WEBINAR – “The Political Opposition in the GDR and Poland: Solidarność and Political Opposition before the Fall of the Wall”

8 February 2021

6:00 – 8:00 PM Lisbon time | 7:00 PM – 9:00 P.M. Berlin and Amsterdam time | 8:00 PM Helsinki time

Join for free at https://rb.gy/oighga


Idesbald Goddeeris (KU Leuven University) – Western European Societal Solidarity with Poland in the 1980s

Christie Miedema (University of Amsterdam) – Freedom or Peace? Polish and East German Oppositional Strategies in the Context of the East-West Divide

Hosted by : Bernd Rother (Willy Brandt Foundation) 

The webinar aims to debate and give insight on how political resistance in East Germany and neighbouring Poland during the Cold War, succeeded in making a change leading to freedom and respect of human rights.


Idesbald Goddeeris is a Slavist and a historian. He teaches courses on colonial history, history of Poland, and history of India. His research mainly focuses on the relationship of our society with other cultures and political regimes. He particularly examines this by means of the history of migration, European identities, transnational social movements, East-West and North-South contacts, communist secret services during the Cold War, development aid, and postcolonial memories. He is a senior member of the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, where he coordinates the Leuven India Focus.

Christie Miedema is an historian, connected as post-doctoral research fellow to the Institute of German Studies at the University of Amsterdam. In 2015, she defended and published her PhD Dissertation on responses of West-German and Dutch left-wing organisations to the opposition movement in Poland in the 1980s. Her areas of interest include human rights, international solidarity and dialogue, migration and labour rights. In 2019 she published her second book: “Not a movement of dissidents”, about Amnesty International’s dealings with attempts to replicate its activists in Poland and the Soviet Union. She now works as campaign and outreach coordinator at Clean Clothes Campaign and is involved with Amnesty Netherlands as regional coordinator for Central and Eastern Europe.


Bernd Rother is a Senior Fellow with the Brandt foundation and co-chairperson of the SPD’s forum on history. His research focuses on History of the Social Democratic movement in the 19th and 20th century (Germany on a regional and national level, Portugal, Latin America, Socialist International), History of the Holocaust, and Spanish History. In 1984 he received the Dr. phil. degree. From 1999 – 2020 he was Research Fellow and Deputy Director at Bundeskanzler-Willy-Brandt-Stiftung, Berlin. His most recent study Social Democracy on a Global Scale. The Socialist International and Latin America in the 1970s and 1980s is forthcoming in 2021.