Council of Ministers of the German Democratic Republic

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The seat of the Council of Ministers was the old town house from 1955 to 1990 - the place where the GDR emblem hung is easy to see
Group picture of the GDR Council of Ministers in June 1981

The Council of Ministers of the GDR was the government of the GDR from November 1950 . According to the constitution of the German Democratic Republic, it was the highest executive body of the state and was formed exclusively by the SED and the parties united with it in the " Democratic Bloc ". In 1950 it consisted of 18 members, in 1989 it had 39 members.


In the power structure of the GDR, the Council of Ministers was only a subordinate authority for approving resolutions and bills of the SED leadership. On the one hand, the GDR government, like the government of the Federal Republic, had only limited sovereignty in the early years . Particularly with regard to questions of external relations, the options for making decisions were very limited and the government of the GDR was directly subordinate to the Soviet Control Commission .

The real center of power in the GDR was the Politburo of the Central Committee of the SED with its secretariats. It controlled the party and the government. A resolution of the Secretariat of the Politburo of October 17, 1949 illustrates the role it played:

"Laws and ordinances of importance, materials of any other kind on which government resolutions are to be brought about, further proposals for the enactment of laws and ordinances must be submitted to the Politburo or the Politburo secretariat for a decision before they are passed by the People's Chamber and the government."

In addition, departments were formed in the Central Committee of the SED in June 1950 that corresponded to the departments of the ministries. These specialist departments in the Central Committee of the SED were the actual decision-making centers. The Council of Ministers was chaired by a chairman (Prime Minister). There were two 1st Vice-Chairs and nine additional Vice-Chairs . Together with some specialist ministers, they formed the Presidium of the Council of Ministers . The Presidium prepared all decisions in consultation with the responsible departments of the Central Committee (ZK) of the SED and the SED Politburo. The secretaries and department heads in the Central Committee of the SED were able to give instructions to the ministers.

First Deputy of the Prime Minister were to turn in 1989 Günther Kleiber and Alfred Neumann , both members of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the SED. Alfred Neumann was previously Chairman of the Economics Council under Ulbricht . Other deputy chairmen of the Council of Ministers were leading representatives of the four bloc parties .

The Council of Ministers also included the chairman of the State Planning Commission , the President of the State Bank of the GDR and a number of State Secretaries, most of whom were themselves heads of offices at the Council of Ministers. All members of the Council of Ministers - including the ministers - were elected by the People's Chamber for a five-year term. The Presidium was the working body between the weekly meetings of the Council of Ministers. These took place regularly on Wednesdays to implement the resolutions of the Politburo meeting at the Central Committee of the SED on Tuesday. In the centralized state structure of the GDR, the councils of the districts and the councils of the urban and rural districts were subordinate to the Council of Ministers as additional administrative levels.

The Law Gazette of the German Democratic Republic was also published by the Office of the Council of Ministers . Since 1983 the electronic “Central Cadre Data Storage” (ZKDS) of the GDR has been run by the Council of Ministers. In addition, the Council of Ministers had the press office, which issued official government announcements and was responsible for the accreditation of foreign journalists in the GDR. Its long-time director was Kurt Blecha .

From 1950 to 1953 the seat of the Council of Ministers was the former Prussian Landtag , from 1961 the former Old Town House in Berlin-Mitte at Klosterstrasse 47. The ministries had their own buildings in Berlin. In the House of Ministries on Leipziger Strasse near the Berlin Wall , the specialist ministries of the economic sectors were brought together.

Chairperson of the Council of Ministers or Prime Minister

The chairmen of the Council of Ministers or Prime Ministers were:

No. Name (life data) image Taking office Term expires Political party
Prime Minister of the German Democratic Republic
1 Otto Grotewohl (1894–1964) Bundesarchiv Bild 183-19204-3150, Otto Grotewohl (recorte) .jpg October 7, 1949 September 21, 1964 SED
Chairwoman of the Council of Ministers of the German Democratic Republic
2 Willi Stoph (1914–1999) Federal archive Image 183-R0430-0305A, Willi Stoph.jpg September 24, 1964 3rd October 1973 SED
3 Horst Sindermann (1915–1990) Federal Archives Image 183-M1017-015, Horst Sindermann.jpg 3rd October 1973 November 1, 1976 SED
4th Willi Stoph (1914–1999) Federal archive Image 183-R0430-0305A, Willi Stoph.jpg November 1, 1976 November 7, 1989 SED
5 Hans Modrow (* 1928 ) Federal Archives Image 183-1989-1117-431, Hans Modrow, Dr..jpg November 13, 1989 April 11, 1990 SED / PDS
Prime Minister of the German Democratic Republic
6th Lothar de Maizière (* 1940 ) Maziere.jpg April 12, 1990 October 2, 1990 CDU

Head of the Office of the Council of Ministers were:

Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers


The ministries and ministers were:

Usual ministries

Ministry name Minister (party) Reign cabinet
Foreign Affairs Georg Dertinger ( CDU ) 1949-1953
Lothar Bolz ( NDPD ) 1953-1965
Otto Winzer (SED) 1965-1975
Oskar Fischer (SED) 1975-1990
Markus Meckel ( SPD ) 1990 Government de Maizière
Lothar de Maizière (CDU) 1990 Government de Maizière
Finances Hans Loch ( LDPD ) 1949-1955
Willy Rumpf (SED) 1955-1966
Siegfried Boehm (SED) 1966-1980
Werner Schmieder (SED) 1980-1981
Ernst Höfner (SED) 1981-1989
Uta Nickel (SED-PDS) 1989-1990 Modrow government
Walter Siegert (SED-PDS) 1990 Modrow government
Walter Romberg (SPD) 1990 Government de Maizière
Werner Skowron (CDU) 1990 Government de Maizière
Transportation Hans Reingruber ( Kulturbund der DDR ) 1949-1953
Erwin Kramer (SED) 1954-1970
Otto Arndt (SED) 1970-1989
Heinrich Scholz Fall 1989
Herbert Keddi (SED-PDS) 1989-1990 Modrow government
Horst Gibner (CDU) 1990 Government de Maizière
Post and telecommunications Friedrich Burmeister (CDU) 1949-1963
Rudolph Schulze (CDU) 1963-1989
Klaus Wolf (CDU) 1989-1990 Modrow government
Emil Schnell (SPD) 1990 Government de Maizière
Culture Johannes R. Becher (SED) 1954-1958
Alexander Abusch (SED) 1958-1961
Hans Bentzien (SED) 1961-1965
Klaus Gysi (SED) 1966-1973
Hans-Joachim Hoffmann (SED) 1973-1989
Dietmar Keller (SED-PDS) 1989-1990 Modrow government
Herbert Schirmer (CDU) 1990 Government de Maizière
Popular education
(until 1950 popular education and youth;
from 1989: education and youth)
Paul Wandel (SED) 1949-1952
Elisabeth Zaisser (SED) 1952-1954
Fritz Lange (SED) 1954-1958
Alfred Lemmnitz (SED) 1958-1963
Margot Honecker (SED) 1963-1989
Günther Fuchs (SED) 1989
Hans-Heinz Emons (SED-PDS) 1989-1990 Modrow government
Universities and technical schools Ernst-Joachim Giessmann (SED) 1967-1970
Hans-Joachim Böhme (SED) 1970-1989
science and technology Herbert Weiz (SED) 1974-1989
Peter-Klaus Budig (LDPD) 1989-1990 Modrow government
Health care
(until 1950: work and health care)
Luitpold Steidle (CDU) 1949-1958
Max Sefrin (CDU) 1958-1971
Ludwig Mecklinger (SED) 1971-1988
Klaus Thielmann (SED) 1989-1990 Modrow government
Jürgen Kleditzsch (CDU) 1990 Government de Maizière
Environmental protection and water management
(from 1990: environmental and nature protection,
reactor safety and energy)
Werner Title (DBD) 1971
Hans Reichelt (DBD) 1972-1990
Peter Diederich 1990 Modrow government
Karl H. Steinberg (CDU) 1990 Government de Maizière
Judiciary Max Fechner (SED) 1949-1953
Hilde Benjamin (SED) 1953-1967
Kurt Wishes (LDPD) 1967-1972
Hans-Joachim Heusinger (LDPD) 1972-1989
Kurt Wishes (LDPD) 1989-1990 Modrow
government de Maizière government

The ministries of the armed organs

Ministry name Minister (party) Reign cabinet
Ministry of the Interior (MdI)
(see People's Police , combat groups )
Karl Steinhoff (SED) 1949-1952
Willi Stoph (SED) 1952-1955
Karl Maron (SED) 1955-1963
Friedrich Dickel (SED) 1969-1989
Lothar Ahrendt (SED) 1989-1990 Modrow government
Peter-Michael Diestel (DSU / CDU) 1990 Government de Maizière
Ministry of State Security
since 1989 Office of National Security
Wilhelm Zaisser (SED) 1950-1953
Ernst Wollweber (SED) 1953-1957
Erich Mielke (SED) 1957-1989
Wolfgang Schwanitz (SED-PDS) 1989-1990 Modrow government
Ministry of National Defense
from 1990: Ministry of Disarmament and Defense
Willi Stoph (SED) 1956-1961
Heinz Hoffmann (SED) 1961-1985
Heinz Keßler (SED) 1985-1989
Theodor Hoffmann (SED) 1989-1990 Modrow government
Rainer Eppelmann 1990 Government de Maizière

The Ministries of the Industries

In addition to the departments customary in every government, the Council of Ministers was shaped by a large number of industrial ministries that were established from 1950. The State Planning Commission was a central organ of the Council of Ministers ("Plan Carrier 1st Level") to coordinate the work of the individual industrial ministries ("Plan Carrier 2nd Level"). In 1958, the ministries of industry were dissolved and in 1961 merged in the newly founded National Economic Council (VWR). The chairman of the VWR was Alfred Neumann (SED). These organizational changes took place in the course of the introduction of the New Economic System of Planning and Management (NÖSPL). The VWR was abolished in 1965 and individual industry ministries were set up again. As before, these were subject to the State Planning Commission.

Ministry name Minister (party) Reign
Ore mining, metallurgy and potash Kurt Fichtner 1966-1967
Kurt Singhuber 1967-1989
Electrical engineering and electronics Otfried Steger 1965-1982
Felix Meier 1982-1989
Coal and energy Klaus Siebold 1971-1979
Wolfgang Mitzinger 1979-1989
Chemical industry Siegbert Löschau 1965-1966
Günther Wyschofsky 1966-1989
Construction / construction Lothar Bolz 1949-1953
Heinz Winkler 1953-1958
Ernst Scholz 1958-1963
Wolfgang Junker 1963-1989
Gerhard Baumgärtel 1989-1990
Axel Viehweger 1990
Basic industry
Glass and ceramics industry Werner Greiner-Petter 1972-1983
Karl Grünheid 1983-1989
Materials management Alfred Neumann 1965-1968
Manfred Flegel 1971-1974
Wolfgang Rauchfuß 1974-1989
Tool and processing machine construction Rudi Georgi 1973-1989
General mechanical engineering, agricultural machinery and vehicle construction
(since 1990: mechanical engineering)
Günther Kleiber 1973-1986
Gerhard Tautenhahn 1986-1989
Karl Grünheid 1989-1990
Heavy machinery and plant engineering (since 1990: heavy industry) Fritz Selbmann (SED)
Rolf Kersten 1981-1986
Hans-Joachim Lauck 1986-1989
Kurt Singhuber 1989-1990
Agriculture, forestry and food industry Ernst Goldenbaum ( DBD ) 1949-1950
Paul Scholz (DBD) 1950-1955
Hans Reichelt (DBD) 1955-1963
Georg Ewald (SED) 1963-1973
Heinz Kuhrig (SED) 1973-1982
Bruno Lietz (SED) 1982-1989
Hans Watzek (DBD) 1989-1990
Peter Pollack 1990
Light industry Wilhelm Feldmann 1950-1958
Johann Wittik 1965-1972
Karl Bettin 1972-1988
Werner Buschmann 1978-1989
Gunter Halm (NDPD) 1989-1990
District-run industry and food industry Erhard Krack 1965-1974
Udo-Dieter Wange 1974-1989
Trade and supply Karl Hamann 1949-1952
Curt Wach 1953-1959
Curt-Heinz Merkel 1959-1963
Gerhard Lucht 1963-1965
Günter Sieber 1965-1972
Gerhard Briksa 1972-1989
Manfred Flegel 1989-1990
Foreign trade Georg Ulrich Handke 1949-1952
Kurt Gregor 1952-1954
Heinrich Rau 1955-1961
Julius Balkow 1961-1965
Horst Sölle 1965-1986
Gerhard Beil 1986-1990
geology Manfred Bochmann 1974-1989

Commissions equivalent to ministries

Name of the position in the Council of Ministers Minister (party) Reign cabinet
State Planning Commission Heinrich Rau ( SED ) 1950-1952
Bruno Leuschner (SED) 1952-1961
Karl Mewis (SED) 1961-1963
Erich Apel (SED) 1963-1965
Gerhard Schürer (SED) 1965-1989
Minister and Chairman of
the Workers 'and Peasants' Inspection Committee
Fritz Lange 1948-1958
Ernst Wabra 1958-1961
Hans Jendretzky 1961-1963
Heinz Matthes 1953-1977
Albert Stief 1977-1989
Head of the press office Kurt Blecha 1959-1989
Wolfgang Meyer 1989-1990 Modrow cabinet

Other government agencies of the Council of Ministers

In addition, independent state secretariats and central offices were directly subordinate to the Council of Ministers, among others

In some cases their leaders acted as members of the Council of Ministers.

New ministries from 1989/1990

Ministry name minister Political party Reign cabinet
Economy (from 1989) Christa Luft SED / PDS 1989/1990 Modrow cabinet
Gerhard Pohl CDU 1990 Cabinet de Maizière
Gunter Halm BFD 1990 provisional Cabinet de Maizière
Tourism (from 1989) Bruno Benthien LDPD 1989/1990 Modrow cabinet
Work and Wages (from 1989) /
Labor and Social Affairs (from 1990)
Hannelore Mensch SED / PDS 1989/1990 Modrow cabinet
Regine Hildebrandt SPD from April 1990 Cabinet de Maizière
Jürgen Kleditzsch CDU provisional from August 1990 Cabinet de Maizière
Family and women (from March 1990) Christa Schmidt CDU 1990 Cabinet de Maizière
Church issues (from 1989) Lothar de Maizière CDU until March 1990 Modrow cabinet
education and Science Hans Joachim Meyer CDU 1990 Cabinet de Maizière

See also

Web links

Commons : Council of Ministers of the GDR  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Files of the Council of Ministers in the Federal Archives .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Andreas Malycha, Peter Jochen Winters The SED: History of a German Party; Beck, Munich, ISBN 3-406-59231-7 , pp. 67, 70, 205, 211.
  2. ^ Siegfried Suckut, Parties in the Soviet Zone / GDR 1945–1952. Federal Agency for Political Education, Bonn 2000. ISBN 3-89331-384-2 , p. 83.
  3. ^ Andreas Malycha, Peter Jochen Winters The SED: History of a German Party; Beck, Munich, ISBN 3-406-59231-7 , pp. 78,190. see also Dierk Hoffmann, Otto Grotewohl (1894–1964): A political biography. Publications on SBZ / GDR research in the Institute for Contemporary History, Oldenbourg, Munich, ISBN 3-486-59032-4 , p. 392.
  4. a b c at the same time general director of the Deutsche Reichsbahn
  5. before: German Central Administration for National Education
  6. a b History of the GDR authorities ( Memento of the original from March 4, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . In: The Federal Archives . Article of April 13, 2010. Website of the Federal Archives. Retrieved October 11, 2011. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  7. ^ Helmut Müller-EnbergsBochmann, Manfred . In: Who was who in the GDR? 5th edition. Volume 1. Ch. Links, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-86153-561-4 .