German Economic Commission

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The building of the German Economic Commission in January 1949 on the corner of Leipziger Strasse and Wilhelmstrasse in Berlin ( Detlev-Rohwedder-Haus since 1992 )

The German Economic Commission (DWK) was the central German administrative body in the Soviet zone of occupation and, until October 7, 1949 - when the German Democratic Republic was founded - had functions similar to government.


The Economic Commission was established on June 11, 1947 in Berlin on the basis of Order No. 138 of the Soviet Military Administration in Germany (SMAD). It existed until the GDR was founded on October 7, 1949.

The central administrations established in 1945 for the various economic sectors, for finance, social affairs and other areas were subordinate to the commission through the SMAD. Central administrations for resettlers, statistics, interzone and foreign trade as well as sequestration and confiscation were added later. Home affairs, popular education and justice were not integrated into the commission. In principle, the central administrations remained independent of one another.

Members of the commission were the presidents of the central administrations for industry, trade, transport, agriculture and forestry, and fuel and energy. In addition, there were the first chairmen of the FDGB and the VdgB . At first there was no chairman of the commission itself.

The commission served to coordinate the central administrations. In addition, there was contact to SMAD and the securing of reparation deliveries .

Due to the economic crisis in the Soviet Zone and after the failure of the London Foreign Ministers Conference in December 1947, the commission was reorganized. By order no. 32 of the SMAD of February 12, 1948, it was authorized to issue ordinances and orders to the German organs in the Soviet Zone. There were now plenary sessions and a secretariat. In addition, a permanent chairman Heinrich Rau and two deputies Bruno Leuschner and Fritz Selbmann were installed. All three were members of the SED . They could make binding orders for the apparatus of the commission. The ten-person secretariat only had one representative each from the CDU and LDP , which helped the SED to expand its supremacy .

Economic management and planning have now also been attached to the commission. Also in 1948, the central offices were renamed Head Office and their number increased from 14 to 17. Since November 27, 1948, the number of members of the commission has risen from 38 to 101 people from the administration. In addition, there were now 48 representatives of the “population”, 15 representatives of the parties and 10 representatives of the mass organizations in the GDR such as the FDGB.

The DWK played a central role in the confiscation of assets in the Soviet Zone, for example by issuing implementing provisions for SMAD Order No. 201, which was based on Allied Control Council Directive No. 38 on denazification , or by issuing implementing provisions for SMAD Order No. 64. It gradually expanded its influence to include the entire economic life of the Soviet Zone, including the private sector, and the largely nationalized areas of agriculture, trade and banking, as well as other areas such as scientific research. It achieved considerable centralization even before the GDR was founded. The Secretariat of the Economic Commission finally had government-like functions. On October 7, 1949, the commission and the more than 10,000-member apparatus affiliated to it were absorbed into the GDR's "Provisional Government" .

Seat of the Economic Commission

The economic commission was housed in the building of the former Reich Aviation Ministry , today's Detlev-Rohwedder-Haus in Berlin.


  • DDR Handbook , Vol. 1, Cologne 1985, ISBN 3-8046-8642-7 , p. 276.
  • Bernd Niedbalski: German Central Administrations and German Economic Commission (DWK) - Approaches to Central Economic Planning in the Soviet Zone 1945-1948 , in: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte , Volume 33 (1985), Issue 3, pp. 456–477 ( online (PDF; 1, 1 MB))

Individual evidence

  1. SMAD commands at
  2. SMAD commands on
  3. SMAD Order No. 201 , DWK Implementation Regulations No. 1 to SMAD Order No. 201 at Wikimedia Commons , DWK Implementation Regulations No. 2 to SMAD Order No. 201 at Wikimedia Commons , DWK Implementation Regulations No. 3 to SMAD Order No. 201 at Wikimedia Commons as well as the decree of the chief of the German judicial administration of the Soviet zone of occupation in Germany at the DWK from September 18, 1947 to carry out the order No. 201 of the SMAD in Gerhard Fieberg / Harald Reichenbach (ed.): Expropriation and open property issues in the former GDR, Volume I, Cologne 1991, Document´
  4. DWK Guideline No. 1 to SMAD Order No. 64 , DWK Guideline No. 2 to SMAD Order No. 64 and Guideline No. 3 to SMAD Order No. 64 as well as a resolution on the termination of the activities of the sequestering commissions