Academy of Sciences of the GDR

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Academy of Sciences of the GDR (AdW)
until 1972 German Academy of Sciences in Berlin (DAW)
Academy of Sciences of the GDR (AdW) until 1972 German Academy of Sciences in Berlin (DAW)
Headquarters in Berlin-Mitte, Jägerstrasse (on Gendarmenmarkt ), 1950
Category: Research institutions , learned society
Consist: 1946-1992
Facility location: Berlin , German Democratic Republic
Branch offices: 60 , most of them in Berlin
Type of research: Research Foundation
Basic funding: State budget
Management: Academy President, Presidium, Institute Directors; Supervision: Council of Ministers of the GDR
Employee: 24,000

The Academy of Sciences of the GDR (AdW), until 1972 known as the German Academy of Sciences in Berlin (DAW), was the most important research institution in the German Democratic Republic (GDR). It was officially opened in 1946 and at least partially continued the tradition of the Prussian Academy of Sciences . The academy was both a learned society (learned society), in which the award of membership by election represented scientific recognition, and, in contrast to many other academies of the sciences , the supporting organization of a research community of non-university research institutes.

With the German reunification , the learned society was separated from the research institutes and other facilities and dissolved in 1992. In personal continuity with the AdW, its activities have been continued since 1993 by the Leibniz Society of Sciences in Berlin . The research projects and holdings of the AdW were taken over by the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, founded in 1992 . The academy institutes were dissolved on December 31, 1991 and partly re-established with the support of other organizations such as the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Science Association , the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers , the Max Planck Society and the Fraunhofer Society . Some sub-areas and sub-projects were retained, but were transferred to other institutions such as the German Archaeological Institute .

German Academy of Sciences in Berlin (1946–1972)

The German Academy of Sciences in Berlin was a successor organization to the Electoral Brandenburg Society of Sciences founded in 1700 by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz . After the Second World War, it was reopened with SMAD order No. 187 of July 1, 1946, Leibniz's 300th birthday.

As the “highest scientific institution”, the academy should establish and maintain research institutes for specific research tasks. Traditional forms of work, such as scientific commissions and companies, remained alongside. The redesign of the Berlin Academy was based on the model of the Soviet Academy of Sciences . But it also corresponded to the ideas of the academy members who, in a memorandum from the Prussian state in 1930, demanded the formation of humanities and natural science institutes at the academy. In the US sector of Berlin at the same time attempts were made to build the German Research University from the institutes of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society that had remained in Berlin-Dahlem , although at the beginning there was still cooperation between the two institutions.

With the SMAD order No. 309 of October 18, 1946, the academy's first institutes and facilities were attached. On June 27, 1947, the SMAD gave the Academy the Medical-Biological Institute in Berlin-Buch , which also included the former Kaiser Wilhelm Institute . At the end of 1949, the Academy already had 23 institutes and 4 laboratories in addition to the commissions and companies. In the following years, further takeovers of institutes and new institutes were founded. The structure with two classes that had existed since 1830 was broken up in 1949 in favor of 6 (now 5) classes .

The situation was very difficult in the early years. The provisions of the Allied Control Council Act No. 25 of April 29, 1946 led to the monitoring of all scientific research, which was also subject to approval. During the shortage years until the early 1950s, the academy was increasingly used for development work. The situation of the intelligentsia should be improved through privileges in order to prevent the migration of qualified personnel to the western zones, to attract skilled workers from the west and to achieve a loyal attitude of the intelligentsia to the existing system in the GDR:

“Without the generous use of the intelligentsia who are prepared to work honestly, in particular the bourgeois intelligentsia, to build up the economy, neither the two-year plan can be carried out nor a substantial upswing in a peaceful German economy can be achieved. The backward and damaging view that a democratic society and a new life are possible without drawing on, reshaping and re-educating the old groups of the bourgeois intelligentsia for joint creative work must be rejected. "

- 1st Culture Ordinance of the German Economic Commission of March 31, 1949
View into the Academy Library, Grimm Dictionary section (1952)

The great importance of the academy for the economic development of the GDR led to the following structures from 1951 : The management of the academy was incumbent on the president (individual management) and the presidium (collective management). The leadership included the President, the two Vice-Presidents and the Secretary General. The Academy was subordinate to the Council of Ministers of the GDR , which exercised the supervision. The chairman of the Council of Ministers (Prime Minister) determined the resulting powers. The Academy President was not a member of the Council of Ministers, and the central governing bodies of the Academy were not part of the state apparatus.

The academy had developed into the central research institution of the GDR. From April 1952 the journal Wissenschaftliche Annalen was published. In 1957, however, the academy lost its great influence on research policy through reports and advice from the government in favor of the newly founded Research Council of the GDR . In the years that followed, the scientific and technical institutes and facilities were of great importance in solving the permanent economic problems of the GDR. When the academy was reformed in 1968, the academy had 65 institutes and facilities. The traditional focus of the work had shifted to the natural science-technical area, which was to make up around 90% of the total potential of the academy in the following years.

The reform of the academy from 1968 to 1972 led to a complete reorganization of the academy's organizational structure under the then President Hermann Klare . The 6 classes were replaced in 1969 by 11 problem-related classes. The process of concentrating scientific potential, such as the formation of uniformly structured central institutes, was characteristic of the academy's reform . In 1969, commissioned research and task-related funding began, which had a long-term and profound influence on the work of the academy. A decision made by the State Council in 1970 required the academy to provide pioneering and top-class achievements in science and technology, through which the principle of “ overtaking without overtaking ” should be realized. This principle was adopted by the Academy of Sciences of the Soviet Union. The goals and tasks of the scientific and technical work were in principle to be derived from the requirements of economic development. Since 1972, the Council of Ministers decided to improve the interaction between science and production by concluding long-term coordination agreements. A subsequent ordinance, however, repealed the provisions on contract-related research funding and also limited the Academy's external research to 50%. In the statute of the AdW of June 28, 1984 under § 6 planning: "The academy derives its tasks from the basic social needs, the economic reproductive conditions as well as from the development status and development tendencies of science."

Academy of Sciences of the GDR (1972–1989)

Stamp "275 Years of the Academy of Sciences, Berlin" (1975)

Since the end of the academy's reform in 1972, the academy's management has included the academy president, three vice-presidents and the general secretary. The members of the academy management had to be full or corresponding members of the Academy's learned society, and they were elected by this, the plenum of the academy , for a period of four years. The plenary was also responsible for proposing the elected to the chairman of the Council of Ministers of the GDR (Prime Minister) for appointment.

With the regular election of the academy management in June 1972, the following positions were filled: Academy president Hermann Klare ; Vice President Ulrich Hofmann , responsible for research, planning and domestic cooperation; Vice-President Heinrich Scheel , responsible for the Academy's learned society (plenary and classes), Vice-President Werner Kalweit , responsible for social sciences , and Secretary General Claus Grote , responsible for the Academy's international relations. With this election, the academy reform that was decided in 1968 also ended. On October 7, 1972, the German Academy of Sciences in Berlin (DAW) was renamed the Academy of Sciences of the GDR (AdW).

The executive committee of the academy included the 1st secretary of the SED district leadership at the academy, who was also a member of the academy's college. The committee also included the chairman of the district committee of the science union at the academy and the first secretary of the district leadership of the FDJ at the academy. The academy president Hermann Klare himself was non-party.

The academic management structure of the academy now had the following basic structure, which existed until it was liquidated in 1991:

  • Plenary, Presidium and College (Chair or Head: Academy President)
  • Classes (Chair: Secretaries)
  • Research areas (head: research area manager, from 1989 secretaries for scientific areas): mathematics and computer science; Physics; Chemistry; Life sciences and medicine; Earth and Cosmos Sciences; Social sciences
  • Central Institutes and Institutes (Head: Directors): Divisions (Head: Divisional Head); Departments and Research Groups.

In 1981 the plenum of the learned society consisted of 153 full members and 76 corresponding members, 27 of them from the Federal Republic of Germany . The members were organized in classes. In 1973 the problem-related classes, as created with the academy reform, were dissolved again and replaced by 9 classes; the number of classes later increased to a total of 11.

In 1979 the president of the academy changed from chemist Hermann Klare to physician Werner Scheler . The first Vice President Ulrich Hofmann, Vice President Heinrich Scheel, Vice President Werner Kalweit and the Secretary General Claus Grote were confirmed in their offices. Heinrich Scheel was followed by Heinz Stiller (1984–1988), Hans-Heinz Emons (1988–1990) and Herbert Hörz (1990–1992). In 1988, Günter Albrecht was appointed as another Vice President. With the exception of Vice President Werner Kalweit (1972 to 1989), this academy management was in office until June 1990.

Before its liquidation in 1991/92, the academy had around 60 central institutes or institutes and around 20 facilities (academy publishing house, printing works, central archive, custody, scientific information center, main library, various service providers and others), mainly in Berlin and Potsdam , Dresden , Leipzig , Jena and Halle (Saale) were based. In 1988 the academy had around 24,000 employees, including almost 10,000 scientists, the other employees were laboratory technicians, skilled workers, administrative specialists and the like. a. Around half of the total employees worked in Berlin.

In a rough breakdown, basic research , one third of applied research (both under one's own responsibility) and contract research, predominantly for industry, were carried out in the academy . In 1985, a Council of Ministers ordinance required the Academy to use the greater part of its research potential for contracts with industry, agriculture, health care, areas with sovereign responsibilities, and the like. a. to use and to have it financed. This contract research was expanded to over 50 percent in the following years, but this led to a conflict between basic and applied research. In 1988, the Academy had an annual budget of EUR 1.24 billion M .

Resolutions on the academy were taken outside of this in the Politburo of the SED (which was subsequently confirmed by the Council of Ministers) and in the Council of Ministers of the GDR . Usually the initiative came from the academy itself. There were few exceptions, for example the 1968 reform of the academy and the renaming of the academy in 1972. Proposals for resolutions that directly affected the academy had to be approved by the academy.

All academy presidents acted more or less autonomously, but had to adhere to the guidelines of the chairman of the GDR Council of Ministers and the member of the Politburo of the SED Central Committee responsible for science (most recently Kurt Hager ). In particular, the wishes of the first secretary of the SED district leadership at the academy had to be taken into account; it was then a matter of agreement. With this command pyramid the "leading role of the party" was guaranteed in the work of the academy. On the other hand, in an advisory capacity to the party leadership and the Council of Ministers, the Academy has submitted numerous very detailed proposals (studies, expert reports, reports, statements) on the development of science and technology and their consequences for society, especially for the national economy, most of them were also taken into account or, if it was too “hot iron”, disappeared in the safe.

1989–1993: Academy of Sciences until its liquidation, new foundations

After the fall of 1989 and the peaceful revolution in the GDR , the academy members called for a fundamental renewal of the academy. The AdW statute from 1984 contained three passages with statements about the SED. Immediately after the fall of the Wall in 1989, these were removed from the AdW statute.

In December 1989 a “Council of Institute Representatives” was formed at the Academy and in February 1990 the “Round Table of the AdW”.

On May 17, 1990 a new presidium was elected. Five candidates applied for the office of president of the academy: four from the academy (two institute directors, a former member of the executive committee, a department head) and a doctor from the University of Rostock . After the first ballot, one doctor followed another: Horst Klinkmann replaced Werner Scheler in the presidency.

Two incumbent vice presidents (Ulrich Hofmann and Günter Albrecht ) and the incumbent secretary for chemistry, Siegfried Nowak , are candidates for the newly created office of chairman of the board of directors of the Research Foundation and vice president ; the latter was chosen. There was no longer a general secretary. For this purpose, the office of the head of the main administration was created, which was an amalgamation of all departments that were previously the responsibility of the president, the vice-presidents (with the exception of the one responsible for the learned society), the general secretary and the director for economics and technical supply, if also in a disarmed form. As before, a vice-president was responsible for the learned society (plenary and classes): Several candidates stood for election in plenary in April 1990. Herbert Hörz was elected to this office as Vice President.

On June 27, 1990, the Academy's 1984 statute was repealed and the Academy became a public corporation . The current academy management was dismissed from its functions with effect from June 29, 1990 (Leibniz Day) and the newly elected management was confirmed in its executive functions. The then Prime Minister of the GDR Lothar de Maizière carried out the recall and reappointment .

With the monetary union of July 1, 1990 and the introduction of the D-Mark , contract research finally collapsed because the companies, as clients, were unable to finance external research tasks. On July 11, 1990, the Science Council initiated the evaluation of around 60 institutes at the Academy. Of these, 21 were reorganized into corresponding successor institutes under different sponsorship, 28 were divided into several facilities, 5 institutes were integrated into existing research facilities and 6 were dissolved.

From the AdW institutes, 3 large research institutions of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers and 9 branch offices of Helmholtz Centers, 27 new institutes of today's Leibniz Association and 4 branch offices of Leibniz Institutes, 17 facilities of the Fraunhofer Society , 2 new institutes of the Max Planck Society , 3 federal institutes and 4 branch offices as well as 6 research institutions sponsored by the new federal states - a total of 58 institutes and 17 branch offices. In terms of organization and personnel, the Leibniz Association, known at the time as the “Blue List”, took over by far the largest share of the AdW institutes.

With the Unification Treaty , the Academy of Sciences of the GDR was separated from the research institutes and other facilities as a learned society and dissolved in 1992. The research institutes and facilities existed until December 31, 1991 as institutions of the federal states, unless they had previously been dissolved or converted.

According to the unification agreement, the decision on how the learned society should be continued was to be made under national law. The Berlin Senate Department for Science and Research decided that the learned society of the Academy of Sciences should not be regarded as the bearer of the tradition of the Berlin Academy, that a future Academy of Sciences in Berlin could not build on this institution and that a new constitution was inevitable. The Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences was therefore constituted on March 28, 1993 . In accordance with the 1992 State Treaty on the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences , this academy takes over the assets and infrastructure (library, archive, custody) of the learned society of the former Academy of Sciences of the GDR and continues its long-term and edition projects.

On April 15, 1993, 122 former members of the Academy of Sciences founded the registered association Leibniz-Sozietät e. V. (since 2007 Leibniz Society of Sciences in Berlin e.V. ). The association is financed through contributions and donations from its members and sees itself as a successor organization to the learned society of the Academy of Sciences of the GDR.

Academy locations in Berlin and the surrounding area (selection)


To the northeast and southwest of Rudower Chaussee was a research complex that had been built at the beginning of the 20th century for research purposes in aviation. Only the south-western area was used by the GDR Academy. On the site, which was fenced in around 1990, there were already several individual buildings, used by several institutes and the administration, including the archive and library. The company canteen was also located in the administration building. In the 1950s, the head of the Institute for Physical Chemistry (IPC) had, among other things, two special laboratories for thermal examinations in spherical form built according to plans by the architect Horst Welser and which have now been listed. Access to the site was possible either from Rudower Chaussee or from Agastraße; it was guarded and secured with a barrier. Most of the academy's scientific research facilities were located on the approximately 900,000 m² area. The southern Teltow Canal was part of the border area until the fall of the Berlin Wall and was not accessible from the academy site.

After German reunification and the structural changes outlined above, the area was gradually expanded, new buildings were added and everything together now forms the core of WISTA .

Berlin book

The Robert-Rössle-Klinik in Berlin-Buch was another institution of the AdW together with the Central Institute for Cancer Research. The Central Institute for Molecular Biology and the Central Institute for Cardiovascular Research were also located in Berlin-Buch.

Berlin center

A smaller part of the research facilities and the management of the academy were located here. The academy management used the building on Gendarmenmarkt in the Markgrafen- / Jäger- / Taubenstrasse complex, which was built at the beginning of the 20th century for the Prussian Sea Trade / State Bank . For the new use from the 1950s, the interior was converted, wall decorations and columns were clad but not dismantled. After the fall of the Wall , the Senate had the building complex renovated and handed it over to the re-established academy for further use. The house stands since the 1970s under monument protection .


Seven social science institutes were located on Prenzlauer Promenade 149/152 :

  • Central Institute for History
  • Central Institute for the History of Literature
  • Central Institute for Linguistics
  • Central Institute for Economics
  • Institute for General History
  • Institute for Theory, History and Organization of Science
  • Institute for Economic History


On the Telegrafenberg had the Central Institute of Physics of the Earth is located.


The Institute for High Energy Physics in Zeuthen (Platanenallee 6) on the south-eastern outskirts of Berlin has also been part of the academy since it was founded in the 1960s.

Lists of classes and institutes

See also


  • Werner Hartkopf: The Academy of Sciences of the GDR. Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 1975.
  • Werner Hartkopf: The Berlin Academy of Sciences. Its members and award winners 1700–1990. Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 1992, ISBN 3-05-002153-5 . Google Books
  • Renate Mayntz: German research in the unification process. The transformation of the Academy of Sciences of the GDR 1989 to 1992. (= Writings of the Max Planck Institute for Social Research Cologne. Volume 17). Campus Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1994, ISBN 3-593-35180-3 .
  • Hubert Laitko , Bernhard vom Brocke (ed.): The Kaiser Wilhelm / Max Planck Society and its institutes. Studies on their history: the Harnack principle. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1996.
  • Hans-Georg Wolf: The development paths of the institutes of the Academy of Sciences of the GDR. Campus, New York 1996, ISBN 3-593-35523-X , (PDF)
  • Hubert Laitko : East German science in the seventh year of German unity. In: ICARUS. Journal for Social Theory and Human Rights , 3 (1997), pp. 3–9.
  • Hubert Laitko : Reminiscences of settlement. Thinking about the end of the academy. In: Hochschule Ost , 6 (1997) 1, pp. 55–81.
  • Werner Scheler : From the German Academy of Sciences to Berlin to the Academy of Sciences of the GDR. Berlin 2000.
  • Ulrich Hofmann : To plan and organize research at the Academy of Sciences of the GDR. In: Wolfdietrich Hartung, Werner Scheler (Ed.): The Berlin Academy after 1945, contemporary witnesses report. In: Treatises of the Leibniz Society of Sciences in Berlin , Volume 6, pp. 63–75. trafo Verlag, Berlin 2001.
  • Jürgen Kocka (eds.), Peter Nötzoldt, Peter Th. Walter: The Berlin Academies of Sciences in divided Germany 1945–1990. (= Research reports of the interdisciplinary working groups of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences). Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-05-003544-7 .
  • Sonja Häder, Ulrich Wiegmann: The Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of the GDR in the field of tension between science and politics. Frankfurt am Main 2007, ISBN 978-3-631-56340-3 .
  • Herbert Hörz : 300 years of Leibniz scholarly society in Berlin. Report of the President on the Leibniztag 2000. In: Gerhard Banse , Dieter B. Herrmann , Herbert Hörz (Eds.): 25 years Leibniz Society of Sciences in Berlin. Speeches by the presidents at the Leibniz Days 1993-2017. Papers of the Leibniz Society of Sciences, Volume 50. trafo Verlagsgruppe Dr. Wolfgang Weist, Wissenschaftsverlag, Berlin 2018, pp. 74–85, ISBN 978-3-86464-161-9 .

Web links

Commons : Academy of Sciences of the GDR  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Matthias Judt: GDR history in documents: resolutions, reports, internal materials and documents. , 1997, p. 236.
  2. Control Council Act No. 25
  3. ^ Heinz Bielka : History of the Medical-Biological Institute Berlin , p. 119.
  4. ^ Ralf Rytlewski: Science, research and technology. In: A. Fischer (Ed.): Ploetz - The German Democratic Republic. Data, facts, analyzes. Cologne 2004, p. 216.
  5. Herbert Hörz : Turns of Life. About the becoming and work of a philosopher before, in and after the GDR. Autobiographies Series, Volume 18. trafo Verlagsgruppe Dr. Wolfgang Weist, Berlin 2005, pp. 368-375, ISBN 3-89626-313-7 .
  6. a b c d e academies . In: Business directory for the capital of the German Democratic Republic Berlin , 1988, p. 14.
  7. Architectural monuments thermal laboratories of the IPC on Rudower Chaussee
  8. Architectural monument building of the Academy of Sciences on Gendarmenmarkt