Lutz Rathenow began studying German philology and history in 1973 and founded the opposition working group Literature in Jena. He was banned from studying at all universities and technical colleges in the GDR because of “doubts on basic positions, objectivism and intellectualizing problems”. In 1977 he moved to East Berlin, where he found work as a production assistant and director. He subsequently worked as a freelance writer and theatre worker in the GDR. However, he still faced severe publication restrictions and used reading events at church institutions and private homes to make his texts accessible to the public. He was active in the independent peace and civil rights movement of the GDR and maintained a dense network of contacts East and West, leading to his being extensively bugged by the Stasi. After the peaceful revolution and German reunification he advocated coming to terms with the GDR’s past. Rathenow has been Saxon state representative for Stasi files since 2011 (since 2017 Saxon state representative on coming to terms with the SED dictatorship).