District of Erfurt

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Basic data
District capital: Erfurt
Area : 7,349 km²
Residents : 1,240,400 (1989)
Population density : 168 inhabitants per km²
Number of municipalities: 716
License plate : L, later also F
Bezirk Cottbus Bezirk Dresden Bezirk Erfurt Bezirk Frankfurt (Oder) Bezirk Gera Bezirk Halle Bezirk Karl-Marx-Stadt Bezirk Leipzig Bezirk Magdeburg Bezirk Neubrandenburg Berlin Bezirk Potsdam Bezirk Rostock Bezirk Suhl Bezirk Schwerin Volksrepublik Polen Tschechoslowakei Berlin (West) Deutschland#Bundesrepublik Deutschland und DDR (1949–1990) DänemarkDistrict of Erfurt in German Democratic Republic.svg
About this picture

The district of Erfurt was a medium-sized district in terms of area and population in the southwest of the German Democratic Republic , which existed between 1952 and 1990. The agricultural and industrial district was formed as a result of the administrative reform of 1952 from the north-western part of the then existing state of Thuringia and peripheral areas of Saxony-Anhalt . The district town was Erfurt . With the reunification of Germany on October 3, 1990, the territory in the state of Thuringia was opened.


The Erfurt district covered an area of ​​7325 km², which extended over northern Thuringia and large parts of central Thuringia. The area includes the natural areas of the Thuringian Basin with the Eichsfeld , parts of the southern Harz and the Thuringian Forest .

Adjacent districts were the Magdeburg district in the north, the Halle district in the northeast, the Gera district in the east and southeast, and the Suhl district in the south . The inner-German border ran in the west and north-west with the neighboring federal states of Hesse in the west and Lower Saxony in the north-west.


When the Thuringian districts were formed in the run-up to the administrative reform of 1952 , it turned out that none of the districts to be formed would be dominated by a characteristic branch of the economy. The amalgamation of a contiguous natural area in a common district area was also excluded. The layout of the district areas from the former state of Thuringia was therefore based on different administrative, economic, geographical, security-political and cultural-historical reasons, whereby, in contrast to some other districts, economic and geographical aspects did not come to the fore too much. A Thuringian “potash district”, which has been discussed in the meantime, could not be realized due to the scattered location of the potash deposits in the southern Harz and Werra districts . The choice of Erfurt as a district town was already clear at the beginning of the restructuring of the national territory due to the size of the city. In addition, Erfurt had the advantage of a relatively central location in the district.

In its first meeting on August 1, 1952, the Erfurt district assembly with its 75 members confirmed the chairman of the district council, Willy Gebhardt, who had been previously appointed by the SED .

The strikes in connection with the popular uprising of June 17, 1953 lasted in the Erfurt district until June 19. The largest center of the uprising was the district town, smaller centers were Rheinmetall Sömmerda, Gotha , Nordhausen , Mühlhausen and Weimar . After the crackdown on activities, four people from the districts of Erfurt and Gera were shot dead between June 18 and 20, 1953 . Since the SED in the Erfurt district was occupied early on by young functionaries who had no longer actively fought against National Socialism and older party members continuously held fewer functions, the party in the district found itself in a crisis situation after June 17, 1953. Some of the young leaders were overwhelmed by the situation; Among other things, the first secretary of the SED district leadership, Herrmann Stange, and the chairman of the district council were removed from office in Sömmerda.

Since 1958 Alois Bräutigam was at the head of the SED district leadership, who was considered a close confidante of Walter Ulbricht . He previously gained political experience as first secretary of the SED district leadership of Arnstadt between 1949 and 1950, from Weimar 1950 to 1951, of the SED city leadership of Erfurt in 1953 and 1954, and for three years at the head of the SDAG Wismut regional party organization. In the course of his administration, his activities and his management style, as well as that of some district secretaries of the party, came under increasing criticism, so that in April 1980 groom's term of office was ended. He was succeeded by the previous Second SED District Secretary of Neubrandenburg, Gerhard Müller .

Hopes for a new moral beginning were associated with Müller. He implemented new guidelines for the ideological orientation of party members in his district. On the occasion of the Karl Marx Year 1983, Müller set standards in the two Catholic-dominated districts of Heiligenstadt and Worbis that exceeded central requirements. So not only citizens willing to join the party should clearly acknowledge socialism and therefore leave the church, but also officials of the SED themselves. The course apparently paid little attention to the relationship between the SED and the church. Müller was then ordered to change the strategy from Berlin. The hopes associated with the person could hardly be maintained by 1985 at the latest.

Meanwhile, the construction of numerous prefabricated building areas in Erfurt and other smaller towns began. Inadequate communication between the building authorities combined with time pressure often led to the situation that apartments could only be moved in late or not at all, as parts of the infrastructure were not yet available by the time of completion. At the same time, reconstruction measures were initiated in the mid-1970s , in which the districts were to pay for buildings in East Berlin and the district towns for the district towns. These programs could not solve the problem of the continuous deterioration of the old building fabric. At the beginning of the 1980s, the district had around 44 percent of the total housing stock that was more than 80 years old, which is a comparatively high value. Of these, the state building supervision blocked around 4800 apartments due to the poor state of construction, 1300 were considered difficult to rent. The situation was especially precarious in Erfurt, Weimar, Mühlhausen, Gotha, Bad Langensalza and Arnstadt . Parts of old districts were planned for demolition, which in many cases did not happen due to lack of financial means.

coat of arms

Due to the seal order of the GDR of May 28, 1953, all regional coats of arms lost their meaning as brands or seals. However, the coats of arms of the cities and districts were still used on buildings or in publications without fulfilling an official function. The coat of arms of the Erfurt district used in some books actually shows the coat of arms of the city of Erfurt . The seal coat of arms of the GDR was official. It was not until the municipal constitution of the GDR on May 17, 1990 that municipalities and districts could expressly use coats of arms again and use them as seals.


Erich Mückenberger became the most important politician in the founding and development phase of the Erfurt district ; he was first secretary of the SED state leadership in Thuringia from 1949 to 1952 and also a candidate for the political bureau in 1950. When the district of Erfurt was founded, he became its first secretary.

In 1989 the SED had over 156,000 members and candidates in the Erfurt district party organization. The post of district secretary has often been filled by men who had previously shown authoritarian leadership. In the period from 1958 to 1980, Alois Bräutigam , a close confidante of Walter Ulbricht, was the first SED district secretary. He was followed in 1980 by SED politician Gerhard Müller, who had previously risen in the local party hierarchy in the Neubrandenburg district . Müller's disempowerment took place in the sessions from November 8-11, 1989.

Formal popular representation was the district day of the Erfurt district. It met for the last time on May 18, 1990.


The Erfurt district had a complex industrial and agricultural structure, which is why it was characterized as an industrial-agricultural district at the time . Thus, in contrast to some other districts, Erfurt did not have a dominant branch of the economy, only the shares of the individual industrial sectors shifted.


The wide-ranging industrial structure of the district mainly comprised machine and vehicle construction , electrical engineering , electronics , precision mechanics , optical devices, potash and rock salt mining , cement , leather goods , furniture and textile production , the food industry and the production of microelectronics that began in the 1980s . The district town itself provided around 25% of industrial production.


Agricultural products that defined the profile were wheat , sugar beet , vegetables and fruit . Intensive cattle breeding was also carried out . The foundations for agricultural use were mainly given in the Thuringian Basin, the Bad Langensalza , Erfurt , Sömmerda and Weimar districts retained their agricultural character until 1990.

Administrative division

The district comprised two urban districts and 13 rural districts :

uh District
circle Population on October 3rd, 1990 Number of
Area (ha)
at the
end of 1990
District no. from
1990 to 1994
all in all male Female
0932 .. Erfurt, city district 210474 99141 111333 1 10800 16001
0931 .. Weimar, city district 60542 28518 32024 1 5100 16005
0902 .. Apolda 47074 22053 25021 40 24298 16012
0901 .. Arnstadt 63873 30495 33378 46 50161 16013
0903 .. Eisenach 111618 53753 57865 69 70841 16016
0904 .. Erfurt country 46367 22756 23611 50 53349 16018
0905 .. Gotha 138724 66111 72613 63 76833 16020
0906 .. Heiligenstadt 42069 20142 21927 59 38553 16022
0907 .. Langensalza 45067 21777 23290 44 50661 16026
0909 .. Mulhouse 88690 42379 46311 50 57379 16029
0910 .. Nordhausen 105902 50759 55143 68 71421 16031
0911 .. Sömmerda 64555 31092 33463 47 55585 16038
0912 .. Sondershausen 52615 25313 27302 49 59802 16039
0913 .. Weimar country 43842 21197 22645 86 54332 16043
0908 .. Worbis 75132 36408 38724 54 55786 16044
09 District of Erfurt 1196544 571894 624650 727 734901 to the state of

The biggest cities in the district in 1984 were:

city Residents
Erfurt 214.955
Weimar 63,641
Gotha 57,673
Eisenach 51,044
Nordhausen 47.176
Mulhouse 43,286
Arnstadt 29,851
Apolda 28,725
Sondershausen 23,693
Sömmerda 23,455

With the re-establishment of the federal states on the territory of the GDR in 1990, the districts were dissolved. The Erfurt district was assigned to the state of Thuringia .

With the district reform, which was implemented in Thuringia on July 1, 1994 , larger administrative units emerged from the previous districts.

Government and party leaders

Chair of the District Council

First secretaries of the SED district leadership

Web links

Commons : District of Erfurt  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b "40 Years of the GDR" - State Central Administration for Statistics, May 1989
  2. ^ A b c d e Heinz Mestrup: On the history of the district of Erfurt . In: State Center for Political Education Thuringia (Hrsg.): Blätter zur Landeskunde . Info sheet 45.Sömmerda printing house, Erfurt 2004, p. 8 ( digital copy [PDF; 796 kB ]). Digitized version ( memento from December 9, 2011 in the Internet Archive )