Ministry of Popular Education (GDR)

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View from the Reichstag to the Ministry of National Education (1990)

The Ministry of Education of the German Democratic Republic (1989/1990 Ministry of Education and Youth , 1990 Ministry of Education and Science was) the highest authority for school administration and child care, and at the same time monitoring authority under its institutions such as the Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of the GDR , the Youth Courts or the Volk und Wissen publishing house . As such, it played the central role in the GDR's educational system . The Ministry was initially housed in the extension of the Prussian Ministry of Culture on Wilhelmstrasse ; From 1965 it was located in a neighboring new building with the address Unter den Linden 69-73, today's Matthias-Erzberger-Haus .

Foundation, structure and tasks

According to the results of current GDR research, the establishment of the Ministry of National Education as the successor authority to the German Central Administration for National Education was a complex process. The education historian Alexander-Martin Sardina has analyzed the files of the Soviet military administration in Germany and the Ministry of National Education in the Federal Archives and formulates in his dissertation :

“The Ministry of National Education did not automatically come into being when the state was founded on October 7, 1949, but was created by the government of the new state, which itself had to be formed first. In preparation for the establishment of the "Ministry of National Education" (cf. DR2 / 4146), competencies were gradually transferred from SMAD / SKK to the " Provisional Government of the GDR " in the fourth quarter of 1949 (for the individual dates and stages of the transfer of power, see Footnote 849). From October 14, 1949 (first cabinet meeting of the "Provisional Government of the GDR" [DC20 – I / 3/1]) to December 15, 1949 (ninth cabinet meeting [ibid]), all previously applicable orders of the SMAD relating to popular education were implemented Contribution of the DZVV, which was still active during these weeks (dissolved on December 31, 1949), converted into "ordinances and resolutions of the Provisional Government of the GDR". The "Ministry for Popular Education" then began its work on January 1, 1950. After the first elections in the GDR on October 15, 1950, the "Council of Ministers" was constituted on November 7, 1950, replacing the thirteen-month "Provisional Government of the GDR". The first meeting of the Council of Ministers took place on November 15, 1950 [DC20 – I / 3/36]. - The two factual files that document these months of conversion process (fragmentary) have been preserved in the archival corpus of the Ministry of National Education (DR2 / 689; DR2 / 1147) and their content is supplemented by the archived estate of Paul Wandel (NY4542; according to the business distribution plan in Art. 2 of the "Law on the Provisional Government of the German Democratic Republic" from October 7, 1949, first "Minister for National Education") and Alfred Lemmnitz (NY4288; 1958–1963 "Minister for National Education"), the memories of the processes included in this phase. The previously unpublished statements by the judiciary (1948–1972) Horst Krahn (* 1907, date of death unknown; see footnotes 543 and 853) on the history of the Ministry of Public Education are to be found as an unabridged full text in the appendix to this research paper (see page 558). "

- "Hello, girls and boys!" - Foreign language lessons in the Soviet Zone and GDR. Wolff Verlag , Berlin 2018, ISBN 978-3941461-28-4 . P. 485.

The ministry was responsible for organizing popular education in the GDR. This included pre-school education with kindergartens (from 3 years), general education, other school and extracurricular education and upbringing as well as youth welfare and home education .

Together with the Academy of Pedagogical Sciences , it defined the learning objectives and content and was responsible for developing curricula and teaching materials. The Ministry was responsible for the organization and planning of the educational sciences with the exception of vocational training and technical colleges and universities. It also formulated the goals and content of the education and training of the educators. The Ministry of Public Education exercised the service and technical supervision of the pedagogical universities.

The task of the ministry was to organize and guarantee a uniform socialist education and training for socialist personality . Therefore, the ministry also checked compliance with the requirements of general school policy in the area of ​​vocational training.

In Margot Honecker's era , the ministry was a special case: unlike in all other ministries, the minister was not responsible to the responsible Central Committee secretary, Kurt Hager .



  • Alexander-Martin Sardina : "Hello, girls and boys!" - Foreign language lessons in the Soviet Zone and GDR. Wolff Verlag , Berlin 2018, ISBN 978-3941461-28-4 .
  • Federal Ministry for Internal German Relations (Ed.): GDR manual. Vol. 2 (M-Z). Cologne 1985, p. 911 f.
  • Horst Krahn (1948–1972 legal advisor of the MfV): Some memories of the development of the Ministry of National Education (1985; in: »Hello, girls and boys!« , Pp. 558–595.)
  • Arpad Serner (1970–1988 head of the “Foreign Languages ​​Department” at the MfV): Interview with contemporary witnesses (2010; in: “Hello, girls and boys!” , Pp. 355–417.)

Web links

Commons : Ministry of Popular Education  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Alexander-Martin Sardina: "Hello, girls and boys!" - Foreign language lessons in the Soviet Zone and GDR. Wolff Verlag , Berlin 2018, ISBN 978-3941461-28-4 . Front cover flap.
  2. ^ Andreas Malycha, Peter Jochen Winters : History of the SED. Federal Agency for Civic Education, Bonn 2009, p. 210

Coordinates: 52 ° 30 ′ 57.6 "  N , 13 ° 22 ′ 53"  E