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The Christian Peace Movement in the GDR (1983)

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From this perspective, therefore, everything we say and do is unconstitutional and thus, subversive, and falls under the purview of Paragraph 106, which is so sweepingly applied. The difference between an indictment against Frau Eigenfeld or one against us can only consist in the proportionality of the sentence. It is becoming increasingly clear that anyone whom the state finds disagreeable can be arrested on a pretext. Only within the space provided by the Church can one speak openly. Thus, the Church, and we Christians, have been entrusted with a clear responsibility.

We think that those in the Church leadership have to be conscious of this responsibility, and that they can no longer rely exclusively on [the pronouncement of] March 6, 1978, in which the GDR leadership promised Christians a position of equal esteem and equal rights in society. A confession of principle, often provided by the rank and file, must be supported by the Church leadership; otherwise all Christians promoting peace and all non-Christian pacifists will one day disappear behind prison walls.

The state agencies do not want to speak with us. But the Church is an institution that must be reckoned with. We see therein the possibility of doing something against the arbitrary distortion of the law. We request immediate action on the part of the Church leadership.

Source: Women for Peace, Christians, and Pacifists in the GDR – Enemies of the State? (Autumn 1983); reprinted in Bernhard Pollmann, ed., Lesebuch zur deutschen Geschichte [German History Reader], vol. 3, Vom deutschen Reich bis zur Gegenwart [From the German Reich to the Present]. Dortmund, 1984, pp. 268-70.

Translation: Jeremiah Riemer

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