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The Politburo of the Central Committee of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany: Report by the Commission on Questions Concerning Republikflucht (June 25, 1956)

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5. The National Front is to organize returnee conferences at the district and county levels and to widely publicize the results of these conferences;

6. The various West German delegations that visit the GDR are called upon to raise the question of Republikflucht from the perspective of the democratic, peace-loving population of West Germany. (Unmasking how those who fled have been exploited by Adenauer’s policy of failing to reach an agreement in the fight against West German workers’ organizations, [how they have been exploited] as wage-depressers and instigators, and to provide soldiers for the NATO army etc.);

7. The Commission for Agitation is tasked with working out a special agitation plan for the fight against Republikflucht, while taking the following considerations into account:

Dealing with the issue in the press and on the radio;

Dealing with the issue in DEFA weekly newsreels and dealing with the issue in a feature film or documentary;

Dealing with the issue through individuals or a writer’s collective in the form of a realistic novel and in the form of an effective, realistic radio play. The political argumentation against Republikflucht must be continuously expanded upon on the basis of the general development and the state of affairs.

8. Collections and public appeals must be curtailed considerably and kept to a minimum.

Comrade Maron is tasked with taking the appropriate measures on the basis of the Collections Law;

9. It is suggested that the county councils form civil commissions. These commissions shall address the concerns of the citizens when it comes to questions of travel to and resettlement in West Germany, replacing the previous procedure at the People’s Police County Offices (VPKA).

On the basis of personal discussions with citizens, the commissions will examine the circumstances prevailing in each individual case and help citizens with the return of family members who fled the GDR.

The commissions will be made up of experienced, active citizens or delegates of the popular assemblies who are known to the population. They shall work closely with the agencies of the VPKA. If necessary, the commission will pass the concerns of the citizens onto the VPKA.

Attachment to the materials on Republikflucht

Source: SAPMO-BArch, DY 30/J IV 2/2/483, Bl. 15-24 and 42-47, Anlage Nr. 4 zum Protokoll der Sitzung des Politbürds des Zentralkomitees der SED, Nr. 29/56, vom 19. Juni 1956 (Abschrift) [Attachment No. 4 to the Protocol of the Meeting of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the SED, No. 29/56, from June 19, 1956 (Copy)]. Re.: Darstellungsband 8, II (Sozialpolitische Denk- und Handlungsfelder) [(Social-Political Spheres of Thought and Activity)], note 45; reprinted in Dierk Hoffmann and Michael Schwartz, eds., Geschichte der Sozialpolitik in Deutschland seit 1945. Bd. 8: 1949-1961: Deutsche Demokratische Republik. Im Zeichen des Aufbaus des Sozialismus [History of Social Policy in Germany since 1945, Vol. 8: 1949-1961: German Democratic Republic. Under the Sign of the Build Up of Socialism]. Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2004, no. 8/149.

Translation: Thomas Dunlap

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