Philipp Müller (communist)

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Philipp Müller's portrait at an FDJ memorial event in Leipzig, May 29, 1952

Philipp Müller (born April 5, 1931 in Neuaubing , † May 11, 1952 in Essen ) was a German worker and communist . He died when the police in Essen shot at participants in a demonstration against West German rearmament . It was the first time in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany that a demonstrator was killed by the police. In 1954, the Philipp Müller Medal named after him was donated by the FDJ as part of the Volkskammer elections in the GDR .


Philipp Müller came from a Catholic family, trained as a locksmith and worked in the Neu-Aubing railway repair shop . In 1948 he became a member of the then not yet banned FDJ in Munich and in 1950 of the KPD . He was involved in the socialist young workers active, a Munich alliance of falcons , Jusos , FDJ and anti-fascist groups.

In 1950 he drove as a delegate of the Munich FDJ to the Germany meeting of young people in the GDR and also took part in the III. World Festival of Youth and Students in East Berlin .

There he married Ortrud Voss from East Berlin. Their son Joachim was born in December 1951. Until his death he campaigned against the rearmament of the Federal Republic.

Events on May 11, 1952

In consultation with the Western Allies, the government of the Federal Republic of Germany planned rearmament and contractual military ties to NATO . After the preliminary arrangements at the Foreign Ministers' Conference in September 1951, the Treaty on the European Defense Community (EDC) was to be signed on May 26, 1952 . Against this plan resistance formed from left, communist and pacifist forces. The government of the Soviet Union tried with the first Stalin notes in March and April 1952 to stop developments. The GDR supported the actions of the opponents of rearmament through the KPD, the FDJ and the trade unions.

A conference of representatives of various youth organizations under the leadership of the local pastor Herbert Mochalski , a close confidante of the Hesse-Nassau church president Martin Niemöller , called on March 2, 1952 in Darmstadt for a "youth caravan against rearmament and general contract" on May 11, 1952 in Essen . On May 10, the Interior Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, Karl Arnold (CDU), who was also Prime Minister , banned the demonstration on the grounds that there were not enough police forces available due to further events. Many participants started their journey home. Nevertheless, around 30,000 people were found who organized smaller events at various locations in Essen, which were, however, disbanded by the police. In front of the Grugahalle , demonstrators resisted the demands of the police.

Commissioner Knobloch gave the demonstrators an order to shoot. It was later alleged that they shot the police, who were then forced to return fire. Two bullets from a police officer hit Philipp Müller, one of which hit his heart fatally. The social democrat Bernhard Schwarze from Münster and the trade unionist Albert Bretthauer from Kassel were also seriously injured by police bullets.

The Dortmund Regional Court classified the shots as self-defense in a judgment of October 2, 1952 . The use of firearms by demonstrators could not be proven. Dozens of youths were arrested, eleven of them later sentenced to prison terms of up to two years. Prime Minister Arnold stated:

“Since the resistance could not be broken by using the police batons [...] the firearm had to be used. Before firearms were used, the crowd was asked three times to stop throwing. "

The KPD members of the North Rhine-Westphalian state parliament applied for the establishment of a committee of inquiry on May 12, 1952, and the KPD member Heinz Renner in the Bundestag session on May 14, 1952, without success .


Müller's widow Ortrud at the FDJ parliament in 1952 (right, next to Erich Honecker)

Around 3,000 people came to Müller's funeral in Munich. In the GDR, the memory of him was used for propaganda in particular by the FDJ . Philipp Müller was referred to as a "German patriot" and a "national hero". The then 1st chairman of the FDJ, Erich Honecker , declared at a rally on May 16, 1952 in Berlin that the German youth would “not rest and rest until the murder of Philipp Müller was atoned for by the overthrow of the treacherous Adenauer clique is. "

The writer Kurt Barthel wrote a poem about Müller, the writer Paul Wiens and the composer Paul Dessau wrote a workers' fight song in memory of Müller, which was sung especially in the FDJ on political occasions.

In many places, public institutions were given the name "Philipp Müller". E.g. in Harbke the power plant, in Weißwasser the pioneer camp at Braunsteich , in Biesenthal the company children's holiday camp , company children's holiday camp from the waterway construction in Großzerlang, a school in downtown Weimar and a large number of agricultural production cooperatives . The company vocational school of the Cottbus Energy Combine in Falkenberg / Elster was called "Philipp Müller". In Dresden-Seidnitz , a smaller stadium next to today's Margon Arena bore his name (today officially Sportplatz Bodenbacher Straße), in Brandenburg an der Havel the building of the former FDJ youth club house bears the name “Philipp Müller”.

Philipp Müller family grave, Munich-Neuaubing

In several cities and communities in the GDR, including Jena , Greifswald , Günthersleben , Wechmar , Leipzig , Neubrandenburg , Schöneiche , Strausberg , Teltow , Grevesmühlen , Wismar , Johanngeorgenstadt and Baruth / Mark , streets and other facilities are or were named after Philipp Müller until 1990 . In Halle there was a Philipp-Müller-Straße from 1952, which was renamed Willy-Brandt-Straße on November 20, 2012. Philipp Müller Streets still exist in Gardelegen and Hohndorf today.

A feeder trawler with the fishing identification number ROS 419 of the Artur-Becker series also got its name.


Web links

Commons : Phillipp Müller  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Wolfgang Kraushaar : 50 years: Bundeswehr instead of peace. Protest against rearmament ; PeaceForum 6/2005
  2. ^ Reimo Tiedemann: 1952 ( memento of January 26, 2008 in the Internet Archive ); Website of the German Historical Museum.
  3. Michael Lemke: Nationalism and Patriotism in the Early Years of the GDR ; in: From Politics and Contemporary History, B 50/2000, footnote 21 with reference to the meeting of the Politburo on April 27, 1954, Annex 2 to Protocol 2/54, in: SAPMO-BArch, DY 30, J IV 2/2 / 358, p. 18.
  4. Michael Ludwig Müller: The GDR was always there: SED, Stasi & Co. and their influence on the Federal Republic. Olzog, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-7892-8356-7 , p. 38; limited preview in Google Book search
  5. ^ Ceremonial renaming of Philipp-Müller-Straße to Willy-Brandt-Straße. In: City of Halle (Saale), November 20, 2012, accessed on November 25, 2012 .