Paul Essling

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Paul Eßling (born August 13, 1940 ; † December 31, 1982 in Klosterfelde ) was a German stove fitter and was known as a suspected "Honecker assassin".


The stove fitter and trained bricklayer Paul Eßling broke into Erich Honecker's motorcade on December 31, 1982 near Klosterfelde near Wandlitz, according to Stern, and allegedly tried to shoot at them. This is said to have led to an exchange of fire with Honecker's escort team, in which Essling shot himself. After the event was initially to be kept secret, the star reported on it twelve days later . The reporter Dieter Bub , who wrote the article entitled Das Assentat. Stove setter Paul Eßling, the man who wanted to shoot Erich Honecker. had written, was then expelled from the GDR.

According to a report from the GDR news agency ADN , Essling had committed suicide. But until after the fall of the Wall, it was also claimed that Honecker's bodyguards shot him. In October 1995, the Neuruppin public prosecutor came to the conclusion that an assassination attempt had never taken place; Eßling shot himself, however, anticipating arrest.

According to later representations, Eßling, drunk and armed with a pistol, initially took the right of way in Honecker's motorcade on highway 109 , so that the vehicles had to brake violently. Thereupon two bodyguards received radio instructions to stop Essling's Lada . Honecker's bodyguard Bernd Brückner first described the process in 2003 as follows:

“The vehicle with the suspect stopped and a member of the traffic police got out to check on the driver. This shot at the employee of the traffic police without warning and seriously injured him. His colleague shot back. At that moment, however, the suspect or the perpetrator had already shot himself. "

The Ministry for State Security (MfS) wrote in its top-secret final report that Eßling had not planned an assassination attempt, but had accidentally got into Honecker's convoy and finally shot in a panic at the police officers and finally at himself. Ten weapons and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition were found near Eßling. However, it is unclear whether those involved in the exchange of fire with Eßling were people's police officers or bodyguards.

The MfS organized Essling's urn burial under the greatest of secrecy.


  • Stern Magazin No. 3, Jan. 13, 1983
  • Jan Eik : Death of a stove fitter - The Honecker "assassination" from Klosterfelde . In: Special Occurrences. Political affairs and assassinations in the GDR . 5th edition. Das Neue Berlin, Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-360-00766-7 , pp. 156-189 .
  • Short biography for:  Essling, Paul . In: Who was who in the GDR? 5th edition. Volume 1. Ch. Links, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-86153-561-4 .
  • Dieter Bub : The Honecker assassination and other stories . In: The Honecker assassination and other stories. As a star reporter in the GDR . Mitteldeutscher Verlag, Halle (Saale) 2012, ISBN 978-3-89812-942-8 , p. 239-245 .
  • Jan Eik, Klaus Behling: Assassination attempt on Honecker and other special incidents . 1st edition. Jaron, Berlin 2017, ISBN 978-3-89773-814-0 , Wildost in Klosterfelde: The "assassination attempt" on Erich Honecker, p. 11-53 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Thomas Grimm, Florian Meesmann: Honecker attack ( memento from September 30, 2007 in the Internet Archive ). In: , December 5, 2003.