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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 – the lack of political freedom in the GDR and the good economic prospects in the Federal Republic. In December 1953, the Politburo of the SED decided to focus on fighting what they saw as West German attempts to woo skilled workers away from East Germany.

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The Politburo of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany
Further Measures in the Fight against Republikflucht

Berlin, December 15, 1953

To intensify the fight against Republikflucht, further measures are to be initiated on the basis of the Politburo decrees of January 6, 1953, and April 27, 1953, and on the basis of measures to implement the new course:

I. Measures to Quash the Hostile Incitement and Agitation Aimed at Triggering Republikflucht.

1. In the party’s agitprop work, in the press, and on the radio, the incitement and agitation through which the enemy aims to trigger Republikflucht must be unmasked as a means of impeding the realization of the new course and of unleashing chauvinistic agitation against the Soviet Union, the people’s democracies, and the German Democratic Republic.

Taking the government declaration by comrade Walter Ulbricht in the People’s Chamber [Volkskammer] on November 25, 1953, as a starting point, it must be shown that, by organizing this illegal exodus, West German imperialism is out to thwart not only the negotiations on the regulation of inter-zonal traffic but also the peaceful resolution of the German question, as such.

It must be demonstrated that the imperialist warmongers are misusing every escapee for their aggressive plans, and, moreover, that they want to acquire skilled workers for their military production and young people for their mercenary army.

The agitprop work aims to educate members of the party and all citizens to heightened vigilance towards the enticers, the hostile rumors, and especially the RIAS propaganda.*

Greater attention must be paid to the return and influx of individuals from West Germany. Here, the emphasis should not be placed on the person of the returnee, but rather on the contrast between political, economic, and cultural conditions in West Germany and the German Democratic Republic.
responsible: the district and country leadership of the party
Agitprop Dept. of the Central Committee
Press and Radio Dept. of the Central Committee

2. In the educational work of the National Front of Democratic Germany, and in the residential cooperatives [Haus- und Hofgemeinschaften], it is important to stoke the struggle against illegal emigration by presenting it as the warmongers’ means, and to increase vigilance against the enemy’s agitation.
responsible: Dept. of Leading Organs of the Party and Mass Organizations of the Central Committee

3. The district and country secretariats must address the Politburo decrees of January 6, 1953, and April 27, 1953, once more in the meetings of the secretariats.

Monthly reports about Republikflucht must be submitted by the heads of the district and country councils; consultations about it shall be held jointly with the functionaries of the state apparatus and the mass organizations, and relevant measures shall be determined.

Care must be taken to ensure that Republikflucht is thoroughly analyzed, that the causes are uncovered, and that the enemy’s propaganda is offensively countered.

Above all, the enemy’s work to recruit skilled workers and members of the technical intelligentsia from industrial enterprises must be quashed. The district and county secretariats shall send specifically chosen comrades to those enterprises that are organizing the fight against Republikflucht.
responsible: the 1st secretaries of the party’s district and county leadership

* RIAS: Rundfunk im amerikanischen Sektor, or Radio in the American Sector.

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