GDR justice

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GDR show trial of escape helper Harry Seidel , 1962

The GDR judiciary was the judiciary of the German Democratic Republic and, in the spirit of Marxist-Leninist legal theory, was seen less as a controlling body for state and private action, but rather as an enforcement body of the will of the ruling Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) . The ideal image of GDR law, in contrast to the market-based competition model that clearly emerged in Western law, was more the orderly and peaceful coexistence of all citizens. In the area of ​​non-political disputes, the GDR judiciary developed a considerable degree of efficiency and, due to the great willingness of the judges to deal with individual cases, even a certain closeness to the citizens in the decision-making process. In politically important processes, however, strict obedience to the party's guidelines was largely exercised. Oppositionists' rights have not only been severely curtailed in criminal proceedings. In the case of particularly important criminal proceedings, the SED intervened in the case law to the effect that the public prosecutor's office had to submit its judgment motions for approval. The SED could intervene directly or indirectly in the judiciary through various channels. In the late GDR, however, the judges and public prosecutors mostly orientated themselves to the legal norms and above all to the orientations of the case law. These were given by a secret committee, the head and deputy advisory boards of the highest judicial and investigative bodies with the participation of the Central Committee of the SED. Each institution essentially ensured that these guidelines were adhered to. The control of the political judiciary was therefore more indirect than z. B. in the Waldheim trials of 1950, where the SED had given individual judgments. In individual cases, however, the Minister for State Security personally discussed the process line with the General Secretary of the SED. Other interventions such. B. in the skinhead processes are known. According to the socialist state and legal theory (subject in the legal university education of the GDR), the state (apparatus), consisting of administration, police, justice and army, is an instrument of power of the ruling class . The legislation adapted in this way serves to maintain the power that has been won. In the consistent implementation of this teaching, the GDR judiciary was staffed and norms (laws and ordinances) were created for its actions. The judicial organs of the GDR were part of the " dictatorship of the proletariat ". This saw itself legitimized by the "socialist democracy", the essential part of which was the right to vote and submit submissions. After the forced unification of the KPD and SPD to form the SED , this party claimed to be practically the sole representative of the interests of the “working people” and influenced both the legislation and the staffing of the entire judicial organs.

Selection of judges and prosecutors

According to the SED, the judiciary had a special role to play “to educate the state and work discipline and thus to strengthen the self-confidence of our citizens”. Therefore, great importance was attached to the selection of “conscious comrades” for the judicial careers of judges and public prosecutors . You should first gain life experience in the national economy with a vocational training or a pre-study internship and were then delegated to the few law courses of the universities. The Ministry of Justice, the SED and the Stasi played a decisive role in the selection of law students, as well as in their later career guidance. The law course was one of the most regulated and politically ideologically oriented courses in the GDR , so courses such as Scientific Communism / Basic Theory of the History of the Labor Movement or Marxist-Leninist Ethics had to be taken. In the early years of the GDR, so-called people's judges were trained in courses lasting several months in order to quickly replace the burdened lawyers from the time of National Socialism . The judges "with a solid socialist personality and a firm class standpoint" were elected for four, later for five years at the suggestion of the Minister of Justice by the local people's representatives (council of the district or district), and judges at the Supreme Court by the People's Chamber , which in practice resulted in an appointment as hardly anyone was turned down. Because of this practice, the judges' positions were not overly sought after. Since a high percentage of the judges were members of the SED, they not only had to pronounce justice, but also “actively implement party decisions” and protect the “unity and purity of the party”. Anyone who was uncomfortable as a judge with their case law left the judge's office at the next election date or was (very rarely) dismissed and was allowed to work, for example, as one of the numerous legal officers in a company or an authority. In exceptional cases, the non-party-compliant judge was even sentenced, as in the case of the Teterow district judge Uwe Gemballa, who received a year and a half imprisonment for agitation that was dangerous to the state because he was too independent in his judgments. Likewise, lay judges and members of the conflict and arbitration commissions were elected.


At the end of the GDR there were around 530 lawyers , most of whom had been grouped together in colleges at district level since 1953. According to professional law, admission to the legal profession takes place through the admission decision by the college. In reality, the Ministry of Justice, SED and Stasi pre-filtered the applicants. Individual admissions were very rare (around 20 nationwide!) And were mostly granted to lawyers in whom the SED and Stasi were interested. Lawyer was also a privileged profession in the GDR with a fairly high income and relative independence. Of the income, 40% had to be paid as a lump sum to the lawyers (liability fund included). Up until the 1950s and 1960s there was a great deal of hostility towards lawyers in the judiciary, and public defenders had no real opportunity to influence , at least in political criminal proceedings . Since the end of the 1950s, the model of "socialist lawyer" applied. In the Honecker era, the proportion of SED members rose to well over 50%. A high proportion of lawyers had a relationship with the State Security as unofficial employees or something similar. In the districts it was 16.9 percent in the 1970s and 1980s and 34.8 percent in East Berlin. The party and the MfS use “lawyers of trust” for delicate missions. The ordinance, which had existed since 1953, replaced the Colleges Act in 1980.

From 1988 to 1989 Gregor Gysi was chairman of the college of lawyers in East Berlin and at the same time chairman of the council of chairmen of the 15 colleges of lawyers in the GDR. His deputy was attorney Hans-Dieter Ramstetter , chairman of the college of attorneys in the Leipzig district.

The GDR representative for humanitarian issues, lawyer Wolfgang Vogel , who was admitted to the bar in East and West Berlin, had a special position and received fees from the Federal Republic (in DM ). The defense attorney and publicist Friedrich Karl Kaul , who appeared sharp-tongued as a lawyer defending leftists before the federal German criminal courts , also played a special role . He was also the head of the legal advice program Ask Professor Kaul on GDR television .

A well-known lawyer in Berlin during the GDR era was Friedrich Wolff . He was a public defender in many political trials in the GDR, such as the show trials in absentia against politicians from the Federal Republic with a Nazi past before the Supreme Court of the GDR : against Theodor Oberländer (1960) and Hans Globke (1963). After 1990 he defended Erich Honecker (head of state and party of the GDR), Hans Modrow (last SED prime minister of the GDR) and Werner Großmann (last head of the GDR foreign intelligence ). Friedrich Wolff was also Kaul's successor with the television program “Alles was Recht ist”.

During the turnaround and peaceful revolution in 1989/1990, some prominent lawyers were involved in political parties and organizations and at the round table. Stasi allegations were raised against some. Gregor Gysi (SED / PDS) , Lothar de Maizière (CDU) , Wolfgang Schnur (Democratic Awakening), Rolf Henrich (New Forum) and Peter-Michael Diestel (DSU, CDU, at that time company legal advisor near Leipzig).

State security as a law enforcement agency

The Ministry of State Security (Stasi, Stasi) was in the GDR, in addition to police and customs , according to the Criminal Procedure Code of 1968, a private investigative body, that is a law enforcement agency. The Hauptabteilung (HA) IX (Central Investigation Department ), responsible, among other things, for investigative proceedings in all cases of political importance (e.g. Hauptabteilung IX / 11 (investigation and prosecution of Nazi and war crimes)) in the Berlin headquarters of the Ministry and the Subordinate departments IX in the MfS district administrations had the corresponding police powers. In addition, the MfS in Berlin and each district administration maintained its own U-detention centers in the form of its departments XIV. In the prison facility (StVE) Bautzen II , the MfS had officers in special assignments in key positions and thus special opportunities to intervene and control political prisoners. The special position of the MfS in Bautzen II earned this prison the name “Stasi prison”. However, Bautzen II was administratively subordinate to the Ministry of the Interior - like all penal institutions in the GDR . The staff consisted mainly of members of the German People's Police .


On the occasion of the anniversaries of the republic, amnesties were repeatedly granted for minor offenders, this happened in 1972, 1979 and 1987.

Social courts (conflict commissions and arbitration commissions)

"Social courts" were in the GDR with lay judges occupied courts of "socialist justice".

The two forms of social courts were that

The constitution of the German Democratic Republic of 1968 then regulated in Article 92:

"In the German Democratic Republic, jurisdiction is exercised by the Supreme Court, the district courts, the district courts and the social courts within the framework of the tasks assigned to them by law."

- Article 92, VerfDDR68 (emphasis not on original)

Administrative jurisdiction

In the post-war period , administrative jurisdiction was re-established in Thuringia , Brandenburg and Mecklenburg, but soon fell victim to the administrative reform of 1952 (although it was still provided for in Article 138 of the GDR constitution of 1949 ) . As a result of the Babelsberg conference , there was no judicial control of administrative activities. Instead, the input system was expanded for citizens' concerns . In 1971 the possibility of internal administrative appeals was created (technically comparable to the federal German objection procedure , but based on the enumeration principle ). New approaches to socialist administrative jurisdiction only came into force in July 1989 and were no longer effective in practice.

In the area of social insurance , there were complaints commissions of the FDGB and the state insurance . There was also an ecclesiastical administrative jurisdiction ; The clergy's pastoral workers were denied legal recourse to the state courts.

civil right

In the GDR, a distinction was made between civil law ( civil code including inheritance law ), family law ( family code ) and labor law ( labor code ) in the law applicable to the personal sphere of citizens . The socialist economic law ( contract law ) formed a separate area with its own jurisdiction ( state contract court ).

In the property law of the GDR according to the civil code (ZGB), the separation between the privately built building and the property (public property) was possible, which led to legal problems with the previous owners after the fall of the Wall in 1989 and the reunification . In most cases, however, the building owners were able to buy the property cheaply (so-called Modrow Law of March 7, 1990 ). Since there was no real estate or housing market worth mentioning (only assignment or exchange), land register and real estate law hardly played a role. In general, the property disputes were not as significant as they are today, as the material differences between people were not so great. Divorces were easy (without long maintenance obligations to the ex-spouse) and cheap, which is why the GDR had one of the highest divorce rates in the world, but also one of the highest marriage and remarriage rates.

Rule of law

Application of law

An independent judiciary with neutral judges as part of a bourgeois democratic system of separation of powers did not exist in the GDR. Many judges were also members of the legislature. The Supreme Court was the parliamentary organ of the People's Chamber . On the other hand, there was no judicial review right against laws of the People's Chamber. The separation of powers was also not intended, as it completely contradicted the socialist understanding of the state of “ democratic centralism ”. Rather, the judiciary was just one of the SED's means of power to build socialism in the GDR.

In the area of ​​politically motivated criminal law , arbitrariness prevailed, especially during the Cold War years . The punishment for " war and boycott agitation " was based directly on the GDR constitution in 1950 , although there was no concrete threat of punishment there. The criminal law amendment law of 1957 brought new facts . Typical state crimes with great scope for interpretation (colloquially "rubber paragraph") by judges and public prosecutors were, for example, B. " sabotage ", "anti-state trafficking" or "anti-state agitation" (§§ 104, 105, 106 GDR-StGB), "endangering public order through anti-social behavior" (§ 249 GDR-StGB), "hooliganism" or "Unlawful connection" (§§ 215, 219 GDR-StGB).

The right to the legal judge could be manipulated by the police and the Stasi due to the special place of jurisdiction of the place of pre-trial detention . Higher courts had the right to take any criminal case and public business distribution plans were unknown in the courts.

In the area of civil law , for example family and divorce law, the judiciary was largely predictable. The extrajudicial operational conflict and social arbitration commissions for the settlement of simple legal disputes were definitely groundbreaking. The honorary judges had an equal position to the professional judges.

With regard to the abolition of the criminal liability of abortion (§ 218 StGB of the Federal Republic of Germany ) or the criminal liability of homosexuality (§ 175 StGB), the GDR legislation was rather liberal in comparison. However, it was not until 1987 that the death penalty was abolished in the GDR, although it has not been carried out since 1981 ( Werner Teske ). In contrast, the formalized input system with its individual decisions that were not publicly verifiable had a rather arbitrary character. In jurisprudence, a dispute with a variety of commentary literature was largely unknown, the legal texts were short and easy to understand even for laypeople. There was a textbook and a commentary on the legal text, published by the Justice Department, and this had to be enough for training. Current debates were conducted in the semi-official monthly Neue Justiz .

Against the background of a lack of rule of law and arbitrary rule, the GDR is often referred to as an injustice state . However, this attribution is also criticized because it is considered politically motivated and the term was used for a long time primarily for Germany under the rule of National Socialism .

The opposite term in the terminology of the GDR to the rule of law, which was rejected as “legal formalism”, was “socialist legalism” (until 1958 synonymous with “democratic legalism”), which was also characterized by partisanship .

Judicial control

When it was founded in 1949, the GDR was faced with a problem similar to that of the National Socialists after they came to power in 1933: The law that had been in force until then was formally continued, but was to be adapted to the completely changed political requirements. In both systems, the judiciary fulfilled the expectations placed on it, but with the difference that the Nazi rule ended in 1945 after a good twelve years, almost six of them at war, while the GDR existed for around 40 years and thus much more time had to implement their ideological ideas of a socialist administration of justice.

In the context of the dialectically understood “socialist legality”, it was not the wording of the law according to a grammatical interpretation that was generally binding for traditional laws , but the political content as it was interpreted by the state. Since this often did not simply result from the deepest possible immersion in socialist theory, the judges were usually subject to direct political guidelines for acts with political relevance.

In detail, a very similar set of instruments was used as in the so-called Third Reich with the judges' letters .

As early as 1946, the first people's judges' courses began in the Soviet occupation zone , producing judges who were barely trained in law and who decided far more according to the “class point of view” than according to legal dogmatics.

In general, at the universities of the GDR, “ education to become a socialist personality ” was just as important a task as qualification for a particular profession. The socialist ideology should permeate the entire process of education and training.

So judges were available who had not been brought up in traditional techniques, but who openly felt their task to be political.

In order to control these already politicized jurists, an intensity of state judicial control was developed in the GDR that is not found in any other judicial epoch of the 20th century. This began with the selection of students at school and continued with an intensive politicization of legal training. Due to the dual position as judge and member in the party organizations, the judge remained integrated into a dual system of sanctions. In the court, the court director took on the mediation with the political authorities. In addition to his judgments, he also steered the proceedings through business distribution, weekly reports and one-on-one meetings. The Supreme Court influenced the lower courts not only through published decisions. It could collect judgments and decide differently. It controlled the lower courts via "weekly reports", file requests, inspections, meetings and debates. The Ministry of Justice and the Public Prosecutor General issued joint circulars in which they demanded "exemplary punishment" in individual cases. The involvement of the public prosecutor's office as the “guardian of socialist legality” in the civil process ensured political control in the negotiation.

In the case of politically unpopular people, influencing the judiciary extended to a vote with the Stasi and the government of the GDR.

The degrees obtained at the secret university of the Ministry for State Security in Potsdam-Eiche and comparable institutions therefore do not entitle you to work as a judge, public prosecutor or lawyer in the Federal Republic of Germany.

After reunification, through which the federal German legal system was adopted in the accession area (Article 8 of the Unification Treaty ), legal training in the new federal states was fundamentally restructured and adapted to the traditions of the free and democratic basic order .

Phase of socialist vigilante justice around 1960

Around the time the Wall was being built , the Central Committee of the SED introduced a kind of “socialist law of thumb”, an extrajudicial vigilante justice to nip politically inconvenient actions in the bud. The legal basis for this was a declaration of October 4, 1960 and the resulting judicial administration decision of January 30, 1961. According to this, the socialist society and thus also the individual citizen must take more active action against criminal offenses than before.

The ruling of the Potsdam-Stadt district court of January 15, 1959, also known as the “portable radio ruling”, is an exemplary precursor for this practice. A man had been listening to the “west station” RIAS on his portable radio receiver in the street when a passer-by asked him to switch to a GDR station. Because the radio owner did not comply with the request, the passer-by destroyed the device. The district court rejected the claim for damages on the grounds:

“According to § 228 BGB, the person who damages or destroys a foreign object is not acting illegally in order to avert an imminent danger caused by the foreign object for himself or for another. It can be proven that the plaintiff let the portable radio play so loud that other passers-by could also hear the RIAS hate speech. He was guilty of spreading agitation against our state. "

The verdict was published in the leading GDR legal newspaper Neue Justiz and was therefore a model for verdicts in the following years (see also “Aktion Ochsenkopf” ). Around the time the Wall was built, the GDR press also campaigned for vigilante justice. The headline in the Leipziger Volkszeitung on June 16, 1961: “Provocateurs are settled.” Subtitle: “Come on, come out if you want to dance.” The article praises the employees of the Eisenbau company, who had made a man ready for hospital because he wanted to toast the West politicians Ernst Lemmer and Willy Brandt, who were hated by the GDR regime, with a beer .

On August 13, 1961, Horst Schumann issued a "combat order" that took vigilante justice to extremes:

“There is no discussion with provocateurs. They are first beaten up and then handed over to state organs. [...] Anyone who makes even the slightest disparaging remarks about the Soviet Army , about the best friend of the German people, Comrade NS Khrushchev , or about the Chairman of the State Council, Comrade Walter Ulbricht, must in any case go to the Get the corresponding memorandum. "

Schumann was first secretary of the FDJ and a member of the committee of anti-fascist resistance fighters .

Organization and leading lawyers

v. l. To right: Hilde Benjamin, Minister of Justice, Attorney General Josef Streit and Heinrich Toeplitz, President of the Supreme Court, press conference 1962.

Ministry of Justice

(Forerunner: German Central Administration of Justice )


Building of the Supreme Court of the GDR, Berlin-Mitte
  • Supreme Court of the GDR in Berlin
    • Instruction of the lower court instances with guidelines (with the force of law), internal reports, theses, orientations and positions on the uniform application of law in the judiciary, this was conveyed to the judges by the directors of the district or district courts in weekly meetings;
    • each senate was headed by a chief judge
    • Presidents: Kurt Schumann (1949–60, NDPD), Heinrich Toeplitz (1960–86, CDU), Günter Sarge (1986–1989, SED)
    • Vice-Presidents: Hilde Benjamin (1949–1953); Vice President and Chairman of the College of Criminal Law: Walter Ziegler , (new: 1st Vice President) Günter Sarge (1977–1986)
    • Chairman of the College for Civil, Family and Labor Law: Werner Strasberg
  • District courts in all 15 district cities including Berlin
  • District courts or city district courts (the few bailiffs were alsolocated here)
  • Social courts : Conflict and arbitration commissions with honorary arbitrators

Public prosecutors

  • Attorney General of the GDR
    • The office of the attorney general was in Hermann-Matern-Strasse (today Luisenstrasse), Berlin-Mitte.
    • The public prosecutor's office was independent, i. H. not linked to the respective courts, and organized centrally. The attorney general elected by the People's Chamber was authorized to give instructions to the district attorneys appointed by him, the latter to the district attorneys appointed by them. After the dissolution of the states, the organizational structure followed the district and district structure of the GDR. The district and district attorneys were appointed after the approval of the first secretaries (heads) of the district or district leaderships of the SED.
    • There were also military prosecutors for the NVA . They had officer ranks and were assigned to the division headquarters . The chief military attorney was in charge. This was subordinate to the Attorney General.
    • The attorney general and the district attorneys each had relevant departments with several prosecutors. At the district level, there was then only a factual specialization assigned to individual public prosecutors.
    • The public prosecutor's duties consisted not only of prosecution, but also of general legal supervision (each with its own department at GDR and district level). As part of the general legal supervision, the decisions of the company conflict commissions were also subjected to a technical control by the district public prosecutors in order to ensure uniform application of the law and, if necessary, to identify operational problems as a basis for necessary measures of the general legal supervision. Objections to the decisions of the conflict commissions could be lodged with the district court. Violations of the law could be reacted to by notifying the operational manager (remedying defects with setting a deadline and obligation to inform about implementation).
    • Attorneys General: Ernst Melsheimer (1949–1960, SED), Josef Streit (1962–1986), Günter Wendland (1986–1989), Harri Harrland (1989/1990), Hans-Jürgen Joseph (1–6 / 1990), Günther Seidel (7-10 / 1990)
    • Deputy Attorney General: Günter Wendland (1964–1986), Karl-Heinz Borchert , from 1990 among others Peter Przybylski (long-time press spokesman / public prosecutor for public relations, among others in the DFF television program The public prosecutor has the floor ); Lothar Reuter , Hans Bauer , Hildegard Damerius a . a.
  • District Public Prosecutor (Public Prosecutor of the District ...), in Berlin: General Public Prosecutor of (Greater) Berlin
  • District public prosecutor (district public prosecutor ...), in larger cities with district divisions (e.g. Berlin, Halle, Leipzig): district public prosecutor

Military justice

  • Military college at the Supreme Court of the GDR
  • Military reports in Berlin, Leipzig, Neubrandenburg
  • Military courts in Berlin, Cottbus, Magdeburg / Stendal; Dresden, Erfurt, Halle; Neubrandenburg, Potsdam, Rostock, Schwerin
  • Military Prosecutors since 1956

State notary's office

  • since 1952 at the district courts and a few individual notaries

Most important prisons under the administration of the MdI

Prison "Roter Ochse" Halle (Saale)

The terms penitentiary used in the GDR (implementation of prison sentences of over 2 years - for criminal convictions) and prison (implementation of prison sentences of less than 2 years - for convictions) ceased to exist with the introduction of the StGB in 1968. From then on, the institutions for the execution of prison sentences for men referred to as penal institutions (StVE) and for women as penal departments (StVA).

The MdI and the MfS maintained their own pre-trial detention centers in all districts , the central pre-trial detention center of the MfS was in Berlin-Hohenschönhausen .

State Contracting Court

at the Council of Ministers of the GDR

Office for the legal protection of assets of the GDR (AfR)

at the Council of Ministers. It was headed from 1964 to 1982 by Hermann Kleyer (1911–1995).

Other relevant persons

Procedural statistics

Administration of justice Field of law 1970 1985
District and district courts Criminal matters (according to convicts) 63,214 a 59,574
Civil matters 30,606 55,280
Family law matters 65.507 88,356
Labor law matters   6,058 14,311
Social courts Criminal, labor and civil matters 65,905 93,330
Military courts Military criminal cases   1,571 760
State Contracting Court Commercial arbitration 30,565 ?
Complaints committees Social security matters   8,130 b 5,893
a 1970-74 average
b as far as FDGB: 1972

Major laws


Association of Jurists of the GDR (VdJ), founded July 16, 1949 in Berlin: President: usually the respective President of the Supreme Court; Vice-Presidents: Friedrich Wolff (1985–1990); Secretary General: Ulrich Roehl (1976–1990), Central Board and Secretariat; Member of the Association Internationale des Juristes Démocrates in Brussels

Society for International Law in the GDR , President Harry Wünsche (* 1929, † 2008), Secretary General from 1965, President 1973 to May 1990; from May 1990 elected President Reinhard Müller (* 1954); Vice-Presidents including: Herbert Kröger (1965-89); Gerhard Reintanz

The Society for Maritime Law of the GDR (1972–1990), Presidents: Jörgen Haalck (1972–1976), Ralf Richter (1976–1990); Vice-presidents including: Gerhard Reintanz .

State award: Medal Honored Jurist of the GDR , introduced in 1979 with a premium of 5,000 marks " for outstanding services in the consolidation of socialist legalism and many years of work in the administration of justice." Hilde Benjamin and Erich Mielke received awards

Legal training and research

Until the 1950s there was the traditional two-stage training as a student and trainee lawyer with two state exams, followed by the conversion to a qualified lawyer . Over the decades there have been many different attempts to combine legal theory and practice, so that the study regulations have been changed frequently. Access to the course was ultimately only possible within the framework of a delegation from the Ministry of Justice or the Attorney General. University training to become a qualified lawyer in four years (plus one year of assistance for future judges / public prosecutors and notaries): Universities with a legal faculty or section: Berlin (judges and lawyers, notaries), Jena (public prosecutors and temporary customs investigation), Halle and Leipzig ( Business lawyers).

The second university reform of September 1951 is considered to be another important turning point in legal training. The SED wanted to take from now on higher education solely in their own hands. Thus began the dismantling of the university self-administration in favor of a specially established 'State Secretariat, later the Ministry of Higher and Technical Education'. From 1974, in particular, legal training was at best a "secondary program" after several reforms. The share of political training increased to a total of 43% during the training period. Since the late 1960s, universities have been specializing. Judges, lawyers and notaries were trained at the Humboldt University in Berlin, public prosecutors in Jena and business lawyers in Leipzig and Halle.

Legal secretaries were trained at the legal college in Weimar .

The so-called Law University (JHS) or University of the Ministry for State Security in Potsdam-Eiche was the highest training facility for the training of Stasi officers, graduating with a degree in law. The training represented a legal degree only in name, not in content.

Research: German Academy for Political Science and Law "Walter Ulbricht" (ASR) in Potsdam-Babelsberg: Rectors: Herbert Kröger (1955–64), Gerhard Schüßler (1972–1984), Horst Steeger (1984–1990) Political scientists (employees in the state and party apparatus), institute for legal research, until around 1960 training of so-called people's judges, advanced training of judicial employees. Karl Polak (1905–1963), most recently a member of the Central Committee of the SED and member of the State Council, had a significant influence on socialist constitutional law and the structure of the state under Walter Ulbricht . In 1959 his standard work On Dialectics in the State Theory appeared .


"Our lawyers must understand that the state and the law it creates serve to enforce the policies of the party and government."

- SED chairman Walter Ulbricht at the so-called Babelsberg conference in April 1958

See also



Web links

GDR laws

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d Rainer Schröder : Justice in the German States since 1933 (forum historiae iuris, 1999)
  2. ^ Christian Booß: In the golden cage between SED, State Security, Ministry of Justice and client - the GDR lawyers in the political process . Göttingen 2017.
  3. ^ Walter Ulbricht on March 5, 1954, quoted from Falco Werkentin: Political criminal justice in the Ulbricht era. Berlin 1997, p. 48.
  4. Christian Booß: In a golden cage. Between SED, State Security, Ministry of Justice and client - the GDR lawyers in the political process . Göttingen 2017.
  5. ^ A b Siegfried Mampel: The socialist constitution of the German Democratic Republic. Frankfurt am Main 1982, p. 1261.
  6. a b quoted from Clemens Vollnhals: Power is the very first. In: Justice in the service of party rule. P. 235.
  7. Quoted from Karl Wilhelm Fricke: GDR lawyers in the conflict between obedience, refusal and resistance. In: Roger Engelmann, Clemens Vollnhals (Ed.): Justice in the service of party rule. Ch. Links, Berlin 1999, p. 223.
  8. Christian Booß: In a golden cage. The political judiciary and the lawyers in the Arä Honecker . Federal Agency for Civic Education , queried on June 10, 2020.
  9. ^ Text of the GDR Constitution 1968
  10. ^ Decree of the Council of State of the German Democratic Republic on the entries of the citizens and the processing by the state organs of February 27, 1961
  11. Law and Ordinance of June 24, 1971 ( Journal I No. 3 p. 49 and Journal II No. 54 p. 465 )
  12. Law on the Jurisdiction and Procedure of Courts to Review Administrative Decisions of December 14, 1988
  13. ^ Rainer Schröder: History of GDR law: criminal and administrative law (forum historiae iuris, 2004)
  14. ^ Rules of Procedure for Social Security of May 11, 1953 ( Journal of Laws No. 63, p. 698 ); Guideline on the election, tasks and working methods of the complaint commissions for social insurance of the Free German Trade Union Federation of February 21, 1978 ( Journal of Laws of I No. 8 p. 109 ); see. Art. 45 Para. 3 of the 1968 Constitution: "The trade unions manage the social security of workers and employees ..."
  15. Ordinance on the election, tasks and working methods of the complaint commissions for social insurance at the State Insurance of the German Democratic Republic (complaints committee regulations) of 4 May 1979 ( Journal of Laws of I No. 14 p. 106 )
  16. Martin Richter: Church Law in Socialism (2011), p. 135 (a total of approx. 40 to 60 decisions, p. 6 ); Example Mecklenburg : Church law on the establishment and composition of a court of law of December 2, 1955 or July 19, 1956 and April 29, 1957 ( KABl. 1957 p. 54 ); EKU-Ost (5 regional churches): Church law on ecclesiastical administrative jurisdiction (administrative court order) of May 11, 1974 (MBl. BEK 1974 p. 63); VELKDDR ( Thuringia , State of Saxony ): Church law on the arbitration board of June 9, 1983 ( KABl. Mecklenburg 1984 p. 25 ); see. Art. 39 para. 2 of the 1968 constitution: "Churches and other religious communities regulate their affairs ..."
  17. ^ District court Eisenach, decision of May 21, 1954, ZevKR 3 p. 416
  18. § 249 StGB of the GDR of January 12, 1968, also in the new version of December 4, 1988 (Journal of Laws of 1989 No. 3, p. 33) read:
    Paragraph I: Anyone who interferes with the social coexistence of citizens or public order and security by avoiding regular work out of work reluctance, although he is able to work, is punished with a suspended sentence, imprisonment or imprisonment for up to two years.
    Paragraph II: Anyone who engages in prostitution or in any other way interferes with public order and security through an anti-social way of life will also be punished .
  19. Verena Knauf: The civil decisions of the Supreme Court of the GDR from 1950–1958 (2007), p. 77
  20. Hans-Peter Haferkamp : Judge cultures in the 20th century - a sketch about the benefits of the GDR civil justice history. forum historiae iuris . First European internet journal for legal history. May 6, 2011.
  21. Hans-Peter Haferkamp: Judge cultures in the 20th century - a sketch about the benefits of the GDR civil justice history . forum historiae iuris. First European internet journal for legal history. May 6, 2011, margin no. 11.
  22. cf. Hubert Rottleuthner : Control of the judiciary in the GDR. KritV 1992, pp. 237-264
  23. ^ A b Hans-Peter Haferkamp: Judge cultures in the 20th century - a sketch about the benefits of the GDR civil justice history . forum historiae iuris. First European internet journal for legal history. May 6, 2011, margin no. 16.
  24. III. University reform, GDR Law Gazette, Part I of April 3, 1969
  25. Andrea Herz (Ed.): Not - in the name of the people. Political criminal law in the GDR 1949–1961 ( Memento of the original from May 17, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Sources on the history of Thuringia 29, 2008, p. 17: Joint circular order by the Minister of Justice and General Public Prosecutor of the GDR 121/50 (excerpt), September 14, 1950, ThHStA Weimar, Public Prosecutor of the Erfurt District, No. 21, p. 63 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
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  37. within the meaning of Article 92 of the 1968 Constitution
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