Open letter to Prof. Kunst, President of Humboldt University

Revision of the Dismissal of Dr. Andrej Holm

Dear Mrs. Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. Sabine Kunst,

as President of the Humboldt-University of Berlin (HU) you were handed the responsibility to evaluate the questionnaire answered by Dr. Andrej Holm in 2005 concerning past political involvement of staff members in the German Democratic Republic. Accordingly, the final decision regarding the possible legal consequences for his employment was yours. On 18th January 2017 you publicly declared the decision of the executive committee of Humboldt University to dismiss Dr. Andrej Holm from his position as lecturer at the Institute of Social Sciences (ISW).

Your decision is based on alleged “malicious fraud”. This claim is based on inconsistent declarations in the CVs handed to the university by Andrej Holm in 2005/ 2011 and 2017. Additionally you referred to the Stasi (Intelligence Services of the former German Democratic Republic) documents as well as the 2007 taz-interview.

However, in your argumentation you could not without doubt refute the argument that the inconsistent declarations in Andrej Holm’s CV were due to missing information concerning the official status of cadets officers (students in education to become officers).

Fact is, that the inconsistent declarations about his status as main officer for the Stasi can be explained by Andrej Holm’s access to his Stasi files. It was only after being appointed  Secretary of State for Housing in the Berlin Senate of 2017, that Andrej Holm realised that he was actually filed as main-officer-to-be by the Stasi. Your continued criticism of Andrej Holm for not having distanced himself from his explanation for the inconsistent declarations is thus unreasonable. Equally as wrong, consequently, is your conclusion of the necessity of his dismissal.

Additionally you base the necessity of your decision on the potential loss of integrity Humboldt University could face. You chose not to continue Holm’s employment as you felt unable to entirely defend a continuation against possible criticism. Notwithstanding, the integrity of the university could only be threatened if there were no reasonable grounds to continue Andrej Holm’s employment. However, the university could have easily presented reasonable grounds to do so:

  •  Andrej Holm has previously spoken out openly about his past in the Stasi
  •  the relationship of trust between Andrej Holm and the university was not weakened to that extend that a dismissal was inevitable
  • according to your own words, having had the official status of officer of the Stasi would not have prevented his employment in 2005
  • the majority of his colleagues continue to put their trust in Andrej Holm

We demand you therefore, to revise your decision to dismiss Andrej Holm from his position as lecturer.

Best regards,