Fritz Selbmann

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Friedrich Wilhelm "Fritz" Selbmann (born September 29, 1899 in Lauterbach (Hesse) , † January 26, 1975 in East Berlin ) was a party official , minister and writer in the GDR .


Fritz Selbmann, son of a coppersmith, worked underground at the age of 17, was a soldier in World War I and in 1918 a member of a workers 'and soldiers' council . In 1920 he joined the USPD and in 1922 the KPD . In the Weimar Republic he was arrested several times for political activity and sentenced to prison terms. From October 4, 1930 until his resignation on August 22, 1932, he was a member of the Prussian state parliament , 1932/33 a member of the Reichstag and political secretary in the districts of Upper Silesia and Saxony . On February 7, 1933, Selbmann took part in the illegal meeting of the Central Committee of the KPD in the sports store Ziegenhals near Berlin. In the same year he was arrested and survived National Socialism in prisons and concentration camps ( Sachsenhausen concentration camp and Flossenbürg concentration camp , see “ The Long Night ”, 1961).

Fritz Selbmann (left) and Otto Grotewohl (1949)

After the liberation from National Socialism, he held high positions in the SBZ (Deputy Chairman of the German Economic Commission ) and in the GDR (including Minister for Industry , later Minister for Heavy Industry and Deputy Chairman of the State Planning Commission and the Economics Council ).

On the occasion of the uprising of June 17, 1953 , he was one of the few prominent SED functionaries who faced the strikers in Berlin. When thousands of construction workers had gathered on June 16, 1953 in the square in front of the ministries' house on Leipziger Strasse to protest against the increase in their labor standards, he bravely went among the demonstrators and tried to come down to them from an office table speak. But the pent-up resentment of the workers was already too great. Even his announcement that the Politburo had just withdrawn the increase in norms failed to calm the angry crowd. His suggestion that he was a worker himself was met with strong rejection. Selbmann had to resign. The workers' protest that had begun turned into a popular uprising. In his presentation on June 21, 1953 at the party conference in Dresden, Selbmann described the uprising as an "unheard-of stain on the German labor movement" and compared it to the German attack on the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941.

1954 to 1958 Selbmann was a member of the Central Committee of the SED . Because of a “deviant attitude” he was pushed out of his political and state offices by Walter Ulbricht in 1958 in the environment of the so-called Schirdewan - wool weaver faction in the SED leadership and switched to writing. The struggles for the socialist plan fulfillment were his predominant motive.

Fritz Selbmann lived as a freelance writer in Berlin until his death, most recently in Müggelheim , where the school was named after him for a little over a decade from 1977. 1969–1975 he was one of the vice-presidents of the GDR writers' association . His urn was buried in the memorial of the socialists in the central cemetery Friedrichsfelde in Berlin-Lichtenberg .

His son Erich was a journalist and editor-in-chief of the current camera .


Memorial plaque in Lauterbach
  • In the GDR there were among others the training and recreation home of the state metal office Rheinsberg / Mark Untermühle (1965), the 16th high school in Berlin-Müggelheim (1977), the 88th polytechnic high school in Leipzig / Grünau (1980), the little one Hall of the house of miners and energy workers (1985), the VEB Gaskombinat "Fritz Selbmann" Schwarze Pump (1986) and the 24th Polytechnic High School in Hoyerswerda (1987) named after him.
  • In 1986 a street in Berlin-Hellersdorf got its name (since 1992 Maxie-Wander-Straße).
  • On May 6, 1955 Selbmann was awarded the Patriotic Order of Merit in silver.
  • A plaque on the house where he was born reminds of his work and creativity.


  • 1961: The long night
  • 1962: The Homecoming of Joachim Ott , novel, Mitteldeutscher Verlag, Halle / Saale ( filmed in 1980 as The Homecoming of Joachim Ott )
  • 1965: The sons of the wolves
  • 1969: Alternative, balance sheet, creed , autobiography
  • 1973: The Follower
  • 1999 (posthumous): Eight years and a day. Pictures from the founding years of the GDR , autobiography 1945–53

Film adaptations

Radio plays


Web links

Commons : Fritz Selbmann  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Ernst Kienast (Ed.): Handbook for the Prussian Landtag. Edition for the 4th electoral term. R. v. Decker's Verlag (G. Schenck), Berlin 1932, p. 487.
  2. List of participants
  3. ^ Heidi Roth, "Der 17. Juni 1953 in Sachsen" , special edition for the Saxon State Center for Political Education, p. 469