Herbert Häber

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Herbert Häber (right) with Erich Honecker , Oskar Lafontaine and Norbert Engel in Berlin (1982)

Herbert Häber (born November 15, 1930 in Zwickau ; † April 10, 2020 in Berlin ) was a German politician in the GDR . He was a member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the SED of the GDR.


Herbert Häber was born in 1930 in Zwickau, Saxony, into a working-class family.

In 1945, Häber was an unskilled worker in the Zwickau metal works. In 1946 he joined the FDJ and the SED . From 1947 to 1949 he was a member of the FDJ district association and the SED district leadership in Zwickau as well as a correspondent for the Soviet news office and the General German Intelligence Service . In 1949 he completed his studies at the state party school and was then party instructor and sector leader in the press and radio department of the SED Central Committee .

In 1951 Herbert Häber came to Berlin, just 20 years old at the time. Until the end of 1952 he worked as a political employee of the Western Commission at the SED Politburo and at the beginning of 1953 took over the management of the sector for all-German issues in the press and radio department of the SED Central Committee.

From 1954 to 1955 he studied at the party college of the CPSU in Moscow . He was then a sector leader until 1960 and a full-time employee of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the SED until 1965 as head of the Western Commission . From June to November 1965 he was deputy head of the western department of the Central Committee of the SED and until 1971 deputy of the state secretary for all-German issues.

From 1971 to 1973 he was director of the newly created Institute for International Politics and Economics (IPW). From 1973 to 1985 he was head of the Western Department or the then renamed Department of International Politics and Economics at the SED Central Committee. From 1976 to 1978 he was a candidate, until 1986 a member of the Central Committee and from 1984 to 1985 a member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the SED.

Häber received the Patriotic Order of Merit in bronze in 1964 , in 1966 in silver and 1980 in gold, and in 1970 the Order of Labor Banner .

Häber and Philipp Jenninger supported the secret German-German loan project " Zürcher Modell " in 1982/1983 , which was not implemented because Erich Honecker and Helmut Kohl supported the billion -dollar loan negotiated on the "southern rail" between Franz Joseph Strauss and Alexander Schalck-Golodkowski .

As head of the Western Department of the Central Committee of the SED, Häber had established close contacts with politicians in the Federal Republic. Honecker's dialogue policy and the desire for closer cooperation between the GDR and the Federal Republic made him the ideal advocate of Honecker's western policy in the Politburo. Its policy of German-German dialogue , however, met with clear resistance in the Soviet Union and especially from Chernenko and Ustinov .

In the early summer of 1984, Honecker pushed ahead with his plans for a state visit to the Federal Republic, which Moscow had already rejected. Häber should prepare the visit. In order to dissuade Honecker from his travel plans, the general secretary of the CPSU Chernenko ordered him to Moscow . At this meeting, however, Honecker wanted to convince Chernenko of the necessity of such a visit. “Write down all the reasons why a trip to Bonn is absolutely essential,” he said to Häber, who openly campaigned for a coalition of reason between the two German states and then wrote a policy paper.

Honecker had to cancel his planned trip to the Federal Republic.

“Chernenko's hidden threat that a deviation from the previous role of the SED as a follower of the CPSU could also have consequences for Honecker personally prompted Honecker to look for a scapegoat. He quickly found it in Herbert Häber. "

In 1985 Herbert Häber fell victim to an intrigue directed against him and his political goals. This combined the great power interests embodied by Chernenko and Ustinov with the instinct for political self-preservation of SED General Secretary Erich Honecker, who had trusted and supported Häber until August 17, 1985. In addition, it was not only the “Moscow faction” in the Politburo that turned against Häber, but also that the other members of the SED executive committee did not defend themselves against his expulsion, which was contrary to the statutes.

Häber was politically isolated. He suffered a nervous breakdown and was admitted to the government hospital in Berlin-Buch on August 18, 1985 , where Honecker dictated his resignation on September 16, “for health reasons”. The Central Committee of the SED released him on November 22, 1985 "at his own request" from the Politburo.

The reason given for his deselection was doubted in both East and West from the start.

Until March 18, 1986, Häber was then housed in the district hospital for psychiatry in Bernburg (Saale) . Then he worked until 1989 at the Academy for Social Sciences at the Central Committee of the SED.

In 1997 and 1998 Herbert Häber spoke about his role as a high-ranking party official at various scientific events and to press representatives. He repeatedly addressed the circumstances of his forced exit from political life under Soviet pressure - and with the direct and personal involvement of Erich Honecker and Erich Mielke . He drew a bow from the Moscow secret summit between CPSU General Secretary Konstantin Tschernenko and SED leader Erich Honecker on August 17, 1984, for which Häber had prepared the content for the SED General Secretary with an extensive written drafting of the Coalition of Reason Deselection from the SED Politburo and admission to a ward of the district hospital for psychiatry in Bernburg at the beginning of January 1986.

Häber last lived in Berlin-Köpenick . He died in April 2020 at the age of 89 in Berlin.

Processes after reunification

After German reunification , Häber occupied the judiciary for more than nine years : from the initiation of the proceedings by the Public Prosecutor's Office II responsible for prosecuting GDR government crimes at the Berlin Regional Court in January 1995 to the judgment of the 40th Large Criminal Chamber of the Berlin Regional Court on November 11th May 2004. In between are the acquittal ruling of the 32nd major criminal chamber of the Berlin regional court in the second Politburo trial on July 7, 2000 - against which the public prosecutor (in the Häber case, however, not the secondary plaintiff) had appealed - and the ruling of the Federal Supreme Court (BGH) in this case of November 6, 2002. In the second Politburo trial, Herbert Häber and the Politburo members Siegfried Lorenz and Hans-Joachim Böhme had to answer for manslaughter by failure. The 5th (Leipzig) Criminal Senate of the Federal Court of Justice overturned the judgment of the Berlin Regional Court and referred the matter back to another criminal chamber of the Regional Court for a new hearing and decision. This, the 40th Large Criminal Chamber, separated the case against Häber on March 25, 2004, whose case in the second Politburo trial was judged differently from the start, not least because of the statements of many contemporary witnesses - above all German politicians, historians and political observers than that of the two defendants and brought it to a conclusion on three days of the trial with the surprising judgment quoted at the beginning.

On May 11, 2004, Häber was found guilty by the Berlin Regional Court of inciting triple murder . As a member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the SED, the accused was (jointly) responsible for the deaths of three people shot at the former inner-German border, according to the court. Häber was not punished, however, since the accused had already campaigned for a moderation of the border regime while he was a member of the political leadership of the GDR and this resulted in considerable, personal disadvantages for him.



  • Paul Kohl : The Herbert Häber case. From the Politburo to Psychiatry. (Feature), directed by Holger Jackisch (Production: MDR / DLF / RBB 1999).
  • Ferdinand Kroh : From the Politburo to the madhouse. The Herbert Häber case . NDR / ARD, 2004

Web links

Commons : Herbert Häber  - Collection of Images

Individual evidence

  1. Former GDR top functionary Herbert Häber has died. In: rbb24.de . April 16, 2020, accessed April 16, 2020 .
  2. a b c d e f Detlef Nakath, Gerd-Rüdiger Stephan: The Häber Protocols: Spotlights of the SED “Westpolitik” 1973–1985 . Karl Dietz Verlag, Berlin 1999.
  3. High distinction awarded to Herbert Häber. In: New Germany . November 17, 1980, p. 2
  4. In: Berliner Zeitung . May 6, 1970, p. 6.
  5. ^ MDR time travel : The case of Herbert Häber. MDR, Deutschlandfunk 1999, MDR, October 15, 2009
  6. ^ The rejection took place on September 4, 1984; Andreas Malycha, Peter Jochen Winters : The SED: History of a German Party. Beck, Munich, ISBN 3-406-59231-7 , pp. 261 ff., 271-278.
  7. ^ Andreas Malycha, Peter Jochen Winters: The SED: History of a German Party. Beck, Munich, ISBN 3-406-59231-7 , p. 274.
  8. Former GDR top functionary Herbert Häber has died. In: Berliner Morgenpost. April 16, 2020, accessed April 17, 2020 .
  9. BGH 5 StR 281/01 of November 6, 2002 ( online ), decision database of the Federal Court of Justice, accessed on May 26, 2020.
  10. Peter Jochen Winters: The case of Herbert Häber . In: Germany Archive . Volume 37, No. 4 , 2004, p. 562-568 .
  11. ^ GDR functionary Herbert Häber guilty and still unpunished. In: Berliner Morgenpost . May 12, 2004, accessed April 17, 2020 .