ed discussions in lecture hall 1001, an agitated professor who canceled all future class meetings because he felt threatened. We didn’t receive a course certificate for the seminar, but we did get some nice ammunition for the wall newspaper of the English students’ action group.” Bruno Zimmermann Photo: 2011 The Path to Reform “A key experience for me in those years was the continuous disruption of lectures held by Freiburg political scientist Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Hennis. Like many others at the time, I was of the opinion that many of the profes- sors’ gowns were besmirched with 1000 years’ worth of filth and that the universities were in desperate need of reform. I was also prepared to demon- strate for the necessary changes. However, my path was that of reform, not revolution. Preventing someone from lecturing for months on end was not my thing. Just a few years later, in the early 1970s, I myself – as the personal consultant of Rector Prof. Dr. Hansjürg Steinlin – became the target of such a campaign when members of the Communist League of West Germany disrupted a senate meeting and tried to get me to hand them over the personnel records I had with me. In vain, I might add.” Many alumni of the University of Freiburg studied during the German student movement of 1968. All of them have exciting stories to tell: about talks and rallies, about organizing demonstrations and occupying buildings. Rosa-Maria Gschwendtner asked several of them about their experiences and their fondest memories as students during this eventful time. Gisela Becker Photo: 1967 Franz-Karl Opitz Bruno Zimmermann Photo: 2011 Bruno Zimmermann 18