Fritz Lange (resistance fighter)

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Emil Alfred Fritz Lange (born November 23, 1898 in Berlin ; † September 16, 1981 there ) was a German communist , party official , resistance fighter against National Socialism and politician . In the GDR he was chairman of the Central Commission for State Control and Minister for Popular Education .


Fritz Lange was born on November 23, 1898 in his parents' apartment in Berlin at 7 Neue Schönhauser Strasse. His father was the businessman Otto Emil Alfred Lange, of Protestant denomination, his mother was Else Lange, née Graefner, of Jewish descent. Lange attended the Siemens secondary school in Charlottenburg from 1904 to 1912 and the preparatory institute and the teachers' seminar in Neuruppin from 1912 to 1917 . From 1917 to 1918 he took part in the First World War as a soldier .

In 1919 he completed a special course for war seminarists at Berlin University and passed the teacher examination. He was then an elementary school teacher in Berlin-Neukölln until he was released from school in March 1924 . He joined the USPD in 1919 and the KPD in 1920 and was in the Reich leadership of the Communist Children's Group from 1921 to 1924. From 1925 to 1928 he was a senior functionary of the Red Front Fighters Association and from 1925 to 1933 District Councilor for Berlin-Neukölln and City Councilor for Berlin. Lange was editor in the agitation and propaganda department of the Central Committee of the KPD from 1927 to 1933 and from 1930 to 1932 in the Reich leadership of the Kampfbund against Fascism.

He was arrested in March 1933 and was sent to the Sonnenburg concentration camp until October 1933 . Then he lived as a worker and commercial clerk until 1942. From 1935 he was active in illegal resistance, among others in the groups around Bernhard Bästlein and Wilhelm Guddorf . He was co-editor of the periodic illegal newspaper Die Innere Front , for which Hitler's opponents of various ideologies wrote articles. Long is therefore attributed to the groups around the Red Chapel . When the war began in September 1939, Lange was drafted into the Wehrmacht, but released as a "half-breed" after five days. On December 1, 1942, he and Martin Weise were arrested and sentenced on October 8, 1943 to five years in prison by the 2nd Senate of the VGH “for aiding and abetting high treason and favoring the enemy” . He was imprisoned until 1945, including in the Brandenburg-Görden prison .

From September 1945 to 1948, Lange was Lord Mayor of Brandenburg an der Havel . Then he was head of the Central Control Commission of the German Economic Commission and from 1949 to 1954 of the Central Commission for State Control . From 1949 he was a member of the People's Council of the Soviet occupation zone , which constituted itself as the Provisional People's Chamber when the GDR was founded in October 1949. From 1950 to 1958, as a member of the SED faction , he was a member of the People's Chamber . On the III. At the SED party congress in June 1950 he was elected as a candidate for the SED Central Committee . After the Volkskammer election in 1954 and the subsequent formation of a new government on November 19, 1954, he succeeded Hans-Joachim Laabs as Minister for Popular Education in the GDR. The Lange decree named after him ( order to ensure order and continuity in the education and training process of general schools ) resulted in religious instruction disappearing from schools in the GDR. Pupils should be protected from overload, so that extracurricular events could only take place two hours after the end of school. This did not apply to offers from the pioneer organization Ernst Thälmann. Furthermore, religious education was no longer allowed to be advertised.

An episode from his work as minister of education is the subject of an autobiographical book by Dietrich Garstka: According to Garstka, then a high school student in Storkow , his class had a minute of silence in 1956 because of the falsely reported death of the well-known Hungarian soccer player Ferenc Puskás in connection with the defeat of Hungary, which was falsely reported by the West Berlin RIAS -Riot lodged. The class visited Lange personally and threatened repression. After criticism at the fifth party congress of the SED in July 1958, he was no longer confirmed as a candidate for the Central Committee. On November 23, 1958, his 60th birthday, he was awarded a medal and, when the new government was formed in December 1958, Alfred Lemmnitz replaced him as minister of education. He then worked at the German Institute for Military History in Potsdam from 1960 to 1961 and retired in 1961.


The family had a daughter: Eva Lange studied law and specialized in administrative law. In 1951, in Halle an der Saale , the lawyer was commissioned to hold a lectureship in constitutional and administrative law at the law faculty of the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU). Her husband and Fritz Lange's son-in-law became the criminal lawyer John Lekschas , who also worked at the University of Halle until 1961 and then taught at the Humboldt University in Berlin .



Individual evidence

  1. ^ Birth certificate Fritz Lange, Berlin IX registry office, No. 2073, born in 1898, digitized from
  2. Materials from the German Resistance Memorial Center
  3. ^ Church yearbook for the Evangelical Church in Germany . No. 85 . Gütersloh 1958, p. 163 f .
  4. ^ Dietrich Garstka: The silent classroom. List, Berlin 2007. See also Sebastian Fischer: This is how a school class fled the GDR. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , February 4, 2017. Online . Martin Klesmann: Hungary 1956 - 50 years ago the Budapesters rebelled against the Stalinist regime. It is almost forgotten that the Hungarian uprising also spread to a high school in Storkow. The penalty for five minutes of silence. In: Berliner Zeitung , October 23, 2006. Online .
  5. ^ Neue Zeit , November 25, 1958, p. 2.
  6. Michael Stolleis: Socialist legality. Constitutional and administrative law studies in the GDR , Munich 2009, p. 51; ISBN 978-3-406-59207-2
  7. ^ Rolf Lieberwirth: History of the Law Faculty of the University of Halle-Wittenberg after 1945. Facts and memories , Cologne / Munich, 2008; ISBN 3-452-26840-3
  8. ^ New Germany , May 7, 1955, p. 2.
  9. Neues Deutschland , October 9, 1978, p. 4.