Identity card (GDR)

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The identity card for citizens of the German Democratic Republic (PA) has served as the official ID document following the introduction of citizenship of the GDR previously in in 1967 SBZ and from 1949 in the GDR issued German passport from (DPA). In East Berlin , because of the four-power status, the "makeshift identity card" (as in West Berlin until 1990) was issued until 1953 , then the GDR identity card.

The identity card for GDR citizens from 1954, paper size 78 mm × 108 mm (approx.A7)
Application form and master card at the same time (index card A5)

Every citizen of the GDR was in possession of their identity card from their 14th birthday . The birth certificate was required to apply . Up to the age of 14, parents could apply for a child's passport , which allowed them to travel to the Czechoslovakia and Poland during the visa-free period .

The early version of the ID had twenty pages in a plastic cover , the later version only had twelve pages in a cardboard cover and had a transparent protective cover. In addition to the usual personal data and a passport photo , the identity card has contained a personal identification number (PKZ) since 1970 , which remained the same even when a new identity card was issued. Furthermore, children, changes of address and were marital status , validity - and other notices registered. When crossing the border, you sometimes received a stamp from the respective border crossing point . In the case of frequent trips abroad, a folding paper (officially "sticker", colloquially "accordion") was stuck to the last page, which, in addition to border stamps, could also contain other entries such as proof of currency exchange related to a stay abroad.

According to the law , the identity card was the most important document for a GDR citizen. He had to carry it with him at all times and show it on request. In principle, the ID was initially valid for ten years and then for twenty years, with adolescents up to a large deviation in appearance from the passport photo. From around 1978, ID cards had space for up to three passport photos.

During military service , the identity card had to be deposited at the registration office of the People's Police responsible for the main residence. The military service card then took over its function .

If the identity card was lost, a temporary identity card (PM 12) could be issued. In addition, for greater control combined with a travel ban, politically unpopular people (e.g. from the opposition youth culture or applicants for emigration ) and those released from prison could receive a PM 12 instead of an identity card with conditions . In times of visa-free travel, the PM 12 did not entitle you to cross the border. As a rule, owners of the PM 12 had to meet requirements, for example an obligation to report to the police. The PM 12 often meant the prohibition to leave or go to certain places or to change employers. The name arose from the P ASA and M eldewesen and the number (12) of the form.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989, visa entries were made in the identity card: a few days after the Berlin Wall opened, border controls were gradually resumed; Exit visas were, however, stamped into the identity card of GDR citizens without formalities and in some cases by additional aid centers at the Deutsche Reichsbahn near the border (e.g. train station at Berlin-Schönefeld Airport). Since February 1, 1990, according to a new travel law, holders of a GDR passport no longer required an exit visa, but ID cards still only permitted to leave the country with an exit visa. During the period between the opening of the Wall and the entry into force of the Unification Treaty , the GDR's identity card was also used for entries by the payment offices for the welcome money and finally, in the course of monetary union, for adding notes on account registration .

Pages 10 and 11 with a visa from the day after the opening of the border and stamps from border crossing points to West Berlin

From the 1970s onwards, most western countries accepted the GDR identity card as an identification document even without a visa. In reunified Germany , it remained valid as an identity card until December 31, 1995.


Web links

Commons : Identity Card (German Democratic Republic)  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Lexicon youth opposition from Robert Havemann Society eV and the Federal Agency for Civic Education, term PM 12 , accessed on July 27, 2019
  2. Law on trips abroad by citizens of the German Democratic Republic (Journal of Laws I p. 8) §§ 2, 16 (1990)