The US-American Victor Grossman was called up to the US Army in 1952 during the Korean War. Stationed in West Germany, Grossman fled the McCarthy-era persecution of leftists by swimming across the Danube into the Soviet zone of Austria. He then lived in the DDR for 37 years, where he worked, married, became a father, and studied — he is the world’s only holder of degrees from Harvard University and Karl Marx University in Leipzig. He became a freelance journalist and author in East Berlin, where he still lives, writes books and sends out his monthly “Berlin Bulletins”. From 1965 to 1968, Grossman also directed the Paul Robeson Archive at the Academy of Arts on the world-famous African-American actor, singer and active freedom fighter.
He described his eventful life in an English-language autobiography: “Crossing the River: A Memoir of the American Left, the Cold War, and Life in East Germany”; he collected his thoughts on the DDR and the politics of today in: “A Socialist Defector: From Harvard to Karl-Marx-Allee”.