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The Production of Historical “Facts”: How the Wrong Number of Participants in the Leipzig Monday Demonstration on October 9, 1989 Became a Convention


  • Opp Karl-Dieter

    () (Universität Leipzig (Emeritus), University of Washington, Seattle (Affiliate Professor))


This paper deals with the demonstration in Leipzig on October 9, 1989, an important episode in the history of the East German Revolution. It is generally held that 70,000 demonstrators participated. This paper shows that this number is clearly wrong. The paper describes briefly the results of a survey that were inconsistent with this number and how the authors of the study proceeded to make a new estimate. The paper further outlines how the original estimate was made and found its way into the media and historical accounts. Finally, some general lessons are drawn from the case. The case study this paper focuses on is not an example of the faking of data, but rather of negligent data handling. However, it is argued that the lessons from this case discussed in the final section hold for faked data as well.

Suggested Citation

  • Opp Karl-Dieter, 2011. "The Production of Historical “Facts”: How the Wrong Number of Participants in the Leipzig Monday Demonstration on October 9, 1989 Became a Convention," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 231(5-6), pages 598-607, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:jns:jbstat:v:231:y:2011:i:5-6:p:598-607

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    1. repec:cup:apsrev:v:87:y:1993:i:02:p:319-333_09 is not listed on IDEAS
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    1. Stevanov, Mirjana & Dobšinska, Zuzana & Surový, Peter, 2016. "Assessing survey-based research in forest science: Turning lemons into lemonade?," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 105-117.


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