SPD Berlin

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SPD Berlin
Michael Mueller
Michael Mueller
Logo SPD Berlin.svg
Chairman Michael Mueller
Deputy Ina Czyborra
Andreas Geisel
Iris Spranger
Julian Zado
Treasurer Angelika Schöttler
Manager Anett Seltz
Establishment date June 15, 1945 (SPD)
November 5, 1989 ( SDP )
September 26, 1990 (merger of SDP and SPD)
Place of foundation All Berlin (SPD)
East Berlin (SDP)
Berlin (unification)
Headquarters Müllerstrasse 163
13353 Berlin
Landtag mandates
Number of members 19,060 (as of October 2017)
Website www.spd.berlin

The SPD Berlin (official full name Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), Landesverband Berlin ) is the regional association and also the district of the Social Democratic Party of Germany in the city-state of Berlin .


The Berlin SPD at the beginning of the 20th century

The numerous working-class districts in the center of Berlin and the working-class strongholds of Prenzlauer Berg , Lichtenberg , Boxhagen-Rummelsburg and Wedding had established their own local or district associations at an early stage , which were divided into numbered departments. The lines saw their task in spreading the socialist ideas, especially those of August Bebel and Wilhelm Liebknecht, among the Berlin residents. There were Marxist workers' schools founded (mach) but which dealt not only with historical or current political content, but also on medical topics, the progress in science and technology and discussed course community affairs. They got involved in the annual May Day celebrations and on the occasion of elections in the German capital. After the merger of former Berlin neighbors and old Berlin to form the municipality of Greater Berlin , the VSPD district of Greater Berlin was created .

SPD election results in the Weimar Republic

Election to the
city ​​council
SPD result (in percent) Seats
1919 (old Berlin) 31.8 46
1920 ( Greater Berlin ) 17.2 39
1921 20.5 46
1925 32.6 72
1929 28.4 64
1933 22.0 50

After the November Revolution of 1918, the Berlin city council was determined for the first time in general elections. The SPD was the strongest party in the elections between 1921 and 1929. The strongholds of the party were the districts of Wedding , Prenzlauer Berg , Friedrichshain , Kreuzberg , Spandau , Tempelhof , Neukölln , Treptow , Lichtenberg , Weißensee , Pankow and Reinickendorf , where results over 30% were achieved.

Re-establishment after 1945 and establishment of the SED

After the Allies banned all German parties and mass organizations immediately after the end of World War II , the SPD district association (Greater) Berlin was able to re-establish itself on June 15, 1945. A central committee based in Berlin published on June 15, 1945 a call for the (re) establishment of the SPD in the Reich. On June 19, 1945 Max Fechner , Erich Gniffke and Otto Grotewohl were elected to the first board. Soon the central committee came into competition with Kurt Schumacher in Hanover. The Berlin district organization was formed from below through the foundings at sub-district level. On August 9, 1945, Hermann Harnisch was elected as first chairman and Werner Rüdiger as second chairman at the first regular party conference . The district party conference on November 25, 1945 also confirmed this election.

The internal party discussion in the first few months was shaped by the question of how to deal with the KPD . While the forced unification of the SPD and KPD to form the SED was enforced in the Soviet occupation zone (SBZ) , the SMAD was unable to achieve this unification in the four-sector city of Berlin. The SPD Berlin decided to hold a ballot on the unification. This was banned in the Soviet sector by the SMAD and could only be carried out in the West.

Memorial plaque for the state party conference in the Zinnowwald School

That March 31, 1946 vote resulted in an overwhelming opposition to immediate unification in the Western Sectors by 82 percent of the participants. At the same time, over 60 percent of the members spoke out in favor of close cooperation with the KPD.

A district party conference held on April 7, 1946 in Berlin-Zehlendorf was boycotted by those in favor of the association. On the other hand, they held their own party congress on April 13, 1946 in Berlin-Mitte and elected 35 members of the SED executive committee of Greater Berlin.

Since the activities of the parties were still subject to the control of the occupation authorities, at the request of the SPD, after long deliberations on May 31, 1946, the Control Council decided to allow both the SED and the SPD throughout Greater Berlin and instructed that the members should decide freely which party they wanted to belong to in the future. But that did not mean that the SPD could be politically active in the Eastern sector unhindered. As in the other countries of the Soviet Zone, the party work of the SPD was hindered there by intimidation, a lack of paper allocation and administrative harassment. On March 11, 1948, the city council decided with the votes of the democratic parties to protest against the obstruction of the work of the democratic parties in the eastern sector of the city.

The new city councilor Otto Suhr during his inaugural speech in 1946, in the background the representatives of the four allies

In the election of the city ​​council of Greater Berlin in October 1946 , in which the SED and the SPD stood up, the SPD won 48.7 percent of the vote against the SED with 19.8 percent, with a turnout of 92.3 percent of all eligible voters Percent, the CDU won 22.2 percent as a competitor and the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 9.3 percent. Otto Suhr (SPD) was elected President of the Berlin City Council.

Division of Berlin

With the end of the joint work of the Allied Command in Berlin on June 16, 1948 by the Soviet delegation, the Berlin blockade , the introduction of currency reform in East Berlin and the sealing off of the Eastern sectors, the work of the Berlin city council was also deprived of its basis.

On November 30, 1948, the 23 city councilors of the SED (together with around 1,600 delegates from communist-ruled organizations ( Democratic Bloc )) declared the magistrate to be deposed. A provisional democratic magistrate under the control of the SED was formed for East Berlin and thus the unified local government in East and West ended.

Thus the paths of the SPD Berlin divided into West and East, even if the joint regional association existed until 1961.

The SPD in East Berlin

Since 1947 the persecution of the democratic parties and politicians had become more and more intense. In October 1947 Wilhelm Mardus , the mayor of Friedrichshain , was recalled by the SMAD for “sabotage of wood deliveries”. Ella Kay , the head of the Prenzlauer Berg district office, was removed from office on December 8, 1947 after riots by SED sympathizers in the district assembly at the beginning of December.

As a result of the formation of the East Berlin magistrate on November 30, 1948, known as the “opera putsch”, around 2,000 city employees were dismissed; 55% of them were SPD members. The Berlin magistrate, now ruling only in West Berlin, dismissed the remaining SED administrative employees accordingly.

The regional committee of the SPD Greater Berlin determined on December 18, 1948 with reference to the declarations of loyalty required by the East Berlin magistrate: “No social democrat can recognize the city ​​Soviet in the Eastern sector ” and confirmed on February 26, 1949: “The regional committee takes the view that the ongoing dismantling of self-government by the city soviet makes further participation of social democrats in public functions of the eastern sector impossible. "

In addition to the dismissals, expulsion was also used: in March 1949, Kurt Exner , the previous district mayor, was expelled from his apartment in Prenzlauer Berg.

Organizationally, the SPD remained a joint regional association in East and West with twelve district associations in the west and eight in the east. However, the district associations in the east had to accept massive restrictions on their work. Participation in elections in the Soviet sphere of influence was not possible. These were conducted as sham elections with a unified list of the National Front . The party's public relations work was as impossible as public rallies.

The SPD Berlin made a demonstrative effort to make its claim to representation for the whole of Berlin clear. Each of the eight district associations in the east received one or two sponsor associations in the western part of the city. These district associations also put candidates from all eight East Berlin districts on safe list places in the elections for the city council and the House of Representatives .

For example, the Friedrichshain district chairman Kurt Neubauer was appointed a member of the German Bundestag in 1952, which at the time was the only resident of the Soviet sphere of influence. Margarete Berger-Heise , the district chairwoman of Berlin-Weißensee , was later also sent to the Bundestag as a member of the House of Representatives. Also a member of the House of Representatives was Rudi Müller , the district chairman of the SPD Lichtenberg, who received his mandate as a member of parliament elected in Neukölln.

In 1948, with the Socialist Action, an SED-affiliated inner-party opposition to the western course in the state party was founded. In the 1950s, the pressure on the SPD in East Berlin increased. In early 1952, the SED leadership closed the SPD district offices in East Berlin. This measure led to massive press coverage in the West. In order to limit the negative impact on the public, the district offices were released again and the measure was presented as a western lie in the GDR propaganda.

In 1953 the Social Democrats were intimidated with a wave of arrests. They were arrested and mistreated, for example. E.g. the district secretary Herbert Mießner from Weissensee, who was sentenced to three years in prison for Nazi propaganda and dissemination of inflammatory pamphlets, and the 71-year-old trade unionist Otto Hildebrandt from Prenzlauer Berg, who was sentenced to two years and six months in prison for fascist propaganda that was dangerous to peace and died in custody.

In addition to the arrests, the party bled to death from a large number of members who were forced to flee to the West. The wave of refugees had its climax after the failed uprising of June 17, 1953 . But even in the following years, the refugee movement did not ebb. In 1958 there were 140 members from East Berlin who fled to the West.

The SPD was the focus of observation by the Ministry for State Security . In 1957, eleven full-time employees in Department V, SPD department of the Stasi, were involved in observation.

In order to prevent the party from infiltrating, the East Berlin SPD demanded one, later two, and even three guarantors for new members. Due to the massive persecution, the flight and the limited opportunities for new entrants, the number of party members fell continuously. While the number of members rose from 9,641 in June 1946 to March 1947 to 15,019, it fell to 14,928 on June 30, 1948, to 7,621 on December 31, 1952, and to 5,237 on June 30, 1961.

When the Wall was built on August 13, 1961, the possibility of official work for the SPD in East Berlin ended. The SPD's district offices were closed by those in power and the party banned. On May 29, 1961, the last meeting of the joint state executive took place in Berlin-Lichtenberg.

On August 23, the state executive of the SPD decided:

"The measures since August 13 have made it impossible for the functionaries and members of the SPD in the Eastern Sector to maintain contact with the overall organization [...]."

The closure of the district offices and the reprisals and extortion resulted in the members of the SPD in the Eastern Sector being “in a situation that was untenable for them”. The eight district associations were declared dissolved and the members released from their duties towards the party. The SPD reserved its four-power status to establish a new company. The resolution ended with the words “We thank everyone. We don't forget anyone. We don't forget anything. "

In order to maintain contact with the Social Democrats on the other side of the Wall and to provide humanitarian aid in the event of persecution, the SPD had an east office in West Berlin from 1961 to 1989 . When they joined the newly founded SDP in the GDR in 1989/90, 600 social democrats still referred to their former SPD membership in the SPD East Berlin.

The SPD in West Berlin

On December 5, 1948, a final election to the Berlin city council took place in the western sectors. An election in East Berlin was forbidden by the SMAD. The SPD won the election under the impression of the blockade and airlift with 64.5 percent of the vote. In the election to the House of Representatives in December 1950, the SPD was still the strongest party with 44.7 percent of the vote. The main reason for the massive losses was seen as the temporary ebb of political tension in Berlin after the end of the blockade, as well as considerable wing disputes within the SPD.

Membership development

  • June 1946: 39,000 members
  • March 1947: 54,000 members
  • June 1948: 55,306 members
  • December 1952: 39,909 members
  • June 1961: 38,723 members

During the division of Berlin, the Berlin State Association was only in West Berlin.

With German reunification in 1990, the East SPD and the West SPD reunited. A new Berlin regional association was founded .

SPD election results from 1946 to 2016

House of Representatives election SPD result (in percent) Seats of the SPD
1946 48.7 63
1948 64.5 76
1950 44.7 61
1954 44.6 64
1958 52.6 78
1963 61.9 89
1967 56.9 81
1971 50.4 73
1975 42.6 67
1979 42.7 61
1981 38.3 52
1985 32.4 48
1989 37.3 55
1990 30.4 76
1995 23.6 55
1999 22.4 42
2001 29.7 44
2006 30.8 53
2011 28.3 47
2016 21.6 38

After the Second World War , the first and, for the time being, last Berlin-wide election for the House of Representatives took place in 1946. Between 1948 and 1989 this election was only possible in West Berlin; from 1990 the Berlin House of Representatives was re-elected throughout Berlin. In 1948 and between 1954 and 1975 the Berlin SPD won an absolute majority in the Berlin House of Representatives. (Source: State Returning Officer)


State chairman

Years Chairman
1945-1946 Hermann Harnisch
1946-1958 Franz Neumann
1958-1963 Willy Brandt
1963-1968 Kurt Mattick
1968-1977 Klaus Schütz
1977-1979 Gerd Löffler
1979-1981 Dietrich Stobbe
1981 Peter Glotz
1981-1985 Peter Ulrich
1985-1986 Jürgen Egert
1986-1992 Walter Momper
1992-1994 Ditmar Staffelt
1994-1999 Detlef Dzembritzki
1999-2004 Peter Strieder
2004–2012 Michael Mueller
2012-2016 Jan Stöß
since 2016 Michael Mueller

Group leaders

Years Chairman
1951-1958 Franz Neumann
1958-1973 Alexander Voelker
1973-1977 Wolfgang house
1977-1981 Franz Ehrke
1981 Klaus Riebschläger
1981 Alexander Longolius
1981-1983 Hans-Jochen Vogel
1983-1985 Peter Ulrich
1985-1989 Walter Momper
1989-1994 Ditmar Staffelt
1994-1999 Klaus Böger
1999-2001 Klaus Wowereit
2001-2011 Michael Mueller
since 2011 Raed Saleh

Top candidates

choice Top candidate
1946 Otto Ostrowski
1948 Ernst Reuter
1950 Ernst Reuter
1954 Otto Suhr
1958 Willy Brandt
1963 Willy Brandt
1967 Heinrich Albertz
1971 Klaus Schütz
1975 Klaus Schütz
1979 Dietrich Stobbe
1981 Hans-Jochen Vogel
1985 Hans Apel
1989 Walter Momper
1990 Walter Momper
1995 Ingrid Stahmer
1999 Walter Momper
2001 Klaus Wowereit
2006 Klaus Wowereit
2011 Klaus Wowereit
2016 Michael Mueller

Governing Mayor

Governing Mayor Walter Momper and Lord Mayor Tino Schwierzina , 1990

During this time they were appointed by the governing mayors: Ernst Reuter (1951–1953: coalition with CDU and FDP), Otto Suhr (1955–1957: deceased in office, coalition with CDU), Willy Brandt (1957–1966: coalition with CDU, from 1963 with FDP), Heinrich Albertz (1966–1967: coalition with FDP), Klaus Schütz (1967–1977: coalition with FDP, 1971–1975: sole government), Dietrich Stobbe (1977–1981: coalition with FDP until resignation the Garski affair ), Hans-Jochen Vogel (1981: coalition with FDP) and Walter Momper (1989 - reunification: coalition with AL )

Walter Momper (1990–1991: together with the previous magistrate of East Berlin, until November 19, 1990: coalition with AL , then sole government) and Klaus Wowereit (since 2001: coalition with the Greens from 2001 to 2002, with PDS from 2002 to 2007 and with the Left Party since 2007). In 2011, Wowereit was able to continue to govern with a new coalition partner, because the SPD remained the strongest party with 28.3 percent.

Wowereit announced in August 2014 that he would resign from his position on December 11, 2014. His successor was decided by a membership decision of the Berlin SPD. The state chairman Jan Stöß , the parliamentary group chairman Raed Saleh and the senator for urban development and mayor, Michael Müller, applied for his successor .

A total of 11,136 of the 17,200 members took part in the corresponding vote, which corresponds to 64.77 percent. Of this, Müller received 59.11 percent. The SPD state chairman Jan Stöß got 20.8 percent of the vote, parliamentary group leader Raed Saleh 18.6 percent.

Thus, on December 11, 2014, Müller succeeded Wowereits as Governing Mayor of Berlin .


From January 1991 to June 2001 the SPD formed a coalition with the CDU as a junior partner. During this time she provided the mayors Christine Bergmann (1991–1998), Annette Fugmann-Heesing (1998–1999) and Klaus Böger (1999–2001), the respective deputies of the Governing Mayor Eberhard Diepgen .

In the first three senates of Klaus Wowereit, the following SPD senators were also mayors of Berlin: Klaus Böger (2001–2002), Karin Schubert (2002–2006) and Ingeborg Junge-Reyer (2006–2011). In the fourth Senate Wowereit, Michael Müller was mayor of Berlin in addition to his position as Senator for Urban Development and the Environment. When he was elected governing mayor on December 11, 2014, Labor Senator Dilek Kolat took over the post of mayor in addition to her previous senatorial office.


The SPD of Berlin was not involved in the government in Berlin from October 1953 to January 1955 and from June 1981 to March 1989. This makes it the party that has ruled in Berlin (West) the longest since the end of the war. In Berlin since reunification, she has been involved in government without interruption, even if she has not always appointed the governing mayor.


  • Manfred Rexin : The SPD in East Berlin , page 2–30, Franz-Neumann-Archiv e. V. Volume 5, December 1989, The SPD in East Berlin 1946–1961
  • Siegfried Heimann : The SPD in East Berlin 1945–1961 ; in: Gerd-Rüdiger Stephan et al .: The parties and organizations of the GDR - A manual , 2002, pp. 402-425, ISBN 3-320-01988-0
  • Ditmar Staffelt: The reconstruction of the Berlin social democracy 1945/46 and the unity question , 1986, ISBN 3-8204-9176-7

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Political parties record strong membership increases. In: Der Tagesspiegel. September 27, 2017. Retrieved October 22, 2017 .
  2. ORGANIZATIONAL STATUTE (OrgStatut). (PDF; 680 kB) In: SPD.Berlin. January 2014, p. 10 , accessed on May 3, 2019 .
  3. Ursula Hermann: From the everyday life of a workers 'association 1891 to 1901. The social democratic workers' association of Lichtenberg-Friedrichsberg in minutes and reports. , FIDE Verlag Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-931363-17-8
  4. Lea Engel (1895–1994) SPD membership book from January 1st, 1923, accessed by "44Pinguine"
  5. ^ Otto Büsch, Wolfgang Haus: Berlin as the capital of the Weimar Republic 1919-1933, 1987, ISBN 3110101769 , page 66, online
  6. ^ Ballot: The results. In: SPD.Berlin. Retrieved July 8, 2018 .
  7. ^ Pp. 474-475
  8. Anjana Buckow: Between Propaganda and Realpolitik: The USA and the Soviet Occupied Part of Germany 1945–1955 , Franz Steiner Verlag, 2003, ISBN 3-515-08261-1 , p. 196.
  9. ^ The Regional Returning Officer in Berlin: Election results for the 1946 City Council ( Memento from May 7, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  10. ^ Siegfried Heimann: East Berlin Social Democrats in the early 1950s.
  11. Birgit Monteiro: The semi-legal party. The East Berlin SPD from 1958 to 1961
  12. ^ Results of the parliamentary elections in Berlin
  13. ^ Association of Active Museum e. V. (Ed.), Put in front of the door - Berlin city councilors and members of the magistrate persecuted under National Socialism 1933–1945 , Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-00-018931-9 , p. 215.
  14. ^ The State Returning Officer for Berlin - Berlin elections 2011 - results by region - second votes - table of results. In: wahlen-berlin.de. Retrieved September 19, 2011 .
  15. Berlin: Michael Müller wins SPD membership decision to succeed Wowereit - ZEIT ONLINE