Permanent loan Dr. Semaan Harik

Dr. Semaan Harik

Dr Semaan Harik was a graduate of the Babelsberg Film Academy, trained in the GDR, and later a photojournalist.  He died in Berlin in 2017 and left behind a revealing written, photographic and artistic legacy. The material is available in German and Arabic. Dr. Sabine Schilfert has arranged all the documents in archive boxes and handed them over to the ZMO library in December 2021 as a permanent loan. In addition to the provisional table below, Dr. Schilfert is currently preparing a detailed index of all documents for the ZMO library.


Biographical information on Dr. Simon (Semaan) Harik

1941: Born in Bteghrine/Mount Liban in Lebanon. Grows up in an old-established farming family of Greek Orthodox faith.

1960: Graduates from an evening secondary school in Beirut/Lebanon, then works in the Lebanese film and television sector.

1964: Travels to the GDR to take up studies at a GDR university. Attends the Herder Institute of the Karl Marx University to prepare foreign students for studies in the GDR, Leipzig (until 1967).

1967: Enrols at the German Academy of Cinematography Potsdam-Babelsberg HFF (Hochschule für Filmkunst Potsdam-Babelsberg HFF), specialising in directing (until 1971).

1971: Graduates as a graduate director with an artistic diploma thesis with the documentary film "Über eine Art zu Leben [Workers' Theatre of the VEB Bandstahl-Kombinat Eisenhüttenstadt EKO in Eisenhüttenstadt]".

1972:Third leading actor in the later banned GDR-DEFA feature film "The Dove on the Roof" ("Die Taube auf dem Dach") directed by Iris Gusner.

1974: Begins academic aspirations at the HFF and the Humboldt University of Berlin (until 1977)

1977: Is awarded a doctorate from the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Humboldt University in Berlin with a dissertation on the topic: "The Current Situation of the Media Film and Television in Lebanon: Their Organisation, Function and Task in the National Democratic Stage" (Die gegenwärtige Situation der Medien Film und Fernsehen im Libanon: Ihre Organisation, Funktion und Aufgabe in der nationaldemokratischen Etappe).

1977: Takes up freelance work as an interpreter and translator Arabic-German-Arabic, as a freelance director and photojournalist, and work in children's and youth work (until 2015).

1982: Leads project for the publication of the "Lehr- und Übungsbuch der Gebärden Gehörloser" in cooperation with the Central Board of the Association of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing of the GDR, 1981-1982

1983: Becomes a member of the Association of Film and Television Workers of the GDR (until 1989)

1990: Becomes a member of IG Medien/Vereinte Dienstleitungsgesellschaft ver.di/ Fachgruppe Journalismus (until 2017)

1992/1994: Is active in children's and youth film work in Berlin-Friedrichshain

1992: Becomes a member of the Verwertungsgesellschaft Bild-Kunst and a member of the Verein der ausländischen Presse in Deutschland e.V. (until 2016)

1998: Works mainly as a freelance photojournalist in Berlin, partly on assignment and mainly serially, focusing on "encounters with Arab and African politicians and diplomats, "situations and events in the fields of culture, business, industry, politics, science, medicine, music. Art and the world of fashion as well as on the topic of "integration" in Berlin.                                           

2017: Dies in Berlin


Brief Overview of the Bequest of Dr. Semaan (Simon) Harik (1941–2017), Written, Visual and Audio Documents in Analogue and Digital Form

Life documents  
Archive box 1 Content
Folder 1 Different curricula vitae
Folder 2 Personal identity cards and certificates
Folder 3 Housing matters, maintenance matters, 1972–1977. Pension matters, 2005–2015.
Folder 4 Worked in Lebanon until 1964, trained and worked in the GDR from 1964–1977
Folder 5 Herder Institute of the Karl Marx University for the preparation of foreign students for studies in the GDR, Leipzig, 1965/67, [German] Academy of Film Art and Television Potsdam-Babelsberg, directorial studies, 1967–1977
Folder 6 Address directories, address books, notebooks, 1971-1975
Folder 7 Daily diary with handwritten notes, 1969–1971
Folder 8 General study material
Folder 9–10 International Student Committee ISK at the HFF, 1970
Archive box 2 Student Directing, 1967–1971, subject teaching
Folder 11–12 Direction I - 1st academic year 1967/68, Direction II - 2nd academic year 1968/69
Folder 13–17 Directing III - 3rd academic year 1969/70
Folder 18–19 Directing IV - Academic Year 1970/71
Folder 20 Graduation film "About a Way of Life [Workers' Theatre of the VEB Bandstahl-Kombinat Eisenhüttenstadt EKO in Eisenhüttenstadt]" (Über eine Art zu Leben [Arbeitertheater des VEB Bandstahl-Kombinats Eisenhüttenstadt EKO in Eisenhüttenstadt]), 1971
Folder 21 Written thesis, 1971
Archive box 3 Scientific Aspirant Academic Year 1972/73 to Academic Year 1976/77
Folder 22 Aspirant documents
Folder 23 Preparatory work for dissertation
Folder 24 Dissertation, 1973–1974, documentary film project
Folder 25 Journey through Lebanon, 1973/1974
Folder 26 International Meeting of Young Historians Potsdam, 1975
Folder 27 Actor in DEFA film productions, DEFA Studio for Feature Films, 1968–1973, including "The Dove on the Roof" (Die Taube auf dem Dach), 1971/72, freelance work as director, interpreter, translator as of 1977
Folder 28 Various
Folder 29 Children's and youth work, 1992–1994, works, documentaries
Folder 30 „Feier irakischer Frauen aus Anlass des Internationalen Frauentages am 07.03.1979“ veranstaltet von dem DDR-Komitee der Allgemeinen Föderation Irakischer Frauen in der Botschaft der Republik Irak in Berlin, darin: s/w. Fotografien als Papierabzüge, „Pioniere der Zukunft“ über irakische Studierende in der DDR, 1979, Auftraggeber: National Union der Irakischen Studenten in der DDR (NUIS)
Archive box 4  
Folder 31 Contractual documents
Folder 32 Working materials
Folder 33 Greetings from Basrah: Folklore group from Iraq makes a guest appearance in Berlin Film report on the performance of the folk dance ensemble from Basra at the Berlin Volksbühne on 19 May 1979
Folder 34 Artists from Palestine: About the exhibition Palestinian Painting" of the General Association of Palestinian Artists, 1980
Folder 35 Opening of the exhibition "Contemporary Nigerian Art" on 13 July 1982 in Berlin, radio contribution "Arrested out of the classroom: memories of [the pedagogue] Rudolf Hartig", radio portrait, 1980, Radio GDR, photojournalistic contributions
Folder 36 Lehr- und Übungsbuch der Gebärden Gehörloser in cooperation with the Central Board of the Association of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing of the GDR, 1981–1982:, in it mainly contractual documents, correspondence, working notes in German, text and photo contributions by Simon Harik from his freelance work 1998–2007 (mostly in German)
Folder 37 1998–2000
Folder 38 2001–2007
Archive box 5  
Folder 39–40 Specimen copies with published photos and texts; German and Arabic
Folder 45 Photo series on the artist Walter Womacka and the activities of the Freundeskreis Walter Womacka e.V., with accompanying material, 2000–2014

Photo series of Simon Harik's work archive, sorted chronologically by year

B/W and colour paper prints of analogue and digital photographs, negatives in negative pockets with handwritten inscriptions, some in German and Arabic with date and subject, contact sheets, image files on DVD, data CD, camera memory cards; predominantly in protective glassine sleeves and negative pockets, as well as photo-accompanying material in written form with contextual information.


Archive box 6 1993–1999
Archive box 7 1999
Archive box 8 2000–2001
Archive box 9 2001–2002
Archive box 10 2002–2003
Archive box 11 2003–2004
Archive box 12 2004–2005
Archive box 13 2005
Archive box 14 2005–2006
Archive box 15 2006–2007
Archive box 16 2007
Archive box 17 2007–2008
Archive box 18 2009
Archive box 19 2010–2015
Archive box 20 Photo series and individual images, as paper prints, which cannot be clearly assigned, thematically pre-ordered, photo-accompanying material from the years 1997–2015
Archive box 21 1998–2007
Archive box 22 2008–2016, third party business cards, thematically sorted, daily diary with SH's own handwritten work notes with loose insert notes from 2001–2012, 2014, VHS videotapes with film footage by SH's own hand, 1992–1998.
Archive box 23–24 Printed copies, mainly specialist literature from his school and university years, including his own handwritten signature SH, traces of reading and insertion slips, as well as printed copies with handwritten author dedications for SH; 54 copies in German, 24 copies in Arabic.