German People's Council

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Berlin, guest house of the German People's Council, 1949

The German People's Council was a political body in the Soviet occupation zone in Germany in 1948 and 1949 . As in the German People's Congress , the SED represented its all-German claim in the German People's Council.

First German People's Council

The First German People's Council emerged from the Second German People's Congress , which took place on 17./18. March 1948 met. It consisted of 300 voting members from the Soviet occupation zone. At the constituent meeting, another 100 people from the western zones were co-opted in order to underline the all-German claim.

The organization of the People's Council was based on that of a parliament (even if it lacked legitimacy through an election): A presidium was elected and committees were set up. Rules of procedure were given. While the bourgeois parties attached importance to the statement that the People's Council should not be a (pre-) parliament, the SED tried to present the People's Council as an all-German parliament.

The members of the People's Council were selected in such a way that the SED had an overwhelming majority. The SED itself provided 153 of the MPs from the Soviet occupation zone. In addition there were the members of the mass organizations , most of whom were SED members. CDU (55 members) and LDPD (56 members) had 111 seats. The SED also had an absolute majority in the Presidium and all committees. The SED also provided the committee chairpersons (with the exception of the Justice Committee (LDPD) and the Committee for a Peace Treaty (CDU)). The committee for agricultural issues was added later for the CDU.

Constitutional Committee

6th meeting of the German People's Council on March 18 and 19, 1949

A constitutional committee was formed in the People's Council, which, under the leadership of Otto Grotewohl (SED) , was supposed to draw up a constitution for the German Democratic Republic . In doing so, the committee should base itself on a draft drawn up by the SED in November 1946. The draft developed by the committee was approved by the People's Council on October 22, 1948 and formally adopted on March 19, 1949. The proposal was then referred to the Third German People's Congress for adoption.



The presidium had 20 members (SED 10, LDP 4, CDU 4, 2 independent, and 9 other members from the western zones)



  • Peace Treaty Committee
    • Chairman: Otto Nuschke (CDU), Deputy: Hermann Matern (SED)
    • 21 members (SED 4, CDU 3, LDP 2, FDGB 3, VdgB 1, DFD 2. FDJ 2, Kulturbund 2, VVN 2)
  • Constitutional Committee
  • Economic Committee
  • Justice Committee
    • Chairman: Helmut R. Külz , (LDP), Deputy: Hilde Benjamin (SED)
    • 22 members (SED 4, CDU 3, LDP 3, FDGB 3, VdgB 1, DFD 2, FDJ 2, Kulturbund 2, VVN 2)
  • Culture Committee
    • Chairman: Heinrich Deiters (Kulturbund) (SED), Deputy: Horst Brasch (FDJ) (SED)
    • 22 members (SED 4, CDU 3, LDP 3, FDGB 3, VdgB 1, DFD 2, FDJ 2, Kulturbund 2, VVN 2)
  • Social Policy Committee
    • Chairman: Bernhard Göring (FDGB) (SED), Deputy: (VVN)
    • 22 members (SED 4, CDU 5, LDP 3, FDGB 3, VdgB 1, DFD 2, FDJ 2. Kulturbund 2, VVN 2)
  • Committee on Agricultural Matters - Chair: Luitpold Steidle (CDU).

See also

Second German People's Council

Foundation of the GDR: The 9th meeting of the German People's Council took place on October 7, 1949 in the building of the German Economic Commission on Leipziger Strasse, at which the manifesto of the National Front of Democratic Germany was announced.

The Second German People's Council was determined by the Third German People's Congress , which took place on 29./30. May 1949 met. It met on October 7, 1949 and constituted itself as the GDR's provisional People's Chamber . The People's Council commissioned the former Social Democrat Otto Grotewohl to form a government. The founding of the GDR was complete.


  • Martin Broszat , Gerhard Braas, Hermann Weber (eds.): SBZ manual. State administrations, parties, social organizations and their executives in the Soviet occupation zone of Germany 1945–1949. Oldenbourg-Verlag: Munich 1993 (2nd edition), ISBN 3-486-55262-7 , pages 349-357
  • Deutscher Volksrat (Ed.): Deutscher Volksrat Informationsdienst , (series), Kongreß Verlag, Berlin 1948–1949.

Individual evidence

  1. SBZ manual, pages 321–322
  2. SBZ manual, page 356