* 1953 IN HANNOVER
A DIFFICULT LOVE
Gerlinde Schnübbe grows up in a Protestant parsonage in Hanover and studies theology at university. In 1977 she visits her father’s birthplace, Erfurt, out of curiosity, and ends up meeting and falling in love with a theology student there, Joachim Breithaupt. It is a difficult loveaffair. Joachim does not want to move to the West, and initially Gerlinde does not want to move to the East. She spends some time learning about different ways to immigrate to the GDR. She absolutely refuses to spend any time at a reception center, which is technically mandatory for all immigrants. The Protestant church in the GDR advocates for the couple with the state authorities, thereby sparing Gerlinde a period of detention in a reception center.
And others only shook their heads and said, ›For goodness’ sake, what are you actually up to?‹
Several of her friends in West Germany react appalled to her relocation plans. Her parents are very worried, but do not try to dissuade her.
Gerlinde is allowed to enter the GDR permanently in the summer of 1981. The Protestant congregation in Roßla where she is to serve as a vicar offers her a warm welcome, and the Protestant church of the Church Province of Saxony is very familial and intimate. She is relieved and feels at ease, but the Stasi remains suspicious. The couple’s telephone is monitored, and they conduct all their important discussions in the forest.