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German History in Documents and Images
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Police Occupy the Publishing House of the KPD-Mouthpiece Freies Volk [Free People] in Düsseldorf on the Day of the Verdict against the Party (August 17, 1956)
On November 22, 1951, the Federal Government petitioned the court to begin proceedings against the Communist Party of Germany [Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands or KPD]. The proceedings lasted more than five years; they finally ended on August 17, 1956, when the Federal Constitutional Court issued a verdict banning the party. The court justified its verdict by declaring the KPD as in conflict with the principles of the constitution. It ordered the dissolution of the party and its organs. On the day the verdict was announced, police officers occupied the publishing house of the party newspaper, Freies Volk [Free People], in Düsseldorf. As can be seen in this photograph, red KPD flags and FRG flags had been hung from the building’s windows – a move clearly intended to demonstrate the party’s loyalty to the FRG constitution. Photo: Fritz Fischer.