Education for a socialist personality

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The education in socialist personality was the top priority of the educational system of the GDR , as in the GDR , as in the socialist "brother states" , the youth as the hope of the leading socialist party was.


The SED derived the legitimation for this form of education from its self-image. As a communist party, it has the scientific insights and necessary experience in the class struggle. On the basis of Marxism-Leninism , an education for the “scientifically founded, immovable 'class position'” and the partisanship for socialism was sought. The planned education for the new socialist man began in preschool age and permeated all subjects at all levels of the uniformly organized educational system. The value orientations and behaviors imparted in the educational process only fulfilled their function if they were in accordance with the goals of the party and the state. The education to the socialist personality was based on a dichotomous friend-enemy scheme, which bundled negative prejudices in the enemy image and made a differentiated assessment of what was identified as an enemy impossible.

The “socialist personality” is described in Section I (“The Development of Young People into Socialist Personalities”) of the GDR Youth Act of 1974.

The law defined the primary task of educating young people so that they could

  • are loyal to the ideas of socialism ,
  • think and act as patriots and internationalists and
  • Strengthen socialism and reliably protect against all enemies.

Respecting work ”, “ loving the Soviet Union ” and “ defending the borders ” (with armed force if necessary) were the main criteria for a socialist personality.

The law regulated in § 2 "The development of young people into socialist personalities is part of the state policy of the German Democratic Republic" and thus expressed that the indoctrination of young people was not only the task of the school but of all institutions of the state.

For children from six to nine years of age there were the "Commandments of the Young Pioneers", from the age of ten to fourteen the "Laws of the Thälmann Pioneers" (see pioneer organization Ernst Thälmann ), later the Ten Commandments of socialist morality based on the biblical Ten Commandments Ethics .

Instruments of the formation of the socialist personality were u. a.

The education to socialist personalities was also part of the media policy of the GDR. The Youth Act wrote “The press, radio, film and television of the German Democratic Republic are obliged to increase the quality and number of publications, programs and productions that meet the diverse interests of young people and the requirements of socialist youth education.” This also included Endeavor by censorship to prevent young people from critically examining the reality of socialism in the Eastern Bloc .

Individual evidence

  1. GDR - Myth and Reality ›Socialist Society and Education ( Memento of the original from February 11, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. cf. Andreas Gatzemann: The education to the "new" people in the youth work yard Torgau : A contribution to cultural memory, Lit Verlag 2008, p. 35
  3. cf. Andreas Gatzemann: The education to the "new" people in the youth work yard Torgau: A contribution to cultural memory, Lit Verlag 2008, p. 35
  4. Cf. Udo Margelant: Enemy images of socialist education in the GDR, in: From politics and contemporary history B 52-53 / 88, pp. 24-33
  5. Law on the participation of the youth of the German Democratic Republic in the shaping of the developed socialist society and on their all-round promotion in the German Democratic Republic - Youth Law of the GDR - of January 28, 1974



  • K. Reinschke: History of the GDR. Education for a socialist personality. in: IzPB 231/1991.
  • Ilko-Sascha Kowalczuk : What was the “socialist personality” ?, in: ders., The 101 most important questions of the GDR. Munich 2009. p. 43f.


  • Verena Zimmermann: Creating the new person. The re-education of difficult to educate and delinquent young people in the GDR (1945-1990). Dissertation, Böhlau 2004, ISBN 341212303X
  • Sabine Dengel: subject, comrade, socialist personality: political education in the German Empire, the Nazi state and the GDR , Campus Verlag; Edition: 1 (November 2005), ISBN 3593378728
  • Andreas Gatzemann: The upbringing to become a “new” person in the Torgau youth work center: A contribution to cultural memory. Lit Verlag 2008
  • Daniel Krausz: The re-education of difficult to educate and criminal youth in the youth work yards of the GDR. Hamburg 2009