A Cold War Life Story?

The Poet Oskar Pastior and the Correlation of Identity and Cultural Policy in 20th Century - (East-) Central Europe

Roman Hutter
University of Michigan, University of Vienna

When: Monday, January 28, 2019, 12:30 - 1:30 pm
Where: International Center Room 122, The University of New Orleans

This talk is dedicated to the remarkable life story of Romanian-German poet Oskar Pastior. It will examine in what kind of ways during the Cold War, Western and Eastern European cultural institutions exerted influence on Pastior in an effort to pursue their own cultural policies. Of special interest is the cooperation between Austria, Germany and the U.S. because this hidden cooperation made it possible for the Transylvanian Saxon Pastior to embark on a book tour from Romania to Austria and Germany from which he never returned. The special fascination that Pastior holds for scholarly inquiry arises from the fact that his case intertwines Austrian cultural claims going back to the days of the Habsburg Empire with West- and East-German political interests in Romania and the cultural policies of the U.S. during the Cold War. What makes this case even more complex is the fact that Pastior’s escape story provides plenty of evidence that the Romanian Securitate sent him off to Vienna with very concrete espionage assignments.

Roman Hutter

Roman Hutter

Roman Hutter is a Botstiber-Fellow at the University of Michigan. He received his Bachelor’s degree in History and his Master’s degrees in Eastern European History at the University of Vienna, where he is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Contemporary History. Before Hutter joined the University of Michigan as a Marietta-Blau-Scholar (ÖAD) in 2017, he was a researcher at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for History and Theory of Biography, the Institute for the Danube Region and Central Europe and the Balkan Commission of the Austrian Academy of Science in Vienna.