Gerhard Schmidt (agricultural scientist)

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Gerhard Schmidt (born September 26, 1926 , † June 17, 1953 in Halle (Saale) ) was a German agricultural scientist and victim of the GDR dictatorship. He was shot dead by police during the June 17 riot . The SED propaganda blamed “fascist provocateurs” for his death.


Gerhard Schmidt was the son of a lawyer and studied agriculture at the Martin Luther University in Halle-Wittenberg after the Second World War . After completing his studies, he was a doctoral candidate there . On June 17, 1953, he wanted to visit his in-laws with his recently married wife Verena. On the way to these he expressed his joy that the Stalin pictures in the city had been torn down. In front of the Red Ox prison they came into a crowd demonstrating for free elections. When they had passed it, the prison gate was ripped open and shot indiscriminately into the crowd, killing four people. Schmidt was hit in the lungs by a ricochet and died while being admitted to the hospital.

After his death it was recorded in a confidential police report that Schmidt had only been present by chance and was not a “ provocateur ”. It was decided to portray his death in the interests of the regime and to hide the truth. His wife was threatened to attend a state funeral at which the insurgents were blamed for his death. On the day of his funeral, the SED district newspaper "Freiheit" published the text:

“A horde of fascist provocateurs tried to storm the prison at the church gate using firearms. The fascist bandits incited the bystanders to participate in their coup d'état and shot anyone who opposed them. The childhood friend Schmidt, who expressed his disgust for these crimes, was struck down by them with a pistol shot. "

- "Freedom" of June 24, 1953

Erich Honecker sent Schmidt's wife a telegram in which he wrote of shameful warmongers who had murdered Schmidt.

Leo Stern and Herbert Funk from the University of Halle and Gerhard Friedrich from the agricultural faculty were present at the funeral service as official participants . Many of the allegedly 5,000 mourners were seconded by the police, the FDJ and companies.

On June 17, 2013, his and two other victims were commemorated by the students of the "Thomas-Müntzer-Gymnasium" in Halle. They moved from prison to his grave in Kröllwitz .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Federal Agency for Civic Education: Gerhard Schmidt at
  2. Hermann-Josef Rupieper: "... and the most important thing is unity": June 17, 1953 in the districts of Halle and Magdeburg , LIT Verlag Münster, 2003, p. 229
  3. Mitteldeutsche Zeitung : Remembrance of victims from June 17, 1953 , June 17, 2013