Güstrow during Helmut Schmidt’s Visit (December 13, 1981)
From December 11-13, 1981, Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and Chairman of the Council of State of the GDR Erich Honecker met at Schloss Hubertusstock on Lake Werbellin for discussions on inter-German relations and the general international situation. In connection with the official talks, the two traveled the city of Güstrow in Mecklenburg, where they visited the former home of sculptor Ernst Barlach (1870-1938). The impetus for the excursion was Schmidt’s great fondness for Expressionist art and his interest in the work of Barlach, whom the National Socialists had defamed as “degenerate.” During Schmidt’s visit, the city of Güstrow was completely sealed off by state security forces and the GDR People’s Police. This action, which took place under the code name “Operation Dialogue,” aimed to prevent the sorts of demonstrations of support that had occurred during Willy Brandt's visit to Erfurt in 1970. Numerous GDR citizens were placed under house arrest, imprisoned, or intimidated. Photo von Klaus Lehnartz.
© Bildarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz