Socialist Free Trade Union

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Collection list (excerpt) of the Socialist Free Trade Union Hamburg
Letter to the military government in Hamburg to found free trade unions and dissolve the Socialist Free Trade Union
The first organization plan of the Socialist Free Trade Union

The founding meeting of the Socialist Free Trade Union (SFG) took place on May 11, 1945 or May 14, 1945 - the exact date is disputed. When the SFG was constituted, an executive committee (36 members) and a board (5 members) were elected. The composition of the board of directors and the executive committee there deepened the difference between the younger colleagues and the veteran union officials who had been responsible until 1933.

Executive Committee

The older union officials formed the majority in the executive committee; they sought a rather apolitical rebuilding of the union movement that had been crushed in 1933. Old organizational structures should be built on.


The majority of the board was dominated by the younger colleagues. They were more strongly shaped by the failure of the divided labor movement before the approaching National Socialism and, based on experience, strove for a completely new start with a strong unified union.

The venue was the trade union building at Besenbinderhof in Hamburg . The conference was chaired by Adolph Schönfelder . About 40 Social Democrats and Communists had gathered. Hellmut Kalbitzer , a member of the International Socialist Combat League , played a major role in the establishment . Around 50,000 applications for membership had been submitted within a few weeks.

Split of the SFG

A grouping out of the executive committee was formed around May 20, 1945, the so-called "heretic club" (split). This group, bypassing the board of directors of the SFG, contacted the British military administration and offered itself there as an alternative to the SFG - the unified union with the far-reaching political draft program. The British military accepted this offer. They considered it premature to found a political union and subsequently hindered the work of the SFG. On June 18, both groups signed a protocol "On the establishment of a free trade union in Hamburg". The British occupation authorities forbade political activities and with it this socialist organization on June 20, 1945. Only unions that called themselves politically neutral were allowed. The unified union was to be replaced by 13 independent unions.

Employee organization

When the founders of the new union drew up their first organizational plan, they put the "Commerce, Banks and Insurance" industrial group first, which was later expanded to include the savings banks. At the beginning of June 1945 an important and momentous decision was made by the SFG's organizational committee. At the suggestion of Franz Spliedt it was unanimously decided to organize only the workers in industrial groups, to remove the employees and to build them up as a special employee pillar in the SFG. After violent disputes over organizational principles, after the dissolution of the SFG, the German Salaried Employees Union emerged from it and it was separated from the DGB . This split was only overcome with the establishment of ver.di in 2001.


Web links

  • Holger Martens , ed. Working group of formerly persecuted social democrats (AvS), guide to the sites of persecution and social democratic resistance in Hamburg , part I: The inner city. Hamburg 2005, p. 47 f [1] (PDF; 1.7 MB) Accessed May 23, 2008

Individual evidence

  1. ^ IG Metall administration office Hamburg (ed.): "Don't wait for others, now lend a hand", VSA: Verlag, Hamburg 1995, p. 74.
  2. ^ IG Metall administration office Hamburg (ed.): "Don't wait for others, now lend a hand", VSA: Verlag, Hamburg 1995, p. 74.
  3. ^ IG Metall administration office Hamburg (ed.): "Don't wait for others, now lend a hand", VSA: Verlag, Hamburg 1995, pp. 74-75.
  4. Harald Schlüter: A brave step - The structure of the HBV trade union in Hamburg, publisher: HBV trade union Hamburg 1988, pp. 8-18