Otto Gotsche

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Otto Gotsche, 1961

Otto Gotsche (born July 3, 1904 in Wolferode ; † December 17, 1985 in Berlin ) was a German resistance fighter against National Socialism , a politician ( KPD , SED ) and writer .


Literature discussion with Otto Gotsche, 1966

Gotsche was the son of a miner and learned to be a plumber . He joined the KPD in 1919 at the age of fifteen. He was sentenced to prison terms in 1921 for participating in the March fighting and in 1923 as a KPD functionary for high treason . Until 1933 Gotsche was mainly active in the party districts of Halle - Merseburg and Wasserkante. In 1932/33 he was a city councilor in Harburg-Wilhelmsburg . Gotsche was arrested in March 1933 and held in the Sonnenburg concentration camp for several months . After he was released, he had to report to the local police station regularly.

Gotsche had been working as a plumber on various large construction sites in the Halle-Merseburg area since 1934, which gave him the opportunity to establish unobtrusive connections with other communists. From 1941 to 1945 he worked at Wintershall AG's Lützkendorf fuel plant .

After 1939 Gotsche built a resistance group that had its main focus in the Geiseltal and in 1942 merged with the illegal KPD organization in Eisleben led by Robert Büchner . From then on, the organization appeared as the Antifascist Workers' Group Central Germany (AAM) and was headed by Gotsche, Büchner, Klare and Adolf Jahns. In addition to its connections in the Mansfelder Land, the AAM had contact persons in Halle, Zeitz , Querfurt , Weißenfels , Erfurt , Gotha and some cities in the Rhine-Ruhr area; In the last years of the war it was one of the numerically strongest and best organized resistance organizations in the Reich. The AAM did not maintain closer ties to other large communist resistance groups, which contributed to the fact that the Gestapo did not succeed in penetrating the organization through informers until the very end . In March 1945, the AAM called for the establishment of armed combat groups and, at the beginning of April, formed an illegal citizens' committee in Eisleben with initially 26 members and a 120-man militia led by former RFB and Reichsbanner members, which started on April 13 shortly before the move of the US Army disarmed the police and occupied City Hall. Gotsche was initially appointed by American officers as district administrator of the Mansfeld lake and mountain district , but after a few weeks he was dismissed for "communist activities".

Immediately after the end of the war, Gotsche, Büchner and Werner Eggerath tried to build a party of the working people in the Mansfeld area , which was supposed to involve communists as well as social democrats and conceptually assumed an imminent "new revolutionary wave". According to Gotsche, this organization, which was still holding an illegal conference of delegates under American occupation in a cinema in Eisleben, soon had around 10,000 members. The circle around Gotsche and Büchner was surprised when it turned out in the summer of 1945 that the Soviet occupation authorities and the KPD leadership in Berlin insisted on the formation of separate workers' parties and rejected the political approach of the Mansfeld organization.

After the entry of the Red Army, Gotsche was appointed 1st Vice President in July 1945, and in March 1946 he was appointed President of the Merseburg administrative district as successor to Siegfried Berger , and in 1947 he moved to the Ministry of the Interior of Saxony-Anhalt as Ministerial Director . In 1949 Gotsche went to Berlin, where he subsequently worked for two decades in the closest environment of Walter Ulbricht . Gotsche was Ulbricht's personal assistant until 1960 and headed its secretariat in the Council of Ministers , then until 1971 the secretariat of the newly created State Council . In 1963 he became a candidate and in 1966 a member of the Central Committee of the SED , of which he was a member until his death. On May 6, 1955 Gotsche received the patriotic Order of Merit in silver as head of the secretariat from Walter Ulbricht.

Gotsche joined the League of Proletarian Revolutionary Writers in 1928 , after having regularly published reports in communist newspapers in previous years. His literary debut was the novel March Storms , which was first printed in 1933 but destroyed by the National Socialists. In 1953 it was published in an expanded version; a second volume was published in 1971.

His most important work, with which Gotsche went down in socialist literary history, is the novel The Flag of Krivoy Rog (1959). The book tells the story of the flag of the same name that was given to the Mansfeld miners by Ukrainian colleagues. This novel was staged as a TV chamber play by BK Tragelehn based on a script by Heiner and Inge Müller . In 1967 the work was filmed by Kurt Maetzig under the same title .

The book Our Little Trumpeter was also made into a film ; the film ran in 1964 under the title Das Lied vom Trompeter .

Grave of Otto Gotsche in the central cemetery Friedrichsfelde in Berlin

Gotsche was seen as a promoter of the GDR's writing workers' movement . For his work he received the National Prize of the GDR in 1958 , the Literature Prize of the GDR in 1959, the Erich Weinert Medal in 1964, the Karl Marx Order in 1965 and the Patriotic Order of Merit several times, the Gold Medal for the Patriotic Order of Merit in 1979 and the Order in 1984 Friendship star . His urn was in the grave conditioning Pergolenweg the memorial of the socialists at the Berlin Central Cemetery Friedrichsfelde buried.

Works (selection)

  • March storms. Roman, 1933/1953/1971.
  • Enigmatic cargo. 1932.
  • Pluto colliery. 1933.
  • Between yesterday and today. 1947.
  • Diary of the collapse. 1949.
  • In the 'golden' west. 1949.
  • Deep furrows , novel. 1949.
  • Between night and morning. 1955.
  • The treasure in house no.24. 1956.
  • The flag of Krivoy Rog. Roman, 1959.
  • On roads that we built ourselves. 1959.
  • Our little trumpeter. 1961.
  • Life is stronger. 1967.
  • Ardak and Schneedika. 1968.
  • ... and only have the anger. Roman, 1975.
  • The Hemmingstedter Battle. Roman, 1982.
  • My village. History and stories. 1982.
  • The strange siege of Saint Nazaire. Roman, 1979.


  • Critique of Others, A few remarks on the question of the qualification of our literature. 1932.
  • The March 1921 campaign in Central Germany and its historical significance. 1956.

Film adaptations

Web links

Commons : Otto Gotsche  - Collection of Images


  • Novel guides A to Z. Volume II / 1, People and Knowledge - Volkseigener Verlag Berlin 1974, p. 255.
  • Bernd-Rainer BarthGotsche, Otto . In: Who was who in the GDR? 5th edition. Volume 1. Ch. Links, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-86153-561-4 .
  • Jürgen Bonk: Otto Gotsche . In: Hans Jürgen Geerdts among others: Literature of the German Democratic Republic. Individual representations. Berlin 1976.
  • Wolfgang Friedrich: Paths to literature, literature and society, Otto Gotsche from working-class correspondent and writing worker to working-class writer. Hall 1960.
  • Maritta Rost, Rosemarie Geist: Otto Gotsche, bibliography for his 80th birthday. Leipzig 1984.
  • Rosemarie Preuss: Otto Gotsche. In: Gabriele Baumgarten, Dieter Helbig (Eds.): Biographical Handbook of the Soviet Zone / GDR, 1945 - 1990. Munich 1996, p. 235 f.

Individual evidence

  1. a b Klaus Mammach: Resistance 1939-1945. History of the German anti-fascist resistance movement in Germany and in emigration , Cologne 1987, p. 146
  2. Norman M. Naimark: The Russians in Germany. The Soviet Occupation Zone 1945 to 1949 , Berlin 1999, p. 309
  3. Andreas Schmidt: ... ride with you or be thrown off. The compulsory unification of KPD and SPD in the province of Saxony / in the state of Saxony-Anhalt 1945–1949 , Münster 2004, p. 38
  4. Allan Merson : Communist Resistance in Nazideutschland , Bonn 1999, p. 236
  5. Klaus Mammach: Resistance 1939-1945. History of the German anti-fascist resistance movement in Germany and in emigration , Cologne 1987, p. 374
  6. Norman M. Naimark: The Russians in Germany. The Soviet Occupation Zone 1945 to 1949 , Berlin 1999, p. 310.
  7. ^ A b Norman M. Naimark: The Russians in Germany. The Soviet Occupation Zone 1945 to 1949 , Berlin 1999, p. 311
  8. ^ Benser, Günter, The KPD in the year of liberation. Preparation and establishment of the legal communist mass party (turn of the year 1944/1945 to autumn 1945), Berlin 1985, p. 87.
  9. Erwin Könnemann among others: United on the way to socialism. History of the state party organization Saxony-Anhalt of the SED 1945–1952 , Halle / Saale 1986, p. 47 f.
  10. Werner Eggerath: The happy confession , Berlin 1975, p. 104 ff.
  11. Central Committee congratulates Comrade Otto Gotsche , In: Neues Deutschland , July 3, 1979, p. 2
  12. Neues Deutschland, May 2, 1984, p. 2
  13. About the book: Stefan Noack: The siege of the French port city of Saint Nazaire. Autobiographical and literary debates in the German post-war period. Bachelor thesis at the Free University of Berlin 2010, pp. 21–42.