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Radio GDR - East Germany Podcast

Apr 8, 2023

In 1952, a 24-year old American soldier defected to the Eastern Bloc in order to avoid a US Army disciplinary hearing and what he feared would be draconian punishment for his involvement in socialist and communist politics in the United States. This decision put his life on an entirely new trajectory, one that left him with a new name, Victor Grossman, and left him in the then young German Democratic Republic, a country that became his home for the remaining 37+ years of his existence. A committed socialist, Grossman identified closely with the aims of the East German state, but always maintained a critical perspectives on his new home.

Over two discussions with Radio GDR host John Paul Kleiner, Grossman takes stock of “the workers and peasants state,” talking about its successes and why it failed.

John Paul would like to give special thanks to his friend Marcus Funck in Berlin for assistance with this interview. Without this help, it wouldn’t have happened, so thank you, Marcus!

For more resources on Victor Grossman, including information on his book, please visit

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