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A Comrade’s "Safe-Conduct" Papers (February 14, 1885)
In Germany, personal identity papers are called an Ausweis to this day. This facsimile shows a “counter”-Ausweis, issued not by state authorities but by the leadership of the outlawed Social Democratic Workers' Party (SPD). The party was eager to provide persecuted members with every assistance possible and the documentation needed to secure it. According to this document, Friedrich Heinke, a married sculptor, age 24, without children, was banished from Berlin and its surrounding territory on the basis of paragraph 28 of the Socialist Law, which provided for the imposition of a “minor state of siege” [kleine Belagerungszustand] – a kind of martial law – in particular cities. Under this provision, Heinke had been banished from the imperial capital, Berlin. Issued in Dresden on February 14, 1885, this “safe-conduct” document asks all party comrades to provide whatever support they can to its bearer. It is signed by the leading figures in the party: Ignaz Auer, August Bebel, Carl Grillenberger, Wilhelm Hasenclever, and Wilhelm Liebknecht.