German border police
The German Border Police ( DGP ) was a paramilitary formation of the GDR - Interior Ministry to protect the East German border, mainly the inner-German border to the Federal Republic of Germany . The border police used firearms against border violators and refugees on orders . She participated in the Berlin blockade in 1948/49 and in the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961. In addition to the border police task, it was also supposed to fulfill a military function in the event of war, based on the Soviet model . After the wall was built, the German border police were transferred to the NVA border troops .
The problem of the German external borders and the demarcation lines of the occupation zones made it necessary to close and control the external and internal borders by troops of the victorious powers. The problems with the border policy at that time were the black market trade across sector borders and the channeling of the refugee flows. At the end of 1946, a border police with around 2,500 police officers was set up in the Soviet occupation zone (SBZ) on the orders of the SMAD . This initially acted as an auxiliary service to the Soviet occupation forces , with whom they operated and under whose command they were in service. In organizational terms, the border police were affiliated with the interior ministries of the respective countries in the Soviet Zone. The border police were set up at the federal state level and coincided with similar efforts in the western zones of occupation. By Soviet order of 1946, the use of firearms was initially only permitted for border police officers in the case of self-defense.
In 1948 various institutions were centralized in the Soviet occupation zone, including the border police. The border police was tied to a central institution with the German Administration of the Interior (DVdI) and withdrawn from the states. In the same year, political officers were assigned to the border police for the first time . Likewise, two directives of the DVdI in 1947 and 1948 extended the possibilities of the use of firearms, namely for the arrest of dangerous criminals. At the end of 1948, every border police officer was equipped with a firearm. During the Berlin blockade from June 8, 1948, the border police were responsible for interrupting the traffic routes to West Berlin via the Soviet Zone and monitoring the border between East Berlin and the Soviet Zone. The ring around Berlin established in this way became the permanent establishment of the border police and the security policy of the emerging SED regime.
As the intensity of the Cold War increased , the border regime became more restrictive and violations of it became more frequent. From July 1, 1949 to December 31, 30 people died on the border of the Soviet Zone or GDR, including members of the border police. From October 1949 to March 1950, the border police carried out around 154,000 arrests for violating the GDR border. In 1950 the border police units comprised around 20,000 men. In 1951, the establishment of sea-based readiness for coastal protection began.
In 1952 the border police were restructured based on the Soviet model. She was placed under the Ministry of State Security . In addition to the police role, the border police should also play a military role in the event of a possible attack by the Western powers and a subsequent counter-attack and be prepared for it. There was also a renewed tightening of the border regime. Five kilometers near the border were declared a restricted zone . Every GDR citizen staying here was required to have a pass. The unauthorized crossing of the border was punishable by a fine or up to two years in prison. If the suspect did not follow instructions, the border police were instructed to use firearms . From August 1952, civilian helpers from the border police provided support in securing the border.
In the summer of 1952, around 8,000 undesirable people were evacuated from the border strip by the border police. In October 1952, based on the Soviet model, the border police introduced military ranks instead of the previous police ranks. The previously blue uniforms were replaced by khaki uniforms. After the uprising of June 17, 1953 , the border police were increased again to around 30,700 police officers in 1954. At the end of the 1950s, in addition to the police equipment, the border police had around 1,600 anti-tank guns , 102 other guns, 18 anti-aircraft guns and 69 armored vehicles. The SED tried to deal with the moral and youth problems of the border police due to high fluctuation and desertion in the border police by increasing salaries and improving food.
On December 1, 1955, the border police took over the task of external security of the GDR borders entirely from the previously responsible Soviet troops.
On March 1, 1957, the command of the German border police was set up in Pätz . At the same time, a reform of the border security system of the DGP began, in which uniform structures and sufficient reserves were created. In addition, the DGP received more effective weapons.
Shortly after the sector border to West Berlin was closed by the Berlin Wall on August 13, 1961, in which the border police, along with other armed organs, was involved, the border police were subordinated to the Ministry of National Defense and transferred to the border troops of the NVA . Until then, it was not the border police who were responsible for monitoring the sector border, but the East Berlin People's Police. Thus the border associations of the GDR were now aligned with the Soviet model. When they were transferred to the border troops, the border police consisted of around 38,000 border police officers. By the time the Wall was built on August 13, 1961, 160 people had died trying to cross the border illegally, including 11 members of the border police and 1 Soviet deserter.
To prevent involvement in disarmament negotiations, the GDR's name was changed in the spring of 1971 , with which the GDR rulers wanted to express that they were not part of the NVA.
The reconnaissance department at the command of the DGP worked independently with unofficial personnel until December 31, 1961, and from January 1, 1962 it was integrated into the intelligence department of the Ministry for State Security .
Chiefs of the German border police
- 1952 Chief Inspector Richard Smolorz
- 1952–1955 General Inspector or Major General Hermann Gartmann
- 1955–1957 Colonel Heinrich Stock
- 1957 Major General Hermann Gartmann
- 1957–1960 Major General Paul Ludwig
- 1960–1979 Lieutenant General Erich Peter (from 1971 head of the GDR border troops)
- Stasi media library, collection of documents: German border police
- Torsten Diedrich , Hans Ehlert , Rüdiger Wenzke (eds.): In the service of the party. Handbook of the armed organs of the GDR. Ch. Links, Berlin 1998, ISBN 3-86153-160-7 .
- Gerhard Sälters: Border Police. Conformity, refusal and repression in the border police and the border troops of the GDR 1952 to 1965 (= military history of the GDR. Vol. 17). Ch. Links, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-386-15352-9-4 .
- Peter Joachim Lapp : Border regime of the GDR. Helios, Aachen 2013, ISBN 978-3-86933-087-7 .
- ↑ Torsten Diedrich: Die Grenzpolizei der SBZ / DDR (1946-1961) in Hans Ehlert, Rüdiger Wenzke (Ed.): In the service of the party - Handbook of the armed organs of the GDR , Berlin, 1998 pp. 202-204
- ↑ Torsten Diedrich: Die Grenzpolizei der SBZ / DDR (1946-1961) in Hans Ehlert, Rüdiger Wenzke (Ed.): In the service of the party - Handbook of the armed organs of the GDR , Berlin, 1998 pp. 205-208
- ↑ Torsten Diedrich: Die Grenzpolizei der SBZ / DDR (1946-1961) in Hans Ehlert, Rüdiger Wenzke (Ed.): In the service of the party - Handbook of the armed organs of the GDR , Berlin, 1998 pp. 208-212
- ↑ Torsten Diedrich: Die Grenzpolizei der SBZ / DDR (1946-1961) in Hans Ehlert, Rüdiger Wenzke (Ed.): In the service of the party - Handbook of the armed organs of the GDR , Berlin, 1998 p. 212
- ↑ Timeline of the military history of the German Democratic Republic. 1949-1984. Military Publishing House of the GDR, Berlin 1986, p. 146.
- ↑ Gerhard Sälter, Johanna Dietrich, Fabian Kuhn: Helmut Just . In: dies .: The forgotten dead. Fatalities of the GDR border regime in Berlin from division to the building of the Wall (1948–1961) . Ch.links, Berlin 2016, ISBN 978-3-86153-933-9 , p. 54
- ↑ Torsten Diedrich: Die Grenzpolizei der SBZ / DDR (1946-1961) in Hans Ehlert, Rüdiger Wenzke (Ed.): In the service of the party - Handbook of the armed organs of the GDR , Berlin, 1998 p. 218f
- ^ Peter Joachim Lapp: The border troops of the GDR (1961-1989) in Hans Ehlert, Rüdiger Wenzke (ed.): In the service of the party - Handbook of the armed organs of the GDR , Berlin, 1998 p. 248
- ↑ First as a colonel, from 1963 major general, 1969 lieutenant general, 1979 with the formation of the border troops colonel general . Source: Klaus Froh, Rüdiger Wenzke : The generals and admirals of the NVA. A biographical manual. 4th edition. Ch. Links, Berlin 2000, ISBN 3-86153-209-3 , p. 157 f.