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Documents - Repression and Flight Movements from East to West Germany
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1.   Political Persecution of the Former Concentration Camp Inmate and Communist Ernst Busse (1950s)
In the 1950s, even former concentration camp inmates were not safe from politically motivated persecution. The case of KPD functionary and Reichstag deputy Ernst Busse, who had been incarcerated....
2.   Politburo Decision on the Work of the Ministry for State Security (March 18, 1952)
In the spring of 1952, the Politburo of the SED decided to expand and professionalize the work of the Ministry for State Security (MfS). Founded in 1950, the MfS was the secret service of the GDR.....
3.   Monitoring Telephone Traffic with the Federal Republic (November 14, 1952)
In East Germany, the policy of sealing off the domestic population from Western contacts included the strict surveillance of telephone and mail traffic. At the end of 1952, the head of the Main Administration....
4.   The Politburo of the Central Committee of the SED on the Junge Gemeinde [Young Congregation] (January 27, 1953)
In their efforts to gain a political hold on East German youth through Socialist schools and youth groups such the Young Pioneers and the Free German Youth (FDJ), the East German government and the....
5.   Directive on Republikflucht (March 18, 1953)
The GDR leadership strove to counter Republikflucht (the flight of East Germans from the German Democratic Republic to the West) on a variety of levels. In March 1953, the SED district leader....
6.   The Politburo of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany: Further Measures in the Fight against Republikflucht (December 15, 1953)
The GDR leadership struggled to stop Republikflucht (the flight of East Germans from the German Democratic Republic to the West), but there was little it could about its basic underlying causes....
7.   The Politburo of the Central Committee of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany: Report by the Commission on Questions Concerning Republikflucht (June 25, 1956)
On the one hand, this detailed report by the SED Commission on Republikflucht articulated the official line of the state and the party – that West Germany was deliberately wooing away East....
8.   Republikflucht by Young People, Young Returnees, and New Arrivals in the Period from January to September 1960 (November 10, 1960)
Growing numbers of young people were among those who left the GDR for West Germany at the beginning of the 1960s. This report by the Working Group for Youth Questions within the Central Committee....
9.   Finding Substitutes for West German Imports: Report from a Central Committee Brigade (March 16, 1961)
Constant shortages and supply bottlenecks in East Germany’s planned economy were one important reason for the mass exodus out of the GDR. On September 30, 1960, the government of the Federal Republic....
10.   The Causes of Emigration: Report from a Central Committee Brigade on Security Issues (May 24, 1961)
At the beginning of the 1960s, the exodus from the GDR to West Germany continued unabated. Issued a few months before the erection of the Berlin Wall, this May 1961 report by the Central Committee....
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