Manfred Gerlach

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Manfred Gerlach (1986)
Manfred Gerlach with Justice Minister Hans-Joachim Heusinger (right) in December 1989

Manfred Gerlach (born May 8, 1928 in Leipzig , † October 17, 2011 in Berlin ) was a German politician . From 1967 to 1990 he was chairman of the LDPD , from 1960 to 1989 deputy chairman of the state council and from December 1989 to April 1990 the last chairman of the state council of the GDR .



After primary and secondary school, Gerlach became a judicial clerk in 1944. He was under youth arrest in March of the same year for founding an illegal youth group.

In 1945 he joined the Liberal Democratic Party of Germany. From 1947 to 1952 he was a member of the regional association of Saxony and a member of the advisory board for youth issues at the central association of the LDPD. Gerlach was deputy chairman from 1951 to 1953 and general secretary of the party from 1954 to 1967.

In 1946 he was a co-founder of the FDJ in Leipzig. From 1949 to 1959 he was a member of the Central Council of the FDJ. In 1949 he also became a member of the People's Chamber .

In 1951 to 1954, he completed a correspondence course, then his doctorate in 1964 at the German Academy of Law and Political Science "Walter Ulbricht" to Dr. jur. with the work function and development of the Liberal Democratic Party of Germany in the multi-party system of the German Democratic Republic . In 1984 he became a professor.


Since 1950 he was the city councilor of Leipzig, and on April 19, 1950 he was elected mayor of Leipzig by the Leipzig city council with 54 against 13 with 6 abstentions . He himself later recalled that he received all the votes from the SED representatives, but not all the votes from the LDPD members. From 1952 to 1954 Gerlach was deputy mayor of Leipzig and deputy chairman of the city council.

State councilor and party chairman

In 1961 Manfred Gerlach awards medals for building the wall .

From 1960 to 1989 Gerlach was one of the deputies of the State Council Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the People's Chamber Committee for National Defense. From 1967 to 1990 he was (as successor to Max Suhrbier ) chairman of the LDPD. As such, he was also a member of the Presidium of the National Council of the National Front .

On September 20, 1989, he was the first leading politician in the GDR to question the supremacy of the SED and to demand reforms. In the election of a new President of the People's Chamber on November 13, 1989, he was defeated by Günther Maleuda , as he received the support of the SED MPs. From December 6, 1989 to April 5, 1990, he succeeded Egon Krenz as Chairman of the State Council . After the first free elections in March 1990, the State Council was abolished.

Later years

In 1990 he became a member of the Bund Free Democrats , then the FDP . After the initiation of party exclusion proceedings in 1992 on charges of having denounced Leipzig LDPD members to the Soviet military authorities, Gerlach resigned from the FDP on November 23, 1993.

Investigations by the public prosecutor's office at the Berlin higher court against Gerlach on suspicion of deprivation of liberty resulting in death have been discontinued. In 2000, the Leipzig Regional Court declared him unfit to stand trial. Two years later, a trial took place before the Leipzig Regional Court in which Gerlach was accused of having denounced Werner Ihmels' group and other people to the NKVD . The proceedings were discontinued due to the statute of limitations.

Honors and memberships

On May 6, 1955, Gerlach received the Patriotic Order of Merit in silver, the German Peace Medal , in 1964 the Patriotic Order of Merit and the Star of Friendship of Nations , in 1988 the Karl Marx Order .

Gerlach was an employee of the Alternative History Forum Berlin in the Society for the Protection of Civil Rights and Human Dignity eV


  • A safe home for peace throughout Germany , Berlin 1961
  • We Liberal Democrats strengthen the socialist fatherland , Berlin 1966
  • Requests to speak on contemporary history . Book publisher Der Morgen , Berlin 1980
  • Statements about us and our time . Book publisher Der Morgen, Berlin 1985
  • Location determination . Book publisher Der Morgen, Berlin 1989
  • Jointly responsible: As a liberal in the SED state . Morgenbuch-Verlag, Berlin 1991, ISBN 3-371-00333-7
  • The manuscript that was not allowed to become a book , Berlin 2010, ISBN 3-8423-4331-0


Web links

Commons : Manfred Gerlach  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Last GDR State Council Chairman Gerlach dead. In: Berliner Morgenpost . October 18, 2011, accessed March 10, 2019 .
  2. Manfred Gerlach: Statements about us and our time. Buchverlag Der Morgen, Berlin 1985, p. 51.
  3. Manfred Gerlach: Why I am leaving this party. Open letter to Klaus Kinkel . In: New Germany . November 24, 1993. Retrieved March 10, 2019 .
  4. Gerlach left the FDP. In: New Germany . November 24, 1993. Retrieved March 10, 2019 .