Harich group

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Harich group . also Harich Group , was the originally discriminatory designation of the GDR judiciary and the GDR media, which had been brought into line, for those accused of criminal trials against the group of like-minded people and those around them.

In the course of the de-Stalinization , especially after Khrushchev's secret speech on the XX. As in Poland and Hungary ( Petőfi circles, clubs) in the middle of 1956, informal groups of Marxist intellectuals spontaneously formed at the CPSU party congress , who called for internal party reforms with predominantly national-communist objectives.

The Bloch Circle met in Leipzig, the circle of like-minded people around Walter Janka and Gustav Just , the Thursday circle around Fritz J. Raddatz and the circle around Fritz Cremer came into being in Berlin .

The circle of like-minded people , composed primarily of employees and authors of the Aufbau publishing house and the Sunday weekly newspaper , was the most important of these discussion groups. There were contacts with Georg Lukács , Ernst Bloch , Paul Merker and Johannes R. Becher . Wolfgang Harich , the “strongest in formulation”, was commissioned to summarize the results of the discussion. He wrote the platform for the special German road to socialism . The main content were the requirements:

  • Replacement of Walter Ulbricht as party and state leader,
  • free elections, freedom of expression and the rule of law,
  • full sovereignty of the GDR and withdrawal of Soviet troops,
  • economic reforms with the aim of increasing producer responsibility,
  • Rapprochement between the SED and the West German SPD - as a prerequisite for:
  • German reunification as a neutral, demilitarized state with a socialist character.

The platform should serve as the basis for a comprehensive internal party discussion and should be published in the party magazine Einheit . However, Harich gave a copy to the Soviet ambassador Georgi Pushkin in Berlin, from whom he promised support against the "Stalinist" Ulbricht. Pushkin informed him, however. Ulbricht warned Harich of further activities in a personal conversation, but he informed Rudolf Augstein and employees of the East Office of the SPD . West German media distributed the content of the platform .

As a result, Harich, Steinberger and the journalist Hertwig were arrested on November 29, 1956, and Janka a week later, on December 6. Just, the radio commentator Wolf and Heinz Zöger , who appeared as witnesses for Harich, were arrested in March 1957 in the courtroom.

In two show trials in March and July 1957 were convicted of "forming a conspiratorial anti-state group"

  • Wolfgang Harich on ten years in prison,
  • Walter Janka five years in prison,
  • Gustav Just and Bernhard Steinberger for four years each in prison,
  • Richard Wolf on three years in prison,
  • Heinz Zöger for two and a half years in prison and
  • Manfred Hertwig for two years in prison.

Attorney General Melsheimer insulted the main defendant:

“I think that in the course of my plea I have sufficiently described the nature of Harich, the person Harich, in all his cowardice and fear, in all his ambition, in all his presumptuousness, in all his arrogance, in all his careerism. He deserves a heavy sentence. A long-term re-education process is necessary at Harich. "

Harich repented and thanked the investigative bodies:

“It is clear to me that the State Security is to be thanked for protecting our state from greater damage [...] I would have been unstoppable. I was like a runaway horse that you can't stop by shouting. With these ideas in mind, I just went through it, and if they hadn't arrested me, I would not be ripe for the ten years that the attorney general applied for, but for the gallows. And that's why [...] I thank the State Security for that. "

Janka, however, steadfastly declared his innocence:

“The explanation I would like to make relates to the characteristic […] that I have become a hater of workers-and-peasant power, that I have betrayed my party, that I have devious plans, conspiratorial plans, counter-revolutionary ones Knowingly or consciously sought, pursued or supported plans to liquidate workers-and-peasants' power, to restore capitalism. I declare [...] that it is completely out of the question that I have become, or ever can become, a hater and a traitor to worker-and-peasant power. Of my 43 years of life, almost 30 years [...] are connected with the working class, with the communist movement [...] It is not an empty word that I would rather let myself be torn to pieces than make concessions and ever shake hands with capitalism would be enough. "

The leading personalities of the intellectual GDR elite, such as Anna Seghers , Helene Weigel and Willi Bredel , sat as listeners in the courtroom.


  • Siegfried Prokop: 1956 - GDR at a crossroads. Opposition and new concepts of intelligence ; Berlin: Homilius, 2006; ISBN 3-89706-862-1
  • Christoph Links ua (Ed.): Who was who in the GDR. A biographical manual ; Berlin: Chr. Links, 1995; ISBN 3-596-12767-X
  • Wolfgang Harich: No difficulties with the truth: on the national communist opposition in 1956 in the GDR ; Berlin: Dietz 1993; ISBN 3-320-01801-9 (on pp. 112-160 W. Harich's platform for a special German path to socialism )
  • Brigitte Hoeft (ed.): The trial against Walter Janka and others. A documentation ; Reinbek: Rowohlt, 1990; ISBN 3-499-12894-2

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c http://www.dradio.de/dlf/sendung/grundpolitik/602928/