Republic Day (GDR)

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Foundation of the GDR on October 7, 1949 in Berlin

The Day of the Republic, also the national holiday of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), was the state holiday of the GDR and was celebrated on October 7th from 1950 to 1989 .


The day commemorates the 7th October 1949 at which the field of Soviet Occupation Zone , the German Democratic Republic was constituted , just half a year after the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany after the adoption of the Basic Law on 23 May 1949th

The Admiralspalast in Berlin in festive decorations for Republic Day 1950

On Republic Day, the national prizes of the GDR were awarded to deserving artists, scientists, technicians and activists.

FDJ celebrations for Republic Day in Friesack , 1969
Generals Stechbarth (left) and Keßler (right) in their GAZ-13 Tschaika parade vehicles in 1988 at the NVA parade on the 39th anniversary of the GDR

Annually on this holiday, the military parade in front of the party and state leadership in Berlin and demonstrations by members of the working class combat groups , FDJ members and working people in all district and district towns took place. The military parade took place on Karl-Marx-Allee in East Berlin between Alexanderplatz and Strausberger Platz . Since this military presence was in contrast to the four-power status , the military parades regularly led to protest notes from the western victorious powers (see also: Berlin question ). The last military parade was in 1989. There was also a naval parade of the NVA navy . On the occasion of the Republic Day, special stamps were issued every five years for the GDR's national birthday.

Since the 1970s, the day has increasingly become a public holiday, without demonstrations, but with the character of a festival .

On October 7, 1977 , a rock concert by the band Express took place on Alexanderplatz. Nine young people who climbed the walls of the Berlin television tower fell into a ventilation shaft. Rescue workers who wanted to come to their aid were hindered by other concert participants. As a result, there were violent clashes between the young people and the People's Police on Berlin's Alexanderplatz . In this context, further conflicts erupted, and many of the young people called out a. "Down with the GDR!" Or "Give Peace a Chance". The police arrested a total of 486 concertgoers, many of whom were sentenced to prison terms of up to three years. From today's perspective, the arrested young people had to accept disproportionately harsh judgments for their rebellion and were criminalized , mostly in accordance with Section 215 of the Criminal Code (hooliganism). The events of the Republic Day on October 7, 1977 at Berlin's Alexanderplatz was the largest spontaneous youth protest in the GDR in which thousands took part and which was directed against the restrictive policies of the SED government.

On the last “republic birthday ” in 1989, Mikhail Gorbachev said, referring to the SED leadership unwilling to reform : “I believe that dangers await only those who do not react to life.” On the same day, people's and secret police beat spontaneous but peaceful demonstrators . A commission of inquiry called for by opposition activists, demonstrators and intellectuals began its work on November 3, 1989 and contributed to the delegitimation of the communist system of rule.


  • Jörg Koch: Republic Day , in: Ders. So that you don't forget history - national commemorative and public holidays from 1871 to today. Wbg Academic, Darmstadt 2019, ISBN 978-3-534-40186-4 , pp. 247-252.

Web links

Commons : Day of the Republic (GDR)  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Law on the introduction of the holidays "Liberation Day" and "Republic Day" of April 21, 1950 (Journal of Laws p. 355)
  2. Andrea Westhoff: 25 years ago - serious riot after a rock concert on Alexanderplatz. Calendar sheet. (No longer available online.) Deutschlandradio , October 7, 2002, archived from the original on September 10, 2012 ; accessed on February 28, 2016 .
  3. Andreas Förster: Bloody strawberries under the television tower . In: Berliner Zeitung , October 7, 2000
  4. ^ Official celebrations "40 Years of the GDR" on; accessed on March 8, 2017.
  5. ^ Demonstrations on October 7th and 8th, 1989 in Berlin on; accessed on March 8, 2017.
  6. Gerold Hildebrand: The handicapped investigation. Police and Stasi attacks on the 40th anniversary of the GDR in East Berlin and the consequences . In: Horch and Guck , Volume 18, Issue 63, (1/2009), pp. 4–7. ( Memento of the original from October 5, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Retrieved March 23, 2013 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /