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question 


about the 


DEMOCRATIC 


REPUBLIC 










250 QUESTIONS 
250 ANSWERS 

about, the German Democratic Republic 


First English edition, based on the fourth revised and expanded 
German Edition 

Published by: Verlag Die Wirtschaft, Franzosische StraCe 53—50 
Berlin W 8, Germany. Published 1955. Licence No. 122. 
Druckgenehmigungs-Nr. 195/72/55 

All rights reserved by The Committee for German Unity. Cover design 
and typography: Wirtschaftsgraphik. Printed in Germany by 1/16/01 
MV Potsdam A 424 


4 




250 QUESTIONS 
250 ANSWERS 


ABOUT THE 

GERMAN 

DEMOCRATIC 

REPUBLIC 


COMMITTEE FOR GERMAN UNITY 


Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2018 with funding from 
University of Alberta Libraries 


https://archive.org/details/250questions250a00unse 


Publisher's Preface 


The English language edition of “250 Questions — 250 Ans¬ 
wers about the German Democratic Republic” is a revised 
version of the 4th German edition of this book. Statistics and 
other particulars have been revised and brought up to the 
date of going to press. The publishers hope that this English 
edition will help to spread knowledge of the German Demo¬ 
cratic Republic amongst English-speaking readers, and will 
bring understanding for the all-German question, the reuni¬ 
fication of Germany. 


5 


FROM THE PREFACE TO THE FIRST, SECOND AND 
THIRD GERMAN EDITION 

The speedy reunification of Germany is something desired 
by every German. It can, however, only be attained by 
reaching an understanding between the Germans in East 
and West. This understanding has been made more difficult 
by the mass of false information, lies and slanders spread 
by part of the press in West Germany and West Berlin 
about economic, political and cultural conditions in East 
Germany. 

Who profits from these lies, such as the lies about alleged 
“starvation in the East Zone”? Such lies are of advantage 
only to those who profit from the partitioning of our home¬ 
land, those who are interested in maintaining their power 
and carrying out conquests, those who sow dissension in 
order to play off the East and the West against each other. 
Our people do not want dissension nor civil war. Our 
people need understanding and peace. 

For understanding it is necessary to know the real facts 
about the situation. For this reason the publishers of this 
book have gathered together the questions most often asked 
by West Germans about life in the German Democratic Repu¬ 
blic, and have answered these questions as exactly and as 
fully as possible. 

All the answers are based upon the laws and regulations, 
the statistics and the facts of the daily life of citizens of the 
German Democratic Republic. All the persons, the factories 
and the institutions named actually exist and every reader 
can convince himself by correspondence of the truth of the 
answers given. 


Berlin, January 1954 
Committee for German Unity 


6 


FROM THE PREFACE TO THE FOURTH GERMAN 
EDITION 


Since the publication of the first edition of this book only six 
months have passed. The fact that in this short period a 
fourth edition has become necessary shows the great popula¬ 
rity of this reference work in both parts of Germany. 

The book has been particularly well received by West Ger¬ 
man readers, who had not yet had the opportunity to visit 
our Republic themselves and whose ideas about the Republic 
were often coloured by the lies and misinformation spread 
for years through press and radio by those opposed to a peace¬ 
ful reunification of Germany. In this way this book has been 
able to play its part in bringing about understanding between 
the Germans. 

The fourth edition has been expanded and revised. The main 
reason for the revision was the fact that in the intervening 
period the German Democratic Republic has made further 
great progress in the economic, political and cultural field. 
All details given in the fourth edition accord with the latest 
achievements. 

In the six months since the first edition appeared great pro¬ 
gress has been made in all fields of social life in the German 
Democratic Republic and these improvements bear witness to 
the effectiveness of the new course followed by our Govern¬ 
ment and the speed of our peaceful reconstruction. 

Special thanks must be given to the numerous readers in 
East and West who have given valuable hints, criticisms and 
suggestions for the revision of the book. We shall be glad in 
future to receive questions and suggestions from our readers, 
and to take them into consideration as far as is possible. 


Berlin, July 1954 

Committee for German Unity 


The German Democratic Republic 

consists of the Eastern part of Germany. It 
is made up of 14 counties: Potsdam, Frank¬ 
furt/Oder, Cottbus (the province of Branden¬ 
burg); Neu-Brandenburg, Rostock, Schwerin 
(the province of Mecklenburg); Magdeburg, 
Halle (the province of Sachsen-Anhalt); Er¬ 
furt, Suhl, Gera (the province of Thuringia); 
Leipzig, Karl-Marx-Stadt, Dresden (the pro¬ 
vince of Saxony). 

The German Democratic Republic has an area 
of 107,670 square kilometres. Its population 
(1946) was 17,200,000. The seat of Government 
of the German Democratic Republic is in the 
Democratic Sector of Berlin. 

The German Democratic Republic was foun¬ 
ded on October 7th 1949 on the territory of 
the former Soviet Occupation Zone as the 
basis for a united, peace-loving and inde¬ 
pendent Germany. The President of the Ger¬ 
man Democratic Republic is Wilhelm Pieck 
and the Prime Minister is Otto Grotewohl. 





The State 

in the German Democratic Republic 


i 1. How and why was the German Democratic Republic 
formed? 

I The signatories to the Potsdam Agreement guaranteed the 
I establishment of the economic and political unity of Germany. 

I Facts have shown, however, that from the very start the 
1 Government of the United States aimed at a partitioning of 
Germany. 

In 1947 there was an economic union between the American 
and British zones of occupation, followed in 1948 by a sepa¬ 
rate currency reform in the three Western zones. The culmin¬ 
ation of this development came on September 20th 1949, when 
the Western Powers completed the partitioning of Germany 
by constituting the West German separatist government. 
A situation was thus created which called for immediate 
measures on the part of the democratic parties and mass orga¬ 
nisations. As a result the Provisional Government of the 
German Democratic Republic was established on October 7th 
1949 and the Government was unanimously confirmed by the 
population in the elections held on October 15th 1950. 

The political aims of the government of the German Demo¬ 
cratic Republic are expressed in the Manifesto issued by the 
German People's Council on October 7th 1949 upon the forma¬ 
tion of the German Democratic Republic: “The constitu¬ 
tionally formed Provisional German Government will devote 
its efforts to the fight for peace and the unity and sovereignty 
of Germany. It will be an important bulwark in the fight for 
the realisation of the programme of the National Front of 
Democratic Germany. 

2. Why is the German Democratic Republic described as a 
workers ’ and peasants ’ state? 

The German Democratic Republic is called a workers ’ and 
peasants’ state since the working class, in alliance with the 
working peasants, have the power. 

The working class, which creates great material values, is 
numerically the strongest class in the German Democratic 
Republic. Of the 6.1 million wage and salary earners more 
than 4.5 million are workers, and they form together with the 


9 


members of their families more than half the total popula¬ 
tion of the Republic. More than one million of the workers 
are employed in the 424 largest nationally owned factories 
employing more than a thousand workers. 

Thus the workers play an extremely important part in the 
life of the German Democratic Republic and this is expressed 
in the leadership of the state too. In West Germany on the 
other hand the state power is to-day in the hands of the big 
capitalists and landowners, just as it was in the past. 

This is shown by the following facts: 

The majority of the ministers in the Government of the Ger¬ 
man Democratic Republic come from the working class and 
other working sections of the population. In the West Ger¬ 
man Government, on the other hand, thirteen of the eighteen 
Ministers are big capitalists, bankers and landowners, and 
not one is a worker or peasant. Six of the Ministers in West 
Germany were formerly leading nazi functionaries, or col¬ 
laborated closely with the Hitlerites. 

In the People’s Chamber, the Parliament of the German 
Democratic Republic, 230 of the deputies are from the work¬ 
ing class, 37 are peasants, 32 are craftsmen and 40 are intel¬ 
lectuals. In the West German Federal Parliament, on the other 
hand, incomplete statistics show 85 factory owners and big 
merchants, 51 big landowners, 85 leading employees of big 
business concerns and 138 members of the so called free pro¬ 
fessions who, in a capitalist society, mostly serve the capi¬ 
talists. Only 3 per cent of the members — 15 deputies — 
are of working class origin and most of these are right wing 
trade union leaders who work closely together with big 
business. 

In the German Democratic Republic the various other elected 
bodies in the counties, districts, towns and villages also show 
the leading role of the working class; 67 per cent of the 
members of these bodies come from the working class, 8.2 per 
cent are peasants and 6.9 per cent are craftsmen. 

Thus it may be clearly seen that the working class in alliance 
with the other working sections of the population — peasants, 
craftsmen and intellectuals — control the state power. For the 
first time in the history of Germany a real people's state has 
been created, guaranteed by the fact that the workers and 
the peasants are the leading forces in the state. An admini¬ 
stration has been built which from the very beginning guaran¬ 
teed the interests of the working people and a democratic 
development in all fields of political, economic and cultural 
life. 


10 




3. What is the supreme authority in the German Democratic 
Republic? 

The People’s Chamber, the elected body is the supreme autho¬ 
rity, the real central state organ. This demonstrates the fact 
that a real popular state exists in the German Democratic 
Republic. There is no body which possesses powers greater 
than those of the People’s Chamber anywhere in the state. 
The People's Chamber carries out the following duties: 

a) it lays down the principles of Government policy and the 
carrying out of these principles; 

b) confirms and supervises the Government and can recall it; 

c) lays down the principles to be followed by the admini¬ 
stration and supervises the entire activity of the state 
machinery; 

d) performs legislative duties insofar as a plebiscite is not 
held; 

e) confirms the state budget, the economic plan, loans or 
state credits, and ratifies state treaties; 

f) issues amnesties; 

g) elects together with the Laenderkammer (Upper House 
of Parliament), the President of the Republic and can 
recall him with a two-thirds majority of both Houses; 

h) elects the members of the supreme court and the supreme 
legal authorities of the Republic and can recall them. 

The People’s Chamber can only be dissolved before the end 
of its four-year term by its own decision or as the result of a 
plebiscite. 

The representative bodies in the counties, districts and Towns 
of the German Democratic Republic are bound by the de¬ 
cisions of the People's Chamber. 

4. How does the People’s Chamber carry out its tasks? 

The People's Chamber is the supreme state body of the Ger¬ 
man Democratic Republic. The constitutionally defined rights 
and tasks outlined above help the People’s Chamber to shape 
the social relations, to care for the material well being of the 
citizens and to ensure citizens their democratic rights. The 
People’s Chamber works for the peaceful reunification of 
Germany and the conclusion of a peace treaty. In the field 
of foreign policy it works for peace and friendship with all 
nations and for the prevention of a new act of aggression. 

In the field of home policy the People’s Chamber has passed 
important legislation. Among the most important of these 


11 




are the Labour Law which ensures the workers the right of 
full codetermination, the proper treatment of working 
strength and the continual improvement of the material and 
cultural position of the workers and office employees; the 
Law on the Participation of Young People in the Construction 
of the German Democratic Republic and Help for Young 
People in Schools and at Work, Sport and Recreation; the 
Law on the; Protection of Mothers and Children and the Rights 
of Women, which guarantees full equality for women in all 
fields of social life. 

The importance and the effect of these Laws are described 
more fully in other sections of this book. 

As part of its efforts to maintain peace, consolidate friendship 
with all nations and prevent a new act of aggression, the 
People’s Chamber passed on December 15th 1950, the Law for 
the Protection of Peace. This law makes war propaganda and 
all propaganda for national or racial hatred into punishable 
offences as crimes against humanity. 

In their struggle for the unity of Germany, the People’s 
Chamber and the Government of the German Democratic 
Republic have constantly worked for an understanding bet¬ 
ween East and West Germany. Up until November 1954 the 
People’s Chamber of the German Democratic Republic had 
passed a total of 54 different resolutions and declarations upon 
this question which is so vital for the German nation. A dele¬ 
gation was also sent to visit the West German Federal Parlia¬ 
ment in an attempt to remove all obstacles to a joint dis¬ 
cussion on the peaceful solution of the German question. 

All these resolutions and declarations, including the three 
outlined in greater detail below, where either not replied to 
at all or were rejected. On September 15th 1951 the People’s 
Chamber, acting on a Government proposal, sent an “Appeal 
to All Germans and all German Democratic Parties and 
Organisations” to the West German Parliament, proposing 
all-German discussions on the holding of all-German free 
elections to a National Assembly on the speeding-up of the 
conclusion of a peace treaty with Germany. Laying this reso¬ 
lution before the People's Chamber, Prime Minister Otto Gro- 
tewohl, appealed to the members of the West German Parlia¬ 
ment in these words: “If you accept our proposal, the unity 
of Germany on a democratic and peaceful basis will not be 
propanganda, but will become reality tomorrow." 

In March 1952, the Government of the Soviet Union addres¬ 
sed to the three Western Powers a note on the question of 
preparing a peace treaty with Germany. On March 14th 1952, 


12 


the People’s Chamber once again devoted its attention to the 
vital question confronting the German people and the ques¬ 
tion of securing the peace of Europe. Prime Minister Otto 
Grotewohl, in his Government declaration, stated that it was 
impossible to conclude a peace treaty with Germany without 
having restored German Unity. The People’s Chamber 
addressed itself once more to the West German Parliament 
in a resolution declaring that in view of the declaration of 
the Government of the USSR it was time for the West Ger¬ 
man Parliament to call for the speedy conclusion of a peace 
treaty on the basis of the proposals of the Soviet Union. 

On July 30th, 1953, the People’s Chamber appealed once more 
to the German people, expressing the opinion that the calling 
of all-German discussions must be regarded as a precondition 
for the success of a Four Power Conference on the German 
question. The People’s Chamber pointed out that the propo¬ 
sals for the reunification of Germany handed over personally 
to the Chairman of the West German Parliament in Bonn in 
autumn 1952 had not been answered. 

The People’s Chamber proposed that by August 1953 at the 
latest, an all-German meeting should be called to discuss 
the question of inner-German trade, traffic, the issuing of 
interzonal passes, and the preparation and holding of free 
all-German elections. 

This declaration made it plain that these points should not be 
regarded as in any way conditions for such a meeting. The 
People’s Chamber declared its readiness to discuss all propo¬ 
sals made by both sides without previous agreement on an 
Agenda. 

From all these proposals it can be seen clearly that the 
People’s Chamber of the German Democratic Republic: 

1. was always in favour of negotiations, is in favour of nego¬ 
tiations, and always will be in favour of negotiations; 

2. regards an understanding between the Germans them¬ 
selves as both necessary and possible; 

3. does not and will not impose any prior conditions upon dis¬ 
cussions between the two parts of Germany; 

4. is ready at any time, and at the shortest notice, to nego¬ 
tiate upon all questions which could serve to bring closer 
together the two states in Germany; 

5. is ready at any time, to negotiate also upon problems, which 
a) have not been mentioned in the proposals of the 

People’s Chamber or the Government of the German 
Democratic Republic, 


13 


b) which are proposed by West Germany or upon which 
particular information is desired; 

c) regards all its proposals as contributions toward agreed 
all-German decisions. 

5. Why does the People’s Chamber reach its decisions 

unanimously? 

Since the German Democratic Republic is a workers ’ and 
peasants ’ state in which there are no big capitalists, big 
landowners and bankers, there are no economic or political 
foundations for the representation of interests opposed to the 
construction plans of the overwhelming majority of the 
people. For this reason there are no mutually hostile parties 
with conflicting ideas about the basic policy of our govern¬ 
ment. 

The great mutual interests of all sections of the population 
are the starting point for all decisions taken by the People’s 
Chamber in the economic, political and cultural fields. The 
political parties and the most important mass organisations, 
which represent the particular interests of the various sec¬ 
tions of the population, have joined together in the “Block 
of Anti-Fascist Democratic Parties and Mass Organisations” 
on the basis of their common struggle for peace, national 
unity and democracy. 

All decisive problems of internal and external policy, which 
shall be expressed as Government policy or in the form of 
laws, are discussed at meetings of this block until unanimity 
is reached on the principles of such laws. 

The draft law is then worked out by the Government, in 
which all fractions of the People’s Chamber are represented, 
and is then presented to the People’s Chamber for its deci¬ 
sion. In the first reading of such a bill the various fractions 
generally propose various amendments, based in particular 
on suggestions received from the population. 

The draft is then referred to the relevant Parliamentary 
Committee for final drafting. These committees include the 
Budget Committee, Economic Committee, Committee for La¬ 
bour and Health, Agricultural Committee, Cultural Committee 
etc. The various fractions are represented in these committees 
porportional to their representation in the People's Chamber. 
Committee sessions are generally marked by lively discussions, 
which continue until the point under discussion is finally 
clarified. For this reason the second reading of the bill gene¬ 
rally results in unanimous adoption by all deputies of the 
People’s Chamber. The representatives of the various frac- 


14 


tions in their speeches emphasize the importance of the new 
law for the sections of the population which they represent or 
make suggestions for the way in which the law should be put 
into effect, suggestions which are heeded by the government 
and the population. 


6. How is the People’s Chamber elected? 

The deputies of the People’s Chamber are representatives of 
the German people, elected by general, equal, direct and 
secret ballot on the principle of proportional representation, 
for a period of four years. 

The first People’s Chamber was elected in the general demo¬ 
cratic elections held in October 15th 1950. The various demo¬ 
cratic forces, the political parties and the mass organisations 
of the German Democratic Republic, had worked out a joint 
programme of the National Front of Democratic Germany, 
which accorded with the national, democratic and social 
interests of the people. (For further details of this programme 
see the chapter “The political forces in the German Demo¬ 
cratic Republic”). 

On October 17th 1954 elections were held 1 for the new 
People’s Chamber. From 12,086,987 electors a total of 11,889,817 
(98.4 per cent) went to the polls. 11,807,497 (99.3 per cent) 
voted for the joint list of candidates of the National Front of 
Democratic Germany. A total of 82,320 (0.7 per cent) electors 
voted against the list or gave invalid votes. 


7. Is the electoral system, which is used in the German 
Democratic Republic, a democratic one? 

The electoral system used in the German Democratic Re¬ 
public is the most democratic ever used in Germany. The 
persons elected are bound to give their electors regular 
reports on the work which they have done as their represen¬ 
tatives. Before a new election they are particularly obliged 
to make such reports, so that the population have a chance 
to judge their work before they propose them once again 
for candidature. If the representative has not carried out his 
obligations to the satisfaction of the electors they can reject 
him, just as they are entiled to recall their representative 
at any time, if he should prove unsatisfactory. 

After such reporting-back meetings, the parties and the mass 
organisations (trade unions, organisations of women and 
youth, cooperatives etc.) draw up the lists of candidates. These 
lists must be approved by special representatives selected by 


15 


the electors. After this each candidate must present himself 
to the electors and explain what he intends to do. At these 
meetings the electors can give the candidate special commis¬ 
sions and the candidate, after election, is bound to report on 
how he has carried out these commissions. The electors 
have the full right to reject any of the candidates selected 
and to name others. 

The actual act of election at the polling booth is then in 
fact the formal confirmation given by the elector to the pro¬ 
gramme and the list of candidates, which he himself has 
helped to draw up. The candidates, if elected, are bound 
to report back to the elector and to carry out commissions 
given by the elector, and the electors can at any time recall 
these candidates. This system guarantees that the deputies 
elected are genuine representatives of the people. 


8. How is the Government of the German Democratic Re¬ 
public formed? 

The strongest fraction in the People’s Chamber selects the 
Prime Minister and the Prime Minister forms the govern¬ 
ment. The Constitution of the German Democratic Republic 
lays down that the Government must include representatives 
of all fractions in the People’s Camber with a strength of 
at least 40 deputies. The fractions are represented in the 
Government by Ministers and State Secretaries proportional 
to their strength. 

The government is sworn in on the Constitution by the Presi¬ 
dent of the Republic and is confirmed by the People’s Cham¬ 
ber to which it is bound to report on its work. Through its 
various committees the People’s Chamber supervises the 
activity of the government. 


9. Is it possible to criticize a Minister? 

Yes, this happens often. Shortcomings in the work of the 
state machinery are sharply criticized by the People's Chamber 
and the Ministries and Ministers responsible are exposed to 
criticism. 

The newspapers of the German Democratic Republic publish 
every justified criticism without respect to the institution 
or the person criticized, but these criticisms should include 
suggestions as to how the work can be improved. 

In the past, Ministries and State Secretariats have been 
reorganised and Ministers and State Secretaries have been 


16 


removed on the basis of such criticism from the People’s 
Chamber and from the public. 


10. Are high positions in the State exclusively reserved for 
members of the Socialist Unity Party? 

Any citizen who recognizes the principles of the Constitution 
can hold every function in the state apparatus for which he 
has the necessary qualifications without regard to his politics, 
philosophy or religion. All parties are represented in the 
Government of the German Democratic Republic through 
Ministers and State Secretaries, and throughout the high and 
low posts in the Administration it is possible so find members 
of all parties and mass organisations as well as non-party 
people. Members of the Socialist Unity Party are particularly 
well represented in these functions because the most active 
and progressive forces are organised in this party and because 
the party of the working class plays a leading role in all 
fields of social life. (For further particulars see “The political, 
forces in the German Democratic Republic”.) 


11. What are the particular tasks of the Ministries of the 
German Democratic Republic? 

The government of the German Democratic Republic differs 
from every former government in Germany because of the 
fact that it acts in the interests of the working population. 
Its particular tasks include the leadership and direction of 
economic and cultural life. Special ministries, state secre¬ 
tariats and offices direct nationally owned industry, nationally 
owned trade, nationally owned transport and the various 
state installations in the health services and the cultural 
fields. For this reason there are, in the German Democratic 
Republic, in addition to the usual ministries of Foreign 
Affairs, Justice, the Interior etc., also Ministries and State 
Secretariats for Light Industry, Heavy Industry, En¬ 
gineering etc. 


12. What influence has the population on the work of the 
Government? 

The influence of the population on the work of the Govern¬ 
ment is very great. The government of the German Demo¬ 
cratic Republic does all it can to get the cooperation of the 
population in carrying out all tasks facing it. Various methods 
are used to this end. 


2 250 QUESTIONS 


17 


All state offices are bound to pay regard to all written and 
oral suggestions, criticisms, wishes and complaints and to 
answer them. The population is encouraged to criticize all 
shortcomings and if the Ministries and other organs do not 
pay attention to these criticisms then they are publicly 
admonished. 

The right to criticize is a basic right for every citizen and 
every member of the administration is bound by law to 
investigate all criticisms and can be held responsible if he 
does not do so. 

The main field of activity for public cooperation is the putting 
into effect of the laws and ordinances at every level. The 
county, district and town councils have special “standing 
commissions”, composed of the members of these councils, 
which supervise the work done by the various sections of the 
councils, and installations such as hospitals, schools and so 
on. There are standing commissions for housing, trade and 
supply, the health services, transport etc. The chairman of 
these commissions is in every case a member of the council 
who has the necessary qualifications. These standing com¬ 
missions see to it that the decisions taken by the state and 
economic organisation are carried out in the interests of the 
working population. They see to it for instance that day nur¬ 
series are provided to help working women, that parks are pro¬ 
vided complete with benches and children's playgrounds, that 
a proper supply of goods is always available in the shops of 
the state trading organisation, that public transport is im¬ 
proved and so on. The standing commission for housing 
questions in Stalinstadt, for instance, submitted 42 separate 
measures from April to December 1953 to the Town Council 
and all of these measures were put into effect without much 
alteration. 

It may thus be seen that in the German Democratic Republic 
the old contrast between the state and the people has been 
overcome. The carrying out of the laws lies in the hands of 
the population itself and the people have become in the 
truest sense of the word the supporters of the state. The 
people of the German Democratic Republic are not subjects 
but confident free citizens. 

13. Is the Church free in the German Democratic Republic? 

Yes. There is no State Church. The Constitution lays down the 
right to form religious bodies. The church is guaranteed the 
right to give religious instruction. No one may be forced to 
give religious instruction or to take part in religious instruc¬ 


ts 


tion, nor may one be hindered in this. The property of the 
religious bodies in buildings, church foundations etc. is 
guaranteed. Religious installations, religious services and 
religious instructions may naturally not be misused for pur¬ 
poses contrary to the Constitution or for party political 
purposes. 


14. Does the Church receive material and financial support 
from the State in the German Democratic Republic? 

In 1954 the State provided subsidies of 13 million marks for 
church administration and the payment of salaries for 
pastors. Since the foundation of the German Democratic Re¬ 
public a total of 95,617,892 marks have been paid from the 
state budget in subsidies to the church. 

From 1949 to 1954 a total of 115 million marks have been 
paid to the Church, if the sums paid by district and village 
authorities are included. 

Apart from financial help the state also provides material 
help. Since 1950 a total of 4.8 million marks have been given 
as subsidies for the maintenance and restoration of church 
buildings worthy of preservation. Such subsidies have been 
paid to 252 evangelical churches, 32 catholic churches and 
1 church of the evangelical community. 


15. Are the judges in the German Democratic Republic 
independent? 

The highest principle for all law organs in the German Demo¬ 
cratic Republic is the principle of democratic legality. 
Article 127 of the Constitution states that judges are “indepen¬ 
dent in their jurisdiction and only subject to the Constitution 
and the Law”. This means that no body is entitled to give 
instructions to the judges concerning their legal activities. 

No judge or other organ of the state is entitled to act in a 
way contrary to the Constitution or to Law, and the State 
Prosecutor can and must take immediate action if this 
happens. The State Prosecutor’s office is the highest organ 
controlling legality. The State Prosecutor’s office is subject 
to, and responsible to, the government of the German Demo¬ 
cratic Republic. 

There is no judicial apparatus independent of the Constitu¬ 
tion and the supreme representatives of the people. The judges 
and the State Prosecutors of the German Democratic Re¬ 
public are closely allied with the working people. Under 


2 * 


19 


certain specified legal conditions they can be removed from 
their posts. 


16. What is the People’s Police? 

The People’s Police is the protector of the social order in 
the German Democratic Republic. The police force protects 
the property of the individual and of the entire people 
against every criminal attack. 

The officers and men of the People's Police are trusted and 
proved sons of the people, educated in democracy and in the 
defence of the interests of the working people. The West 
German police force on the other hand, particularly the 
mobile police, which Is the cadre for the West German 
Wehrmacht Which is in process of formation, is full of 
fascists and militarists. 62 per cent of the officers in the West 
German police are former Wehrmacht officers and 31 per 
cent are former officers of the fascist police. 

The government of the German Democratic Republic has 
repeatedly proposed to the government of the West German 
Federal Republic that all-German negotiations should be held 
on the strength, armament, tasks and stationing of the police 
forces in both parts of Germany. These suggestions have 
either been rejected or no reply has been given. 


17. Can citizens of the German Democratic Republic be 
arrested without a warrant? 

No. The criminal code lays down precisely under what 
conditions persons may be taken into custody or arrested. 
Arrests may only be carried out on the basis of a written 
warrant, specifying the grounds for the arrest, issued by a 
judge. This warrant has to be shown to the person arrested, 
who confirms it in writing with the date and exact time of 
day. Paragraph 144 of the criminal code lays down that the 
accused is to be brought without delay before the Court, and 
in any case not later than 24 hours after arrest. He has to 
be informed of the reason for the arrest and at his first con¬ 
frontation he is given a chance to justify himself. The State 
Prosecutor and the Court have to judge whether the con¬ 
tinuance of custody is justified. 

As in all other countries the police are entitled to take a 
person into custody when he is caught in the actual commis¬ 
sion of a crime, when there appears to be a danger that he 
might escape, or when his identity cannot be ascertained. 
A person taken into custody in this manner must be produced 


20 


without delay before the District Court and examined, at 
the latest, on the day when he is brought before the Court. 
The Court is bound to take an immediate decision on the 
granting of a warrant. 


18. Are former officers of the Wehrmacht and former mem¬ 
bers of the Nazi party full citizens in the German Demo¬ 
cratic Republic? 

Yes, people in these categories have the same civil rights and 
duties as all other citizens of the German Democratic Re¬ 
public. On October 2nd 1952 a law was promulgated on 
civil rights for former officers of the fascist Wehrmacht and 
former members and supporters of the Nazi party. This law 
stated in part: 

“Since the creation of the German Democratic Republic the 
overwhelming majority of former members of the Nazi party 
and its subsidiary organisations and former officers of the 
fascist Wehrmacht have collaborated actively in all fields 
of political, economic and cultural life in building a peaceful 
and democratic Germany. They have thus proved themselves 
worthy of the trust placed in them in the law of November 
11th 1949 on the Remission of Expiation Measures and the 
Grant of Civil Rights for Former Members and Supporters 
of the Nazi Party and Officers of the Fascist Wehrmacht . . . 

“As a logical continuation of this policy which was not based 
upon feelings of revenge against the officers of the fascist 
Wehrmacht and former members and supporters of the Nazi 
Party but upon guaranteeing democratic reconstruction, the 
People’s Chamber has passed the following law in order to 
give all patriotic Germans unlimited rights to participate in 
the construction of socialism: 

Paragraph 1 

“All limitations on the rights of former officers of the fascist 
Wehrmacht and former members of the Nazi Party or its 
subsidiary organisations, which were specified in the ‘Law 
on the Remission of Expiation Measures and the Grant of 
Civil Rights for Former Members and Supporters of the Nazi 
Party and Officers of the Fascist Wehrmacht’ are hereby 
cancelled. These persons are granted the same civil and poli¬ 
tical rights as all other German citizens. 

Paragraph 2 

“The cancellation of restrictions laid down in paragraph 1 
ist not extended to former members of the Nazi Party or its 


21 


subsidiary organisation or to former officers of the fascist 
Wehrmacht, who have been sentenced for war crimes or 
other crimes against humanity, which they committed as 
members or supporters of the Nazi Party or its subsidiary 
organisations, and who are serving their sentences.” 

19. Is the freedom of the person guaranteed in the German 
Democratic Republic? 

Yes. The following pages of this book will show that the 
full development of personal liberties in the German Demo¬ 
cratic Republic is guaranteed, in contrast to West Germany. 
Every citizen of the German Democratic Republic enjoys full 
personal freedom in every field of economic, political and 
cultural life without any material oppression or dependence. 
The active cooperation of all citizens and open criticism of 
all shortcomings is supported in every way. The suppression 
of criticism is regarded as a serious offense in the German 
Democratic Republic. 

The freedom of the citizen must however be protected against 
all attacks on his person or his property. For this reason, a 
state which supports peace and democracy, cannot extend 
freedom to criminals who attack peace and democracy. 

If a private manufacturer or a big peasant tries to use specu¬ 
lation and the brutal suppression of weaker competitors in 
order to become a big business man or a landowner, he puts 
himself in opposition to the State and the social order in the 
German Democratic Republic and the organs of the State 
could take action against him. 

In West Germany the journalist Dombrowski stated on 
July 21st 1950 in the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” that 
it was necessary: „. . . to use the atom bomb and to create 
an atomic curtain right through Western Russia, that is to 
say to create a frontier of death.” In the German Democratic 
Republic nobody is allowed to make war propaganda or to 
propagate the use of atomic weapons against the Soviet Union 
or the United States or any other country. No freedom of 
personality is extended in the German Democratic Republic 
to warmongers like Dombrowski. Such persons would be 
punished with the full force of the law. 

Freedom of personality is also not extended to those people 
who act in the territory of the German Democratic Republic 
as agents of the American “cold war”. American policy in 
Germany has given many proofs that terror, sabotage, threats 
and intervention by force in the internal affairs of other 
peoples have become official elements of American policy. 


22 


Terrorism, used as a means oi' preparing war, has the aim 
of creating conflicts between states, sharpening inter¬ 
national tension, and disturbing the peaceful work of con¬ 
struction in the countries of the camp of peace. 

A characteristic of American policy iin Germany have been 
the attemps to start a new world war by launching a civil 
war on German soil. In October 1951 President Truman signed 
the so-called “Mutual Security Act”. This act granted subsi¬ 
dies amounting to 100 million dollars for financing espionage 
and sabotage in the socialist countries as part of the “cold 
war”. Part of this sum, and other subsidies from American 
and West German big business undertakings have been 
granted by Jakob Kaiser, the West German Minister for “All- 
German Affairs” to such espionage und sabotage organisations 
as the “Fighting Group against Inhumanity”, the “Investigating 
Committee of Free Jurists” and the espionage organisation 
directed by Nazi General Gehlen. 

Agents of organisations like these, who attempt to prepare 
for a new world war through espionage and sabotage in the 
German Democratic Republic or who attempt to restore their 
old privileges to the financiers and the big landowners, do 
not enjoy freedom of personality in the German Democratic 
Republic. 

Anybody who is alarmed at the arrest of such elements by 
the Security Authoritis of the German Democratic Republic 
should see to it that no such agents are sent in from outside 
or recruited here. Every attempt of this sort will collapse 
as did the fascist putsch on June 17th 1953, which was aimed 
at overthrowing the government of the German Democratic 
Republic. Extensive documentary proof is available showing 
that on June 17th 1953 the attemp was made to conquer 
the German Democratic Republic by force of arms and to 
unleash a civil war which was to have been the forerunner 
of the third world war. 


23 


All Fewer in the State Devolves from the People 



President 
Promulgates taws; 

Issues persons; 
Represents the Republic 
international law; 
Concludes treaties; 


Appoints and receives 
Ambassadors 


Forms the Government,and is 
Cabinet Chairman; lays down 
main lines of Government policy 
and is responsible to the 
People's Chamber 


Government 
Executive organ; responsible 
for initiating and carrying out 
legislation 


The strongest 
fraction names 
the Prime Minister 






Presidium; Chairman of 

Presidium 



People’s Chamber represents 
President in his absence 


Laenderkammer (Upper Mouse) 

One Deputy for each 500,000 inhabitants 
Has right to initiate legislation, 
and right of demurral 




State Attorney ;; 


Office 


Supreme con¬ 
trol over Haws 
compliance with 


rn 



i 

, l 



People’s Chamber 
400 deputies 

Names 3 standing committees 

Lays down the basis of Government policy 
and compliance with this policy. 
Confirms.supervises and recalls 
the Government.Decides on state budget 
elects members of Supreme Court 
and State Attorney’s Office, 
and can recall them 



Electorate: 


Eligible for election: All citizens over 21 


All citizens of the Republic 
who have completed their 18th 






































































rhe People’s Chamber of the German Democratic Republic 

Presidium 


Chairman 


1st Deputy 2nd Deputy I 


Ministers \ J Ministers 

-1 ^ i-I 



*7 — =■ — 

Distinguished 

— -ftar 

/ 

Stranger's Gallery | 



Steering Commitee: Presidium of People's Chamber and Chairmen of Fractions 
Standing Commitees: [Stacndige AusschuesseJ Commifees: [Ausschuesse] 


General Affairs 


Economics and 
Finance 


Foreign Affairs 


Foreign Affairs 


Standing Orders 

[^rt Qnd n nlln ^ 

I Constitutional 


Agriculture and 
Forestry 


Economics 


Worth and Health 


Pardons 


Legal 


Public 

Applications 


Education 


Youth 


Legislative Procedure 

Initiation of legislation Article 82 

Government i - Legislative decision Article 81 



Laws become 
valid as a 
rule 14 days 
after promulgation 


If law is rejected by People’s Chamber 


Referendum 
on bill 


Decision by 
People's Chamb. 


Plebiscite 


i 

Article 87 

Completion 

Proclamation 
















































































































The position of the worker 

in the German Democratic Republic 


1. What are nationally owned factories? 

The Potsdam Agreement envisaged the destruction of too 
great concentrations of capital and the reconstruction of 
German peace economy. (Section III, point 12 and 13.) 

In 1945 the second proclamation of the Allied Control Council 
(Section V), placed all public property and certain private 
property under allied control. 

The commanders in chief of the various zones acted in their 
areas on the orders of the Allied Control Council. In accor¬ 
dance with these orders the Supreme Commander of the 
Soviet Military Administration ordered the confiscation of 
the property of war criminals, of the nazi party, the Hitlerite 
state, and also property which had been left without an 
owner. (Orders 124, 126, 160, 154/181.) 

As the result of a plebiscite held in Saxony on June 30th 1946 
such property was handed over to the people without compen¬ 
sation. Similar steps were then taken in Thuringia, Sachsen- 
Anhalt, Brandenburg and Mecklenburg. The Soviet Military 
Administration confirmed this decision in 1948 with Order 64. 
The nationally owned section of the economy became the 
decisive factor in production, became more stable from year 
to year and gave its character to the economic basis of the 
German Democratic Republic. 

Let us take as an example the Leuna Works near Merseburg, 
a large factory well known outside Germany. 

Until 1945 the Leuna works belonged to the owners and main 
shareholders of I. G. Farben, and was one of the main arma¬ 
ments factories. To-day with its 28,000 workers it is the 
largest industrial undertaking in the German Democratic Re¬ 
public. This factory belongs to-day neither to individual capi¬ 
talists nor to a group of shareholders: it is the property of 
the people. This fact is expressed quite openly in that the 
factory to-day bears the name “Walter Ulbricht Leuna 
works”, having been named after Walter Ulbricht, one of 
the pioneers of the German working class and a comrade 
of such working class leaders as Ernst Thaelmann and Wilhelm 
Pieck. 


26 


The question as to what is produced in the Leuna works and 
how it is produced is to-day decided, not by the profit 
interests, but by the working people, the workei’s and peasants 
who control the state. 

The Leuna works is only one of many key factories in the 
German Democratic Republic which have become nationally 
owned. In 1953 nationally owned and cooperative factories 
accounted for 85.5 per cent of the gross industrial production. 
The profits from the nationally owned factories (in German 
“Volkseigene Betrieb”: literally “Factory owned by the 
people”) do not flow into the pockets of any individuals or 
groups of shareholders but are used for the advantage of the 
people as a whole. A portion of the profits comes directly to 
the workers in the form of higher wages and salaries. A 
further portion is used to improve the social and cultural 
facilities for all the citizens of the German Demokratic Re¬ 
public: for example for pensioniers, to extend hospitals and 
other health facilities and to support, construct and and extend 
cultural facilities such as theatres and playing fields. The 
third portion is used to further the development of the 
economy. 

The nationally owned factories are run by the state, which 
in the German Democratic Republic is a state of workers and 
peasants. All the leading responsible employees in the 
nationally owned industry receive salaries laid down by law 
and nobody is in a position to make profits as a share¬ 
holder or through the work of others. The salaries paid to the 
leading employees in nationally owned industry are graded 
according to the work done: The salary becomes higher as 
the work done and the responsibility taken becomes greater. 
A leading economic official who does not fulfil his job pro¬ 
perly can be removed from his responsible post, for example 
on application by the trade union, and he then naturally 
loses his right to the salary hitherto paid him. 

2. Who runs the nationally owned factories? 

The nationally owned factories are run by the state of wor¬ 
kers and peasants, by representatives of the working class 
and all working sections of the population. The Minister for 
Heavy Industries is for instance Fritz Selbmann, a former 
Ruhr miner. 

The managers of the nationally owned factories, the factory 
directors, are either sons of the working class, veterans of the 
movement or members of the technical intelligentsia allied 
with the working class. 


27 


Let us take for example Kurt ZieroLd, the director of the 
'‘Deutschland” Coal Mine in the Zwickau-Oelsnitz coal basin. 
Kurt ZieroLd is an old metal worker. From 1921 to 1924 he 
worked as smith in the mine “Vereinigter Feldschacht” now 
called the “Rudolf Breifseheid” mine. Because of his parti¬ 
cipation in a strike he lost his post. In 1926 he worked above 
ground and in the pit in the mine “Vereinsgliick” in Freital 
(to-day this mine is called “Albert Funk” after the well known 
Ruhr miner, shop steward and Reichstag deputy who was 
murdered by the nazis). Here too he was sacked for taking 
part in a strike. During the nazi period the metal-worker 
Kurt Zierold was repeatedly imprisoned. In 1945 he was 
elected by the miners in the “Deutschland” mine at Oelsnitz 
to the post of deputy chairman of the trade union council. In 
1948 he was given the responsible task of director of the same 
mine. To-day Kurt Zierold receives a monthly salary of 
2,400 marks, a salary fitting to the great responsibility which 
he bears, and he lives in a nicely furnished three room flat. 
His mates in the mine have the greatest confidence in him 
since he has remained one of them and since they know 
that he is acting in the interests of the working class as a 
whole. 

The foremen in the nationally-owned factories of the German 
Democratic Republic have quite a different position than 
foremen in the privately owned factories in capitalist countries. 
A foreman in a nationally-owned factory is the friend and 
helper of the workers. His interests are the same as those of 
the workers: to increase the output of the nationally-owned 
sector of production, and thus to raise the standard of living. 

3. What is a factory collective agreement? 

When the working people own and direct factories then 
there can be no difference of principle between the factory 
directorship and the workers in the shops. Since all profits 
flow directly or indirectly to the workers the factory director¬ 
ship and the workers have a joint interest to fulfil in the 
best way the production tasks laid down in the factory plan. 
That is the basis for a steady increase in the social and 
cultural facilities for all workers in the German Democratic 
Republic. 

The factory collective agreement is an agreement laying down 
mutual obligations between the factory directorship and the 
workers. All tasks to be undertaken during the year are 
specified, both the tasks in production and the steps to be 
taken to improve working and living conditions and to meet 
the cultural needs of all the workers. The factory collective 


28 


agreement is therefore based upon the factory plan. The 
factory collective agreement lays down the pledges taken by 
the factory directorship, by the factory trade union committee 
and by the workers. 

The factory collective agreement is drafted by representatives 
of the factory trade union committee and the directorship. 
It is then discussed in all parts of the factory and, after it 
has been amended in accordance with suggestions made, it 
is approved at a works meeting. It is then printed and a copy 
is handed out to every worker. The trade union committee 
and the directorship are obliged to account to the workers 
at a factory meeting every quarter on the way in which the 
factory collective agreement is being carried out. Such a 
collective agreement is concluded for a period of one year. 
To show what is contained in such a factory collective agree¬ 
ment here are some extracts from the agreement for 1954 
concluded in the nationally owned Bergman-Borsig heavy 7 
engineering works in Berlin-Wilhelmsruh. It is impossible 
to quote the full text here since this collective agreement is 
179 pages long. It specifies facts about wages, salaries, work¬ 
ing norms and social improvements to be made by the 
factory directorship. (The “director’s fund”, mentioned in the 
agreement, is a percentage of factory profits devoted to im¬ 
provements etc.) It includes the following pledges: 

The trade union committee pledges itself: 

to maintain a constant campaign for explaining and 
supervising conformity with the law and orders of our 
government, in particular the decree of December 10th 
1953 on the further improvement of the working and 
living conditions of the workers and the rights of the 
trade unions. This will be achieved: 

a) through a series of periodical courses for the trade 
union activity groups, 

b) through question and answer evenings for all the 
workers at which the laws will be explained and 
questions answered. 

The work director pledges himself: 

a) to delegate to higher studies the following: 

nine colleagues (at least five women) to the workers’ 
and peasants’ faculty of the university; 
two colleagues to the university; 

twentyfive colleagues (at least seven women) to the 
engineering school; 


29 


twenty colleagues (at least twelve women) to other 
technical schools; 

two colleagues to technical courses, 
to delegate for postal studies: 

five colleagues (at least two women) to university mail 
courses; 

ten colleagues (at least three women) to technical mail 
courses. 

b) to allocate 8,000 marks from the Directors Fund as study 
contributions for those colleagues delegated. 

c) to allocate annually 1,500 marks from section 1 of the 
Directors Fund for the payment of bonuses to those 
colleagues delegated to study who acheived results 
above the average. 

The works director pledges himself: 

to provide the following sums for improving safety pre¬ 
cautions and factory security: 

70,800 marks from the funds of the general repair plan, 
200,000 marks from general factory funds. 

The factory trade union committee pledges itself: 

to distribute the holiday places allocated to the factory, 
particularly for the summer holidays, individually in 
accordance with the following social composition: 
production workers 75 per cent 
intelligentsia 5 per cent 
office employees 10 per cent 

family members of those employed on a percentage 
basis 10 per cent. 

The works director pledges himself: 

to provide the following sums from the Directors Fund 
for the development of cultural mass work 
a) in accordance with the plans made by 
the Trade Union Federation for the 


house of culture. 41,000 marks 

b) amateur art groups. 5,000 „ 

c) factory orchestra. 5,000 „ 

d) band. 1,000 „ 

e) orchestral group. 1,000 „ 

’f) amateur dramatic group . 1,000 „ 


54,000 marks 

The plan to be completed by December 31st 1954. 


30 









4. What about the co-determination rights of the 
trade unions? 

The Constitution provides the trade union with the unlimited 
right of co-determination in all factory questions in the in¬ 
terests of the working class and in the interests of the state 
of workers and peasants. 

On December 10th 1953 the Cabinet of the German Democra¬ 
tic Republic held a joint meeting with trade union officials 
and some 300 workers from the factories, and passed the 
Decree on the Improvement of the Working and Living Con¬ 
ditions of the Workers and the Rights of the Trade Unions. 
This decree emphasized once again the full right of co¬ 
determination of the trade unions, stating: “They have the 
right to demand an accounting from the relevant ministries 
and from the factory directorship on the observance and 
carrying out of the measures affecting the direct interests of 
the workers/’ 

“The ministers are obliged to cooperate with the relevant 
trade union groups in working out their economic plans, par¬ 
ticularly those parts dealing with labour productivity, distri¬ 
bution of labour, average wages, social and cultural installa¬ 
tions and labour safety. It is suggested that the trade unions 
should organise more strictly, using the principles laid down 
by the Federal Board, workers’ control in trade and supply as 
well as in building and housing. 

“The organs of the state and economic directorates are obliged 
to support unconditionally workers’ control by the trade 
unions, to give all necessary information and to comply with 
suggestions for rectifying mistakes. 

“In cases of wilful and negligent violations of the regulations 
for the protection of the workers or against particular labour 
safety precautions or labour safety agreements, the trade 
unions have the right to demand from the relevant ministries 
the punishment of the guilty economic directors who are 
responsible. In accordance with proposals made by the trade 
unions the relevant ministries can cancel or cut the quarterly 
bonuses due to the responsible economic directors who cul¬ 
pably do not fulfil the conditions laid down in the factory 
collective agreement, particularly those conditions dealing 
with the improvement of the material and cultural situation 
of the workers in the factories.” 

5. What tasks have the trade unions in the private factories? 

The main task of the trade unions in the private factories is 
to represent the interests of the workers. This includes the 


31 


prevention of all reductions in wages through cutting the 
piece rates, the control of the strict observance of the factory 
agreements and safety agreements, the supervision of the 
wage scale in the private factories and militant support for 
the demands of the workers and office employees that their 
wages should be adjusted in accordance with the wages paid 
in the nationally owned factories. 

Wage increases in private factories can only be achieved 
through negotiations with the owners. On December 10th 
1953 the Cabinet of the German Democratic Republic noted 
with approval the demands of the trade unions to the private 
factories and craft undertakings for wage increases. The 
Ministry of Finance was instructed to recognize increased 
wages in private factories as factory expenses for the pur¬ 
poses of taxation. 

In the private factories too the Free German Trade Union 
Federation fulfills its tasks in seeing to the observance of the 
legally anchored right of co-determination. This expresses 
itself particulary with regard to the control of the fulfilment 
of orders placed by nationally owned factories and the obser¬ 
vance of the decrees and orders issued by our state. 

6. Can the workers in the German Democratic Republic 
strike? 

You cannot strike against yourself. The nationally owned 
factories belong to the workers, they are directed by workers, 
and the full right of co-determination is legally guaranteed 
by the state of workers and peasants. The wage and price 
policy is determined by the working class in the interest of 
all citizens. In former days the German working class carried 
out heroic strike battles to achieve great rights. These rights 
have to-day become reality in the German Democratic 
Republic. 

The laws of the state of workers and peasants and the far 
reaching rights of the trade unions in private industry in the 
fields of control and co-determination guarantee the rights 
of the workers and make strikes superfluous. 

A cessation of work in the German Democratic Republic 
would have a negative effect on the workers, their state, and 
nationally owned economy. It would benefit no one except 
the expropriated capitalists and bankers. 


32 



Wilhelm Pieck, 

President of the German Democratic Republic 




Prime Minister Otto Grotewohl delivering a Government statement to the 
People’s Chamber of the German Democratic Republic on 
February 3rd, 1954 












The nationally owned “Walter Ulbricht” 
Leuna Works, formerly one of the most 
important arms plants of the IG Farben 
Combine 











Factory polyclinic of the “Karl Liebknecht” Transformer 
Works in Berlin 



The dental department of a factory polyclinic 








Holiday home “Glueck Auf!” of the miners’ trade union in Zinnowitz on 
the island of Usedom 
















Additional consumer goods for the population are 
turned out as a result of the policy of the new 
course 

Above: Attractive and practical portable radio 
Below: Electric coffee-grinder (right) and universal 
kitchen mixer for direct and alternating current (left) 





“Praktina” 
camera with 
clockwork film- 
shift and 
17 metres of 
film 




Large scale 

lathe made 

in the 

nationally- 

owned 

Bergmann- 

Borsig 

Factory, 

Berlin 


Part of the 
projection 
apparatus of 
the Zeiss 
Planetarium 
in Jena 











Stalin Allee in Berlin 







How the worker lives in the German Democratic 
Republic 


I. What is the basic wage in the various branches 
of industry? 


Wage group (area 1) 

I 

II 

III 

IV 

V 

VI 

VII 

VIII 

Coal (underground) . 

1.20 

1.30 

1.48 

1.64 

1.91 

2.42 

3.07 

3.85 

Coal (pit head) . 

0.92 

1.03 

1.18 

1.32 

1.47 

1.74 

2.07 

2.46 

Ore mining as coal 









Lignite (underground) . 

1.06 

1.19 

1.36 

1.48 

1.73 

2.18 

2.73 

3.43 

lignite (pit head) . 

1.02 

1.14 

1.28 

1.40 

1.58 

1.92 

2.33 

2.82 

Potash and slate (underground) 

1.05 

1.18 

1.34 

1.45 

1.67 

2.02 

2.43 

2.94 

Potash (pit head) . 

1 — 

1.12 

1.25 

1.36 

1.52 

1.79 

2.10 

2.44 

Slate (pit head) . 

0.92 

1.02 

1.17 

1.31 

1.44 

1.66 

1.92 

2.21 

Metal working . 

0.98 

1.07 

1.21 

1.31 

1.47 

1.80 

2.20 

2.70 

Heavy engineering (Special) .. 

0.97 

1.05 

1.16 

1.23 

1.44 

1.78 

2.19 

2.70 

Heavy engineering (general) .. 

0.94 

1.02 

1.11 

1.18 

1.36 

1.53 

1.76 

2.01 

Other metal industry . 

0.94 

1.02 

1.11 

1.18 

1.30 

1.44 

1.62 

1.86 

Basic chemical . 

0.92 

1 .— 

1.12 

1.27 

1.41 

1.61 

1.85 

2.13 

Other chemicals . 

0.86 

0.96 

1.07 

1.22 

1.31 

1.41 

1.51 

1.60 

Railways . 

0.92 

1 — 

1.08 

1.19 

1.29 

1.51 

1.78 

2.07 

Textile industry . 

0.84 

0.88 

0.92 

0.96 

1.11 

1.21 

1.34 

1.60 

Building industry . 

0.90 

1.03 

1.12 

1.17 

1.30 

1.52 

1.63 

1.86 

Wood industry. 

0.88 

0.99 

1.03 

1.18 

1.36 

1.43 

1.51 

1.61 

Factories in the democratic 

sector of 

Berlin have i 

special wage 


rates since Berlin is classifed as falling in a special class. 
The wage rates in heavy industry (Bergman Borsig) are: 

1.08 1.17 1.28 1.38 1.58 1.97 2.41 2.97 

This table of the basic wages in the various branches of indu¬ 
stry does not, however, give an exact picture of the wages 
actually paid to the overwhelming majority of the workers, 
since this list gives only the details of the time wages. All 
workers who are paid on performance pay (payment by re¬ 
sults), receive a “performance basic rate” which is 15 per cent 
higher than the basic time pay and which is paid out when the 
work norm is performed 100 per cent. 

Special supplements are paid in addition to the time basic 
rate or the performance basic rate in the case of work which 
is particularly dirty, dangerous or injurious to health, and this 
special supplement is paid for the full period of such extra 
exertion or difficulty. This supplement is graded; it is nor¬ 
mally 15 per cent but rises in the case of underground work 
and Work on high tension apparatus and electrical lines 
crossing railways to 25 per cent. For foundry men, rolling mill 
workers, and furnace men it is 20 per cent etc. 


3 250 QUESTIONS 


33 


















In addition to these various supplements there are the very 
extensive social and cultural services outlined later in the 
sextion “Care for the Workers.” 

Furthermore, every worker has many possibilities of improv¬ 
ing his qualifications and earning higher wages by doing 
more responsible work (examples are given in answer to the 
question “What is a factory collective agreement?”). 

Finally it must not be forgotten that all jobs and professions 
are open to the children of workers and all other working 
people (see also “Education” and “Youth”). 

2. Has the principle “Equal pay for equal work” been put into 
practice in the German Democratic Republic? 

Yes, it is legally guaranteed. The Labour Law of April 19th 
1950 lays down in paragraph 3: “Equal pay for equal work is 
to be paid to all workers independent of their sex or age.” 
This labour law was issued to further and support working 
force, to increase labour productivity and to further improve 
the material and cultural position of the workers and office 
employees. 

For the working people of the German Democratic Republic 
this achievement of our state of workers and peasants 
has long become a matter of course. Women and young people 
when they do the same work and achieve the same output 
receive exactly the same wages as men. 

3. What about over-time pay? 

Section 2 of paragraph 2 of the Decree on the Rights of the 
Working People lays down that factory directors and factory 
owners must take measures to ensure that the daily or weekly 
work period is not exceeded. The factory trade union commit¬ 
tees and the safety commissions are also pledged to carry 
on a continuous battle against overtime work. Under excep¬ 
tional circumstances (such as catastrophes or urgent repairs to 
avoid a stoppage of work in a factory department or a whole 
factory) over-time may be worked, but a supplement of 
25 per cent of the normal time pay or performance pay must 
be paid in cases where a different percentage has not been 
already laid down. For drivers and assistant drivers both the 
actual driving time and the waiting time counts as part of 
their working day. Over-time work may not be compensated 
for by the grant of extra time off without the agreement of 
the workers. Where extra time off is given with the agree¬ 
ment of the worker, the over-time supplement must still be 
paid. 


34 


The Decree on the Improvement of the Working Conditions 
and Living Conditions of the Workers and the Rights of the 
Trade Unions, issued on December 10th 1953, emphasizes once 
again that the factory director is not allowed to commit 
breaches of the legally determined hours of work. In excep¬ 
tional cases the district committee of the trade union con¬ 
cerned is allowed to give its permission on the decision of 
the factory trade union committee and a request of the factory 
directorship. Exceptional agreements on extending the time 
worked in a whole industry may only be made by the Central 
Board of the trade union concerned on the application of the 
relevant Minister or State Secretary. The number of over¬ 
time hours worked per person may not exceed 120 hours 
per year or four hours on two consecutive days. 

A supplement of 50 per cent is paid for Sunday work and a 
supplement of 100 per cent for work on the legal holidays. 
The legal holidays are: May 1st, Liberation Day (May 8th) 
Republic Day (October 7th), New Year’s Day, Good Friday, 
Easter Sunday and Monday, Ascension Day, Whitsunday and 
Monday, Penitence Day, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. 
In various districts Reformation Day and Corpus Christi are 
also holidays. Workers of Jewish faith celebrate the Jewish 
New Year as a legal holiday. 

Factories which are working three shifts pay a 10 per cent 
supplement for night work, a 50 per cent supplement for 
Sunday work and a 100 per cent supplement for work on 
legal holidays. 


4. What is the difference between performance pay in the 
German Democratic Republic and piece rates 
in West Germany? 

The main difference is that in the nationally owned industry 
of the German Democratic Republic no private employer and 
no shareholder can make a profit from the additional perfom- 
ance of the workers, since there is no exploitation of man 
by man. The size of the wage of the individual worker 
depends upon his personal performance, while the purchasing 
power of this wage is determined by the quantity of con¬ 
sumer goods available. The worker in the German Democratic 
Republic is therefore interested in increasing labour produc¬ 
tivity, since he can say quite rightly: “The way we work 
to-day determines how we shall live to-morrow, since no 
capitalist can enrich himself on our work. When we produce 
more, better and more cheaply to-day, we shall be able to 
purchase more, better and more cheaply to-morrow.” In the 


3 s 


35 


nationally owned f actories of the German Democratic Republic 
there are no servants of trust bosses or shareholders pressing 
for a speed-up in the interest of their bank accounts or their 
stock exchange quotations. 

In the capitalist economy higher performances lead inevitably 
to a reduction of the piece rate and the workers are forced 
to work more intensively for the same wage without regard 
to their health. In addition, when individual performance is 
improved, fewer workers are necessary, so that under capi¬ 
talism workers are sacked and forced to join the army of the 
unemployed. In the German Democratic Republic this is not 
possible. 

In the German Democratic Republic the worker has his own 
interest in seeing to it that performance is paid for in accord¬ 
ance with the quantity, quality, difficulty and complicated 
nature of the work, and in accordance with the importance 
of the branch of industry for the entire economy (for example 
mining). The questions and answers which follow will show 
further the difference between performance pay and piece 
rates. 

5. Is the system of performance pay used in the private 
factories of the German Democratic Republic? 

What has already been said shows that this is not possible. 
In the private economy of the German Democratic Republic, 
that is to say in the factories which belong to private employ¬ 
ers, there is no performance pay. Pay there is regulated on 
time rates and piece rates agreed between the workers and 
the employers. These agreements must be approved by the 
factory trade union committees, and they are supervised by 
the state and the trade unions. 

6. How is performance pay calculated? 

When a norm has been established for a certain job, the wage 
of the worker rises proportionally with each completed piece 
which he produces over this norm. 

Norm overfulfilment is paid on the basis of the performance 
rate plus the percentage of overfulfilment. Here are two 
examples: 

Face man (Mining) 

Wage group VII = 3.07 marks plus 15 per cent for perform¬ 
ance basic pay = 3.53 marks. This is the rate paid when 
the norm is 100 per cent fulfilled. 


36 


Norm fulfilment of 

103 

per cent 

3.64 

marks 

hourly 

pay 


105 


3.71 





110 

„ = 

3.88 





115 


4.06 





120 

» 

4.24 





130 

„ = 

4.59 





140 


4.94 





150 

„ 

5.30 





Turner (Heavy Engineering) 


Wage group VII = 2.19 marks plus 15 per cent for per- 


formance basic pay 

= 2.52 

marks. 




Norm fulfilment of 

103 per 

cent = 

2.60 marks 

hourly 

pay 

y9 

105 „ 

„ == 

2.65 

99 


%9 99 

110 „ 

„ = 

2.77 

99 


99 9y 

115 „ 

99 

2.90 



99 >9 

120 „ 

99 

3.02 

„ 

99 


130 „ 

99 

3.28 

99 

99 

99 99 

140 „ 

„ = 

3.53 

99 

99 

99 99 

150 „ 

„ = 

3.78 

99 



(Taxation of the performance by supplement is shown on 
page 39.) 


7. What is the tendency of wages in the German Democratic 
Republic and West Germany? 

Since 1950 the wages of the great majority of all workers 
in nationally owned and private enterprises have repeatedly 
been considerably raised. In the same period wage taxes have 
been reduced and prices for consumer goods have been cut. 

In September 1954 already the average earnings of industrial 
workers in the German Democratic Republic were about 4 per 
cent higher than in West Germany. Since then the difference 
has become still greater. 

In particular the earnings of women and young people are 
much lower in West Germany than in the German Democratic 
Republic, since they receive on the average only 60 or 70 per 
cent of the wage paid to men for the same work. 70 per cent 
of all working women in West Germany have a monthly 
income of only 200 marks. 


8. What are norms, and how and by whom are they fixed? 

The norms in the German Democratic Republic are described 
as “technically calculated work norms”. They are a measure of 
the quantity and quality of work to be done by each individual, 


37 





















and also the quantity of material to be used. Technically calcu¬ 
lated work norms are based upon o thorough investigation of 
the possibilities of improving the production technique in the 
relevant department, the full use of mechanisation, the impro¬ 
vement of labour organisation, the full use of the working day, 
the specialised qualifications the worker needs for his job, and 
the production experiences of our activists. This means that 
the norms are not fixed by the muscular strength or the 
rushed work of individual workers but by the use and 
utilisation of the technical facilities and better working 
methods in the factories. 

This means that the workers do not improve their performance 
by exerting more effort. It is not in the interest of society to 
achieve better performances at the cost of the health of the 
workers. The principle to be followed is to produce more in 
the same period without greater effort by using new pro¬ 
gressive working methods, improving the technical equipment 
and changing and improving the organisation of labour. An 
increase in production is the basis for the improvement of the 
living standard. 

This means that the norms cannot be laid down arbitrarily by 
a representative of the management but that they must be 
the result of consultations on the shop floor in which the 
proposals made by the workers, the foremen and the engineers 
must be regarded and utilised. In our nationally owned 
factories the foremen are pledged to help the workers to 
fulfil and overfulfil their work norm and thus to earn more. 
They do this by teaching the workers the best methods of 
work and by seeing to it that good materials and tools are 
available. 

Here is what Hans Jantek, a 23 year old face worker in the 
coal mine “Deutschland” pitt I departement fi has to say 
about it. Hans Jantek earns 17 marks per shift as performance 
basic pay and says: “I fulfil the norm between 120 and 130 per 
cent. In order to achieve this I do not need to rush; I do it 
at my normal working speed.” 

9. Why and how are bonuses paid? 

In nationally owned industry there is a bonus system designed 
to give recognition to particular achievements. Various bonus 
systems are used in nationally owned factories to reward those 
workers who cannot work on the performance pay system 
and who do particularly good work. In addition bonuses for 
economy in the use of raw materials and for high quality 
work can be paid to workers on performance pay in addition 
to their usual earnings. 


38 


In the factory collective agreement of the Max Foundry 
for instance, it is laid down that workers on time rates 
(crane drivers, lorry and car drivers, repair men, grinders, 
transport workers etc.) can be paid bonuses of up to 20 per 
cent of the time rate when they do better work than the 
normal; when the work which they do is of particularly 
good quality; when the job is done in less than the time 
set (though safety regulations must of course be observed), 
and when it can be proved that material, power and so on 
are used in a particularly economical fashion. 

In addition inventions and improvement suggestions are 
rewarded with bonuses, and these bonuses are calculated on 
the material profit which these improvements bring to the 
factory or nationally owned industry as a whole. It is obvious 
that in such cases the bonuses sometimes reach large figures. 
Sums of over 1000 marks are by no means seldom (more 
details are given in the chapter “Activists, Emulation Contests 
and Heroes of Labour”.) 

Additional bonus payments are made generally on May 1st, 
the world festival of the working class, Activists’ Day on 
October 13th, and Republic Day on October 7th. In addition 
bonuses and gifts are donated to women on International 
Women’s Day (March 8th). 

The bonuses are not allocated behind closed doors by the 
factory directorship but are proposed by the workers in the 
shops and office departments and discussed publicly and in 
a comradely spirits- with representatives of the factory trade 
union committee to ensure that the best and most worthy 
workers receive the bonuses. 


10. What taxes do the workers pay? 

There are three tax groups in the German Democratic Re¬ 
public. Tax Group I: Unmarried men under 60 and unmarried 
women under 50 who have no children whom they must 
support or who are studying at universities. 

Tax Group II: All married men and women and all un¬ 
married men over 60 and unmarried women over 50 without 
claim to reduction for children. 

Tax Group III: All men and women with reduction for 
children. These reductions are extended in regard to all 
children belonging to the household up to the age of 18 and 
in special cases for older children. The number of children 
is taken into consideration. Classification in tax group III 
takes place whether the wage earner is married or not. 





When both the man and his wife are working, both of them 
are classified in the tax group corresponding with their 
income (see the following examples). 

Performance bonuses paid from the directors fund or similar 
funds are free of tax. The quarterly plan fulfilment bonuses 
are liable to a tax of 5 per cent. 

The performance pay supplements are taxed 5 per cent irres¬ 
pective of size, while in West Germany piece rates are fully 
liable to tax. In contrast to West Germany the special pay for 
difficult and dirty work (dust, dirt, cold, heat and gas supple¬ 
ments) are tax free in the German Democratic Republic. (The 
mark of the German Democratic Republic and the West 
German mark are exchanged at 1 :1 in inter-zonal trade.) 

a) Wage taxation 

First example: Monthly wage of a worker, single, 350 marks 
(280 marks basic pay plus 70 marks performance pay or piece 
rate). 

German Democratic Republic 

Wage tax on basic wage of 280 marks .... 15.— 

Wage tax on 70 marks performance supplement 3.50 

18.50 marks 

West Germany 

Wage tax on basic pay 280 marks.^ 28 05 

Wage tax on piece rate 70 marks. ) ' 

Emergency contribution for West Berlin . . . 3.10 

31.15 marks 

The worker in the German Democratic Republic thus pays 
12.65 marks less tax. 

Second example: Miner, married, two children, husband’s 
monthly wage 700 marks (basic wage 550 marks plus perfor¬ 
mance supplement or piece work supplement 150 marks) 
Wife’s monthly wage 250 marks. 


German Democratic Republic 

Wage tax for husband on 550 marks.38.— 

Wage tax on 150 marks. 7.50 

Wage tax of the wife on 250 marks. 0.00 

45.50 marks 

West Germany 

Wage tax on 550 marks.^ 69 75 

Wage tax on 150 marks.. . . / 

Emergency contribution for West Berlin . . . 5.80 


40 












Wage tax of wife on 250 marks. 0.00 

Emergency contribution for West Berlin . . . 0.00 


75.55 marks 

The worker and his family in the German Democratic Re¬ 
public thus pays 30.05 marks less tax. 

b) Taxation of salary 

First example: office worker, single, monthly salary 400 marks, 
Working ability reduced 55 per cent by heart disease. 


German Democratic Republic 

Monthly salary. 400.— 

Amount free of tax.140.— 

260.— marks 

Wage tax.12.— marks 

West Germany 

Wage tax on 400 marks.38.05 

Emergency contribution for West Berlin . . . 3.80 

41.85 marks 


The office worker in the German Democratic Republic thus 
pays 29.85 marks less tax. 

Second example: Office worker, married, two children, 
monthly salary 600 marks plus bonus for improvement 
suggestion or payment for invention 200 marks. Wife’s salary 
250 marks. 


German Democratic Republic 

Wage tax on 600 marks.50.— 

Wage tax on the bonus for improvement 

suggestion of 200 marks. 0.00 

Wage tax of wife. 0.00 

50.— marks 


West Germany 

Wage tax on 600 marks.\ 

Wage tax on invention in factory of 200 marks j 
Emergency contribution for West Berlin . . . 7.65 

Wage tax of wife. 0.00 

Emergency contribution for West Berlin . . . 0.00 

105.90 marks 


The office worker and his family in the German Democratic 
Republic thus pays 55.90 marks less tax. 


41 


















Care for the workers in the German Democratic Republic 

1. What are the working hours? 

A working day of eiigth hours is legally laid down. The working 
week consists of 48 hours. Young people between the ages 
of 16 and 18 work 7 V 2 hours daily or 45 hours weekly 
and young people from 14 to 16 seven hours daily or 42 hours 
weekly. Children under fourteen and children still attending 
elementary school although they are over fourteen are for¬ 
bidden to work. 

(For over-time see the section “Wages”.) 

A further shortening of working hours is envisaged for 
workers employed under condition dangerous to their health 

2. How long are the annual holidays? 

The following holidays with full pay are granted: 

Workers and office workers receive a basic annual holiday of 
12 working days. Amputees, cripples etc. and those who were 
persecuted by the Nazi regime receive three working days 
additional holiday. 

Workers doing heavy labour or who work under conditions 
prejudicial to their health receive an annual holiday of 18 or 
24 working days. 

Leading and technical workers in responsible positions 
receive from 18 to 24 working days annual holiday. 

Young people aged between 14 and 16 receive 21 working days 
holiday and young people aged between 16 and 18 receive 
18 working days. 

In addition, in various factories the factory collective agree¬ 
ment provides for extra working days of holiday in accordance 
with the length of employment in the factory and, in some 
engineering factories, the personal performance and the diffi¬ 
culty of the work. Sick leave and convalescent leave (apart 
from special leave for preventive purposes) are not substracted 
from the holiday. 

In mining, in the metallurgical industry and in some other 
branches of particular economic importance additional days 
of holiday are granted amounting to one day after three years 
employment in the same factory, two days after five years 
employment, and three days after ten years employment. 

3. Who runs the social insurance system? 

Full responsibility for the running and supervision of the 
social insurance system has been transferred to the Free 


42 




German Trade Union Federation. This transfer has turned 
into reality the demand made for decades by the German 
workers for a united social insurance system which they 
themselves run. 

The social insurance system is run by a central board acting 
on the instructions of the Federal Board of the Free German 
Trade Union Federation. The Central Board has the following 
tasks: 

1. to assure that the workers themselves run the social in¬ 
surance system; 

2. to cooperate in legislation in the field of social insurance; 

3. to direct the social insurance bodies in the counties, 
districts and factories; 

4. to supervise and control the entire social insurance admini¬ 
stration. 

In the counties and districts of the German Democratic Re¬ 
public there are social insurance councils, headed by a chair¬ 
man named by the Free German Trade Union Federation. 
The councils are made up of trade union members delegated 
by the different unions and union boards. In the factories the 
social insurance functionaries are elected by the members 
of the trade union groups. The factory social insurance council 
is then chosen from these functionaries. In most factories in 
the German Democratic Republic the chairman of the social 
insurance council is at the same time a member of the 
factory trade union committee. 

4. What have people to pay for social insurance? 

Every insured person pays a sum amounting to 10 °/'o of his 
gross wage to the social insurance system. The factory in which 
he is employed also pays a sum amounting to 10 °/o of the 
gross wage of the insured person. In the mining industry 
the insured person pays 10 per cent and the factory pays 
20 per cent. University students and students at trade 
schools pay a monthly sum of 6 marks, and persons receiving 
full scholarship support, or who are admitted at lower fees, are 
exempted from paying even this. The members of the family 
of the insured persons enjoy all the services supplied by the 
social insurance system. 

5. What does the social insurance system do for workers in 
the German Democratic Republic when they fall sick? 

a) How high is sick pay? 

When a worker or office worker is unable to work owing to 
sickness he receives, from the first day of sickness, sick pay 


43 




amounting to 50 per cent of the gross wage on which he 
pays sick insurance contribution. In addition he can claim, 
once yearly for a period of six weeks, wage adjustment pay¬ 
ments which bring his sick pay up to a total of 90 per cent 
of his net wage. Sick pay from the social insurance is paid 
out for a period of 26 weeks, and this sick pay is extended 
to 39 weeks, if it can be expected that he will recover suffi¬ 
ciently to go back to work within this period. After the six- 
week payment of wage adjustment has ended members of 
the trade union receive for a further six weeks a special 
sickness contribution consisting of a daily sum equal to the 
weekly contribution usually paid by the worker to the trade 
union. Workers who have been members of the trade union 
for an unbroken period of three years receive this assistance 
for seven weeks; six-year members receive the assistance 
for eight weeks and nine-year members for nine weeks. 

If the sickness is due to an accident at work, then sick pay and 
wage adjustment money are paid until health has been re¬ 
stored or the patient has been declared a permanent invalid. 
Insured persons employed in the mining industry receive, from 
the eighth day of sickness, a special daily supplementary 
payment for their husband or wife and for each child amount¬ 
ing to 4 per cent of their insurance contribution. Insured 
persons in mining with three or more children in their family 
receive this supplement from the 4th day of sickness. 

Sick pay in the mining industry is paid out for a period 
of one year. Craftsmen with their own workshops receive 
a daily sick pay amounting to 10 per cent of their monthly 
contribution. 

Apprentices receive a normal sick pay and for a period of 
twelve weeks their earnings are made up to the full amount 
of their net wages. 

Persons suffering from tuberculosis and those injured in 
factory accidents receive full sick pay during hospitalisation. 
The full wage is paid out when women have a child for five 
weeks before and for six weeks after delivery and in the 
case of abnormal deliveries and twins, triplets etc. for eight 
weeks after the delivery. In addition working mothers receive 
a sum of 50 marks for baby clothes for each child. During 
pregnancy and the following nursing period working women, 
who are put on to lighter work during this period, receive 
the full wage which they previously received for their normal 
work. 

(Further details of the treatment for mothers are given in the 
chapter “Concerning Women”.) 


44 




Persons who were persecuted by the Nazi regime receive 
support 50 per cent higher than other insured persons. 

When an isured person dies a special funeral payment of at 
least 100 marks and up to 400 marks is paid. In the case of 
the death of a member of the family a funeral payment of 
between 50 marks and 200 marks is paid. When a trade union 
member dies his family receives a death payment proportional 
to his trade union contributions and the length of his trade 
union membership. 

b) What medical attention is given? 

The insured person and members of the family receive medical 
treatment and all medicine etc. for an unlimited period free 
of charge and without the payment of any prescription fee. 
| Hospital costs are covered by the social insurance for the 
insured person and family members for a period of 26 weeks. 
If the ability to work is likely to be restored, hospital fees 
! are paid for up to 52 weeks and in exceptional cases for an 
even longer period. In cases resulting from factory accidents 
and occupational diseases hospital treatment is given for an 
unlimited period. Household money for the members of the 
family of the sick person .amounts to 40 per cent of the 
insurance contribution, and in mining to 50 per cent, and 
pocket money for the invalid amounts to 25 per cent of the 
insurance contribution. In the case of hospital treatment too 
the factory pays, for the first six weeks, the difference between 
sick pay and 90 per cent of the net wage. 

As already stated sick pay is payable for a period of 26 weeks. 
In the case of treatment in a hospital or sanatorium household 
money or pocket money is given instead of sick pay. If the 
hospital treatment lasts for more than 26 weeks and if working 
ability is likely to be restored within 52 weeks then the house¬ 
hold money or pocket money is paid up to 52 weeks. 

c) What do surgical shoes cost? 

When orthopedic shoes or surgical shoes, ect. must be pro¬ 
vided, the insured person and family members pay a contri¬ 
bution towards the cost amounting to 12 marks per pair in 
the case of adults and 6 marks per pair for children up to shoe 
size number 3. Pensioners who are not working and persons 
in receipt of social assistance, and the co-insured members of 
their family pay only 6 marks per pair without regard to the 
size of the shoes. 

d) What about workers sent on cures? 

The social insurance system in the German Democratic Re¬ 
public maintains at present 33 spas and sanatoria for children 


45 




and adults, 66 convalescent homes, 35 convalescent homes for 
children and 68 children’s rest homes. In addition the Free 
German Trade Union Federation runs a large number of 
homes for preventional rest cures, 76 T.B.-sanatoria are run 
directly by the Ministry of Health. 

The social insurance system, like the holiday service of the 
trade unions, has many former castles, chateaux and villas 
which used to belong to war criminels and which are now 
used for health purposes. They have been converted into sana¬ 
toria and convalescent homes. The spas are no longer reser¬ 
ved for people with plenty of money, as used to be the case 
for instance in Bad Elster, but have become real people’s spas, 
available to all working people. 

70 per cent of the accomodation for cuires and convalescent 
cures is recerved for production workers. Office employees 
have 15 per cent of the vacancies reserved for them and other 
insured persons, including family members, dispose of the 
remaining 15 per cent. 

For preventive cures 75 per cent of the accomodation is 
reserved for production workers and 25 per cent for office 
employees. The vacancies are distributed to members of the 
trade unions through the social insurance council in the 
factory. 

In 1953 children were given a total of 14,000 medical cures, 
16,000 convalescent cures and 61,000 preventive cures. 

The number of cures is rising steadily. In 1945 a total of 
6690 cures were provided; in 1948 the number was 92,283, in 
1950 it was 238,000 and in 1952 it has risen to over 392,000. 
For 1954 it was planned to raise the number to 452,000. This 
does not include the T. B.-treatments which have been provided 
since 1952 by the Ministry of Health. 

Between 1947 and 1952 a total of 1,311,984 workers and office 
workers were treated in the sanatoria and convalescent homes 
run by the social insurance. 

The social insurance system of the German Democratic Re¬ 
public has devoted the following sums to medical cures etc.: 


1945 . . 

. . 9,000,000 marks 

1946 . . 

. . 10,200,000 

1947 . . 

. . 20,500,000 

1948 . . 

. . 58,400,000 

1949 . . 

. . 84,900,000 

1950 . . 

. . 106,100,000 

1951 . . 

. . 139,700,000 

1952 . . 

. . 160,000,000 


46 






These figures show what attention is being devoted to the 
care of people in the German Democratic Republic. 

For all insured persons and the members of their families 
these cures are provided entirely free. That is to say the 
social insurance pays the fares and the full cost of the stay, 
the food, the medicine, medical attention etc. 

The medical cures extend over a period of 28 days. They are 
granted to insured persons who are so sick as to be unable 
to work and also to those who, though able to work, are in 
such a state of health that it is advisable for them to go 
to a sanatorium or spa. The following monetary payments 
are made in connection with these cures: Insured persons 
supporting families receive household money for the period 
of the cure amounting to 40 per cent of their average gross 
earnings during the proceeding 13 weeks. Insured persons 
who have no family to support receive during the cure pocket 
money amounting to 25 per cent of the same sum. 

e) Who gets old age pensions and invalid pensions? 

When the insured person is invalided out of work he gets his 
pension which is paid after he has been insured for five 
years. Old agie pensions are paid to women who have com¬ 
pleted their 60th year and to men who have completed their 
65th year after they have been insured for a period of fifteen 
years. Old age pensioners can continue at work and the pen¬ 
sion is paid in full irrespective of the sum which they earn. 
Miners are paid their full pension when they reach the age 
of 60, and if they have been insured as miners for 25 years 
and have worked underground for fifteen years, they receive 
their pension at the age of 50. In this case too the pension 
is naturally not cut, if they continue to work, irrespective 
of how much they earn. Widows of miners receive the full 
widow’s pension when they complete their 55th year. 

The Free German Trade Union Federation pays individual 
members who have been organised in a trade union for at 
least 40 years and who receive less than 200 marks monthly, 
a special monthly contribution of 10 marks. 

(For details of pensions paid see the chapter “How do pen¬ 
sioners live in the German Democratic Republic?”) 

/) What subventions does the social insurance system receive 
from the state? 

In 1953 the government of the German Democratic Republic 
paid subventions of 388 million marks to the social insurance 
system. In contrast to this figure is the fact that the West 


German state budget took the sum of 805 million marks in 
1953 from social insurance funds. 

6. What is the position with regard to safety precautions? 

On the basis of the relevant legislation labour safety agree¬ 
ments are concluded annually in the factories which provide 
the basis for a labour safety programme in accordance with 
the demands of the workers. These labour safety agreements 
lay down the cost and the timing of all measures to be taken 
by the factory in the course of the year to improve labour 
safety. These agreements define the full personal respon¬ 
sibility of the works director or factory owner, and the co- 
determination right of the trade unions in carrying out the 
labour safety measures. All protective measures, for instance 
milk and protective clothing, are provided for workers without 
charge. 

7. Who supervises the labour safety measures? 

Trade union labour safety commissions or labour safety func¬ 
tionaries are elected to supervise the way in which labour 
protective measures are carried out. They have the right 
to investigate sources of danger and dangerous stages in the 
work in the various departments, to propose protective 
measures to the persons responsible and to advise these per¬ 
sons on accident prevention, etc. If they ascertain deficiencies 
they are entitled to demand the immediate or early removal 
of such deficiencies. 

The works director or factory owner is obliged to act in 
accordance with such demands. 

The labour safety functionaries must be given the necessary 
time on full pay to carry out their duties. 

The government and the trade unions devote considerable 
funds to the promotion of labour safety measures. Labour 
safety conferences are frequently held in which these 
questions are discussed and labour safety functionaries are 
advised and given instructions. 

8. Are norms overfulfilled at the cost of safety? 

Under no circumstances. The labour safety functionaries and 
commissions supervise, as the elected trade union represen¬ 
tatives of the workers, not only the strict observance by the 
factory directors of all safety measures, but they also explain 
and popularise safety measures amongst the workers. They 
ban all work which constitutes a breach of the safety regula- 


48 


tions and struggle consistently against all avoidable over-time 
and Sunday work. 

As a result the accident figures in the German Democratic 
Republic are steadily falling. In the first half of 1953 for 
instance, the accident figures were 11.5 per cent lower than 
for the same period of the previous year. In West Germany 
on the other hand accident figures are steadily rising as a 
result of increasing rationalisation and speed-up. Accidents 
at work increased in West German by 40 per cent between 
1949 and 1953. 

9. What must be considered when we judge the living stan¬ 
dard of the worker in the German Democratic Republic? 

The living standard of the worker in the German Democratic 
Republic cannot be judget simply on the basis of the wages, 
the taxes and the prices for food and consumer goods (for 
details on prices see the chapter “Trade and Supply in the 
German Democratic Republic”). 

In a state of workers and peasants the workers enjoy the 
results of their labour in other forms too, forms which cannot 
be expressed in terms of money or be measured in wages. 
The description given above of the services provided by the 
social insurance system has already shown that the workers 
enjoy facilities which in West Germany are reserved for the 
well-to-do. The following questions and answers give more 
information on this point. 

10. What about health services in the factories? 

It is legally laid down that factories with more than 50 and 
less than 2000 workers must maintain, according to the size 
of the factory medical rooms or factory first aid departments. 
Factories with over 2000 workers must be provided with 
factory clinics with 20 or 30 rooms or, in the case of factories 
employing over 4000 people, factory polyclinics with 40 to 
90 rooms. 

Approximately 3500 nationally owned factories already have 
such installations. 

The Decree for the Further Improvement of the Working and 
Living Conditions of the Workers and the Rights of the Trade 
Unions lays down: 

a) Improved health services 

the network of out-patient care in the factories (poly¬ 
clinics, clinics and first aid stations) must be extended. 


4 250 QUESTIONS 


49 


In 1954 about 100 million marks were to be provided. The 
supply and equipment of the existing hospitals, poly¬ 
clinics and clinics is to be improved. 

b) Rest rooms and overnight sanatoria 

Factories employing more than 500 people, and mainly 
women, must in the next three years instal rest rooms. 
Large factories, particularly those where work dangerous 
to health is done, should have over-night sanatoria and 
rest homes. 

The over-night sanatorium is an installation designed both 
to prevent sickness and to treat sickness. The advantage 
of such installations is that the factory workers being 
treated there can continue with their normal work. 

c) Free protective clothing 

The Ministry of Health must issue a catalogue of the 
protective clothing to be provided free by the factories. 
(This catalogue was issued in September 1954 and is 
binding upon the factories concerned.) 

11. What is a factory polyclinic like? 

Each factory polyclinic must include a department for inter¬ 
nal diseases, for obstetrics, a surgical department and a 
dental department. 

In addition the larger factory polyclinics must include an 
ear-nose-and-throat department, an opthalmic department and 
an X-ray department and must employ at least two doctors 
for internal diseases. 

This is the type of factory polyclinic to be found in the 
“Optima” typewriter factory at Erfurt, one of the most 
modern and best polyclinics in the German Democratic Re¬ 
public. 

This factory polyclinic consists of 72 rooms equipped with 
all the necessary apparatus and equipment. The government of 
the German Democratic Republic contributed 600,000 marks 
for the building of this clinic. 

Three doctors work in the general and internal department. 
Specialists are employed to deal with skin diseases, the ear- 
nose-and-throat department and the opthalmic department. 
The polyclinic also has a surgeon, a gynecologist, for the more 
than 2000 women workers, and the dental department employs 
two dentists. False teeth are made on the spot in the technical 
laboratories. 

All the doctors in the factory polyclinic are employees of the 
state health services and not of the factory as in West 


50 


Germany. This gives a guarantee that the factory doctors 
represent, without any limitation, the interests of he workers. 

The clinic in the “Optima” factory also provides medicinal 
baths of all types and other treatment such as ray treatment, 
heat treatment and so on. Massage and rest rooms are also 
available. 

The well equipped clinical laboratory can carry out cardio¬ 
logical examinations and analysis of stomach juices and other 
medical examinations. 

In earlier days when there was no factory polyclinic with 
its own laboratory, the workers often had to wait very long 
for the results of such examinations. 

The fact that the polyclinic itself dispenses medicines means 
a great saving of time. 

The factory polyclinic has its own X-ray department with first 
class equipment for examination and X-ray photography. 

The doctors employed in such a polyclinic have as their first 
task the practice of preventive medicine and the dissemina¬ 
tion of medical knowledge. They naturally also have to give 
good medical treatment to those who fall sick. 

Routine medical examinations are carried out regularly as part 
of the preventive programme. In order to detect and remove 
the sources of sickness, the factory doctors regularly inspect 
the factory together with the labour safety commission. 

The factory doctors, in cooperation with the social insurance 
commission elected by the workers, make an analysis of the 
increase and decrease of sickness, and prepare statistics on 
the causes of sickness. The results of their investigations help 
them to improve the health of the workers through routine 
examinations and medical treatment. 

To spread medical knowledge films are shown from time to 
time in the various factory departments on tuberculosis and 
other infectious diseases. The spreading of information on 
healthy habits also forms part of the medical programme. 

The factory polyclinic also gives instruction to the members 
of the German Red Cross and holds aid courses for 
30 members. 

The workers of the nationally owned “Optima” factory are 
rightly proud of their factory polyclinic. 

Treatment in a factory polyclinic is provided, like all other 
medical treatment, free of cost for an unlimited period, and no 
prescription fee has to be paid. 


A' 


51 


12. What other facilities are provided in the factories? 

In all larger nationally owned factories there are day 
nurseries and creches in which the children are cared for by 
trained personnel. 

The state devotes great attention to the training of such 
personnel and the number of nursery school assistants who 
have taken the state examination is steadily increasing. 
Workshops for the repair of clothing and shoes are also being 
established in the factories. 

13. Are there factory canteens? 

Yes. By September 1954 there were 7,500 factory canteens in 
the German Democratic Republic. In these canteens, most of 
wich are well equipped, with table-cloths, flowers on the tables 
and pictures on the walls, good meals with plenty of variety 
are served by the canteen staff. The canteen staff are 
employed by the factory funds. This enables the price of meals 
to be held at a low level, and meals average between 30 and 
90 pfennigs, according to the size of the subsidy. More than 
170 big factory canteens provide a choice of three or more 
dishes every day. 

In 1954 2,200,000 workers ate in their canteens daily. The 
meals are off the ration, and they include between 50 and 
140 grammes of meat, 20 grammes of fat and 20 grammes of 
sugar daily, apart from potatoes, bread, vegetables etc. 

14. What holiday facilities have the workers? 

In the holiday resorts, formerly frequented by the well-to-do, 
the trade unions have 267 holiday homes of their own, and 
in addition they have contracts with 691 other holiday homes, 
thus providing the best facilities for all holiday makers. In 
Tabarz, Thuringia, and in Zeuthen near Berlin new holiday 
homes, each with accomodation for 100 people, were built 
and in Friedrichroda a new holiday home with accomodation 
for 300 people was completed in summer 1954. 

The most popular holiday areas are the Baltic Coast, Thurin¬ 
gia, the Harz mountains and Saxon Switzerland, and holiday 
homes are situated both in the big resorts and in smaller vil¬ 
lages. On the Baltic Coast holiday makers can go to Herings- 
dorf, Bansin, Zinnowitz, Kiihlungsborn, the island of Riigen 
and Hiddensee and many other places. Schierke in the Harz 
mountains is one of the most popular holiday centres both 
in summer and in winter. Many of the holiday homes of the 
trade unions are situated in mountain centres in Thuringia, 


52 




such as Oberhof, Schmiedefeld and Frauenwald. Other wor¬ 
kers spend their holidays in the well equipped holiday homes 
of the trade unions in the Erzgelbirge mountains and in Saxon 
Switzerland. 

Between 1950 and 1952 the government and the trade unions 
devoted more than 27 million marks to the building of holiday 
homes and to subsidies designed to make holidays cheaper. 
The financial contributions from the state and the trade unions 
grow from year to year. In 1953 the trade unions devoted 13,7 
million marks to holiday services and holiday camps; in 1954 
this sum was raised to 38.6 million marks. In 1953 the govern¬ 
ment provided 5.75 million marks for these purposes and 
, raised this sum to 9.95 million marks in 1954. 

The number of holiday journeys is steadily increasing. In 
1947, when the holiday service of the trade unions began 
work, a total of 17,500 holiday journeys were organised. In 
i 1953 the number had risen to 600,000 and in 1955 it will rise 
to 800,000. Between 1947 and 1953 a total of 2,079,500 workers 
( and office workers spent their holidays in the holiday homes 
' of the trade unions. 

Zinnowitz on the Baltic Coast used to be a place where only 
the well-to-do could afford to spend their holidays. In the 
summer season of 1953 a total of 38,000 working people spent 
I fourteen days happy holidays here. During the holiday season 
four special trains, equipped with club cars, cinema and 
restaurant cars, rim weekly between Karl Marx Stadt (the 
former Chemnitz) and Zinnowitz. 

In addition to the holiday homes maintained by the trade 
unions, the large nationally owned factories have a large 
number of holiday homes of their own. 

The “Walther Ulbricht” Leuna works for instance has finely 
equipped factory rest homes in Koserow on the island of Use- 
dom and at Tabarz in the Thuringian mountains. 

15. What does a holiday cost? 

A thirteen day holiday costs the worker only 30 marks. The 
actual cost of the holiday is 75 marks but the difference is 
made up by the trade union. 

In 1953 the trade union subvention to make holidays cheaper 
amounted to 7,485,000 marks. In 1954 this sum was raised to 
16,440,000 marks. 

Visitors to the holiday homes are automatically insured 
against loss of luggage and against accident and they pay 
nothing for this insurance. 


53 




All trade union members have a 33% per cent reduction in 
railway fares for holiday trips, even if they have not received 
accomodation in a trade union holiday home. 

The trade union organisations in the factories supervise the 
entire holiday service and are entitled to grant further sub¬ 
ventions to holiday makers. 40 per cent of the trade union 
contributions remain in the hands of the factory trade union 
organisation and 10 per cent of this sum ist allocated for holi¬ 
day purposes. In addition the factory directors of nationally 
owned factories make grants towards the cost of holiday trips. 
Workers who have done a particularly good job often receive 
free holiday trips in recognition of their work. 

16. What other holiday possibilities are there? 

In 1951 the holiday services of the trade unions in the Ger¬ 
man Democratic Republic participated for the first time in 
international holiday exchange schemes. Since then every 
year several thousand of the best workers, office workers and 
members of the intelligentsia have been able to spend their 
holidays in the resorts of friendly countries, in Marianske 
Lazne, Zakopane, on the Black Sea, in the Rumanian moun¬ 
tains, and so on. Such holidays are a recognition of good work 
and all costs are paid by the trade unions. 

Trade unionists from West Germany and West Berlin are 
invited to spend their holidays in the trade union homes of 
the German Democratic Republic, and thus have a chance 
to see for themselves the successes won by the working class 
in the German Democratic Republic. 

Every winter 500 agricultural workers and workers from brick 
works and saw mills, who otherwise have little opportunity 
to visit the cities, receive special 14 day holidays in a big 
city. The costs of these holidays are borne by the trade unions. 


17. Are there holiday homes for children? 

Yes, children's holiday camps are run to provide happy holi¬ 
days for the children of the working people. The factories and 
the schools are mainly responsible for running these camps. 
In 1952 a total of 420,000 spent their holidays in 3190 factory 
holiday homes and 65,000 more children in 39 camps run by 
the Young Pioneers: In 1953 a total of 530,000 children visited 
4049 factory camps and 75,000 children visited 49 pioneer 
camps. (The “Young Pioneers” is a voluntary spare-time orga¬ 
nisation for boys and girls aged 6—14, providing sports, hob¬ 
bies etc.) 


54 



In 1953 the trade unions provided 2.3 million marks for these 
camps, the'government 12 million marks and the social insur¬ 
ance system 5 million marks. In 1954 these sums were greatly 
increased. The trade unions provided 8 million marks, the 
government 45 million marks and the social insurance system 
5 million marks. 

18. What cultural installations are provided in the factories? 

At present there are 516 club houses or houses of culture in 
the nationally owned factories. These are buildings either in 
the factory itself or nearby, which are excellently furnished 
and equipped. These club houses provide club rooms with com- 
| fortable arm chairs, music rooms with instruments, big, well 
; stocked, libraries and reading rooms, theatres, cinemas and 
dance halls. 

In addition every nationally owned factory, according to size, 
provides one or more club rooms with facilities for reading, 
games and recreation. A total of 5305 such club rooms exist 
! at the moment in the German Democratic Republic. 

In addition the nationally owned factories dispose of about 
9000 study rooms etc. for the scientific and technical training 
of the workers, more than 8000 libraries, 150 full sized 
cinemas and a large quantity of sub-standard film projectors. 

1 250,000 workers have joined one of the 12,000 folk-art groups 
which entertain their colleagues after work and on holidays 
with songs, dances and other forms of art. 

The Central Board of the Free German Union Federation pro- 
j vided 34.8 million marks in 1953 for lectures, folk-art groups, 
I study circles, libraries and so on. In addition money is pro¬ 
vided from the Directors funds of the nationally owned fac¬ 
tories and from the factory trade union funds for cultural 
i purposes. 

19. Is there any unemployment in the German Democratic 
Republic? 

The planned and crisis-free economy in the German Demo¬ 
cratic Republic excludes the possibility of mass unemployment 
j or short-time working. The spectre of unemployment has been 
banished once and for all. The worker knows that he will 
have work not only to-day and to-morrow but also next month 
and next year — in fact that he will always have work. He 
knows that he will have full employment the whole year 
round and that he can depend upon a steadily rising real 
income. If here and there a few persons are temporarily with- 


55 





out work, this is generally due to local technical reasons, for 
instance the reorganisation of a branch of industry or the 
special skills of the worker for which there is no demand in 
his district at the moment. In the territory of the German 
Democratic Republic as a whole the work available is far 
greater than the working force. 


56 


Activists, Emulation Contests and Heroes of Labour 


1. What are “activists” und “emulation contests”? 

Those readers who have studied the proceeding pages of this 
book and the information they give on the life of the workers 
in the German Democratic Republic will not find it surprising 
that in such a state of workers and peasants there are 
many thousands of workers who declare: “I have exceeded 
my work norm because I am no longer working for the capita¬ 
lists but for my factory and our whole people — and thus for 
myself too”. 

But it was one particular worker who first formulated his 
thoughts in this way: the miner Adolf Hennecke, who on 
October 13th 1948 used new working methods and overful¬ 
filled his norm by 380 per cent. At that time quite a lot of wor¬ 
kers laughed at him or made fun of him. But to-day there 
are tens of thousands of activists in all branches of industry, 
and in the administration too, and nobody would think of 
laughing at them or being angry with them. 

To be an activist means to raise labour productivity, to im¬ 
prove quality, to increase the quantity of goods available and 
to reduce costs and thereby, eventually, the prices. 

To be an activists means to help those colleagues who are 
lagging behind and to exchange experiences gained so that 
everybody can keep up with the best and the most diligent. 
For the same reason work brigades, factory departments, 
factories and entire industries in the nationally owned eco¬ 
nomy arrange emulation contests. These emulation contests 
have various aims, for instance the introduction on a broad 
basis of new working methods; the speedy dissemination of 
improvements; the improvement of the technology of the pro¬ 
duction process; the improvement of labour organisation; 
technical foundation of work norms; better utilisation of ma¬ 
chinery; further training of the workers; reduction of waste 
and improvement of quality; economy in the use of raw ma¬ 
terial and power; and uitilisation of internal reverses. (Inter¬ 
nal reserves are existing factories, machines, raw materials 
etc. which are not yet fully utilised.) 

The factory directorship supports emulation contests by 
steadily improving the social and cultural measures available 
for the workers. These are the reasons why there are acti¬ 
vists and emulation contests in the nationally owned economy 
of the German Democratic Republic. In the factories owned 


57 


by private capitalists there are naturally neither activists nor 
emulation contests, although the workers in these factories 
see to it that orders placed by nationally owned industry or 
nationally owned trade are fulfilled punctually and with goods 
of the proper quality. 

2 . Does an activists work at the sacrifice of his health? 

No. An activist has to work not with his muscles but with his 
brains. The activists plan and organise their work better, 
avoid all wasteful standing around and improve the output 
of their machines. The section “Labour Safety” already showed 
that no work may be done under conditions contrary to the 
labour safety regulations and the health regulations. 

Here are some examples of the work of activists: 

In the foundry of the Thale Iron and Foundry Works the 52 
year old worker Josef Borowski runs a special machine ma¬ 
king feet for bath tubs. In order to fulfill his norm he had to 
pour sand 32 times into forms, take out the pattern, put in 
the foot- core, take away the frame, move the form weighing 
39 kilogrammes and then cast the iron. He had to do all this 
in order to fulfill his norm. He organished the work better and 
soon found that instead of 32 forms he could cast first 40, 
then 50, 60 and finally 80 forms. He organised his work still 
better and found he could cast not only 80 but even 135 and 
140 forms. He was able to do this because he asked himself 
why he should always bend down, thus using up both time 
and energy. He tried pressing the sand down skilfully and 
found that that served just as well. Then he asked himself 
why he always had less forms than iron early in the morning 
and he came to the conclusion that if he started work one 
hour earlier and f inished one hour earlier, he would achieve the 
right work rhythm. And this was successful too. Then he made 
the further improvement of planing each hour and reserving 
the last hour for preparing the work to be done on the next 
day. And when Josef Borowski hat arranged everything in 
this manner, he found that he was making no more useless 
movements, saving time and strength, and thus achieving 
better results. 

Fritz Buchwalter works in the boiler making department of 
the Bergmann-Borsig factory in Berlin-Wilhelmsruh. He con¬ 
structed an exhauster unit which removed the dust and the 
smoke which was nearly throttling the workers who welded 
the joints inside the boilers. In addition he introduced an new 
welding method, proved in the Soviet Union, by which bundles 
of electrodes are used and managed to make new improve¬ 
ments in this method. 


58 




In the foundry of the nationally owned engineering works at 
Halle, the monthly casting output was raised in 1949 from 
80 tons to 175 tons without increasing the number of workers. 
This was done by introducing a whole series of improvements 
in the organisation of the work. The skilled workers did only 
the highly skilled jobs and the other work was done by un¬ 
skilled workers. More attention was devoted to the prepa¬ 
ration of patterns, the delivery of raw materials and the col¬ 
lection of the items already cast. By these methods labour 
productivity was increased by 115 per cent. 

In the mechanical department of the nationally owned Halle/ 
Saale works a turner proposed a new method of working 
cylinder parts by which three cutting tools were used simulta¬ 
neously. The time taken for the production of this part was 
thereby reduced to only 45 per cent of the time previously 
taken. 

The chapter “How do the workers live in the German Demo¬ 
cratic Republic?” discribes how these activists, and other 
workers, receive special bonusses for work improvement sug¬ 
gestions and for inventions. 

3. How big are the premiums? 

The government of the German Democratic Republic has laid 
down regulations for proper and speedy handling of inventions 
and improvement suggestions made in the nationally owned 
economy and also regulations on the compensation to be paid 
for improvement suggestions and inventions. 

Ministers, state secretaries, county council chairmen and the 
managers of the nationally owned factories are responsible 
for seeing to it that useable improvement suggestions and 
inventions are put into operation without delay. 

All nationally owned factories have special departments for 
dealing with inventions and improvements. 

An improvement suggestion is any suggestion for a technical 
refinement, a rationalisation of production, or an improvement 
of administrative work, or which in any other way is calcu¬ 
lated to produce economic or other advantages for the econo¬ 
my. It ist not necessary that such a suggestion should be a 
innovation or something technically new. An improvement 
suggestion ist also valuable when it produces a technical or 
organisational improvement in the factory, even when such 
improvements are already known in other places. An improve¬ 
ment which includes a patentable invention is dealt with 
according to the regulations of the Patent Law. This insures 
that the patented invention remains the property of the in- 


59 







ventor. All other improvement suggestions are divided into 
three groups. 

The first group is made up of technical refinements which may 
approach the rank of inventions. They are something new 
and their main characteristic is that they improve or change 
the product itself or the tools used to make it. 

The second group of improvement suggestions includes the 
suggestions for using more efficiently the tools or material 
in the production process without changing the method of 
production, the means of production or the product. In this 
group fall all improvements which increased the efficiency 
of the human labour element in the production process. 

The third group ist made up of improvements in administra¬ 
tive work, improvements which simplify or make more effec¬ 
tive the organisation or the method of work. Improvement 
suggestions in factory administration include for instance 
improvements in the book-keeping, of the documentation, 
supply, sales etc. 

The classification of the improvement suggestions is of im¬ 
portance with regard to the size of the compensation paid. 
All compensation up to 10,000 marks is free of tax. Both the 
statistically calculable gain from the improvement and the 
non-calculable gain are taken into consideration when the 
size of the compensation is calculated. Technical improments 
(group 1) may bring compensation of up to 25 per cent and 
improvements in group 2 of up to 12.5 per cent. Here are 
details of the compensation paid. 

For Technical Refinements: 


Saving Compensation 


up to 1,000 

marks 

25 per 

cent but at least 

30 marks 

from 1,001 to 

5,000 

n 

12 


+ 

130 


from 5,001 to 

10,000 

9f 

3 


+ 

330 

99 

from 10,001 to 

50,000 


5 „ 


+ 

650 

99 

from 50,001 to 

100,000 


3 „ 

„ 

+ 

1,700 

„ 

from 100,001 to 

250,000 

99 

2.5 „ 


+ 

2,250 

„ 

from 250,001 to 

500,000 

„ 

2 „ 

„ 

+ 

3,500 


from 500,001 to 1,000,000 


1,5 „ 

„ 

+ 

6,000 


over 

1,000,000 

9f 

1 

„ 

+ 

11,000 

„ 




but not 

more 

than 

30,000 

„ 


For Improvement Suggestions (rationalisation of production) 


Saving Compensation 


up to 1,000 

marks 

12,5 per cent but at least 

20 marks 

from 1,001 to 

5,000 

6 „ „ 

+ 

65 „ 

from 5,001 to 

10,000 

4 „ „ 

+ 

170 ., 

from 10,001 to 

50,000 

2.5 „ „ 

+ 

350 „ 

from 50,001 to 

100,000 

1,5 „ ., 

+ 

860 „ 

from 100,001 to 

250,000 

2.15 „ .. 

+ - 

1,120 „ 

from 250,001 to 

500,000 

1 ,, ,, 

4- 

1,800 „ 

from 500,001 to 

1,000,000 

0.75 „ „ 

+ 

3,100 „ 

over 

1,000,000 

0.5 „ „ 

+ 

5,600 „ 



but not more 

than 

15,000 „ 


60 




Here is an example: 

Two mechanics, named Gruhlke and Dittberger, who work in 
the nationally owned clothing factory “Fortschritt I” in Ber- 
lin-Lichtenberg constructed a two-needle-sewing machine for 
working the cuffs on men's trousers. In addition they equipped 
this machine with a special guide foot. This maohine proved 
very popular with the workers in the factory and saves the 
Fortschritt factory nearly 18,000 marks a year. The two me¬ 
chanics received a bonus of 1,530 marks which is, as may be 
seen from the table, 5 per cent of the saving plus 650 marks. 

4. Does the work of activists have an effect on prices? 

Yes. It is due to the activists and to all workers who help 
to increase labour productivity that there were three price 
reduction in 1949 which saved purchasers 2,000 million marks; 
in 1950 there were five price reductions saving 2,800 million 
marks; in 1951 there were five price reductions saving 300 
million marks. At the end of 1953 the great price reduction in 
October and other price reductions for individual goods pro¬ 
duced a yearly saving of 3,900 million marks. On September 
3rd 1954, the Cabinet of the German Democratic Republic 
announced a new price reduction, the sixteenth in all, which 
raised the purchasing power of the population by the end of 

1954 by about 600 million marks, which represents a saving in 

1955 of 1,800 million marks. 

5. The Heroes of the workers' and peasants' state 

In a state of workers and peasants the population and the 
youth have different heroes from those in a capitalist state. 
In West Germany for instance, as in former times, medals and 
titles are distributed to the industrial bosses, the bankers and 
the junkers, to the people who exploit and oppress the wor¬ 
kers. In a state of workers and peasants on the other hand, 
those persons are honoured who do something to the advan¬ 
tage of the people. In the German Democratic Republic the 
heroes and models for the youth are the best representatives 
of the working people: workers, peasants, scientists and ar¬ 
tists. They receive from the government or from the trade 
unions not only titles of honour but also material recognition. 

Titles of Honour 

The title “Hero of Labour” is one of the supreme titles in the 
field of economic and cultural construction. It is awarded for 
outstanding individual achievements which are of importance 


61 






to all and which lead to a considerable increase in labour 
productivity, and also for inventions which are of outstanding 
economic, social or cultural importance. The award consists 
of a silver medal, a diploma and a bonus of 10,000 marks. 
There are to-day more than two hundred “Heroes of Labour’' 
in the German Democratic Republic. 

On December 10th 1953 the Cabinet of the German Demo¬ 
cratic Republic decided to institute a new order, the “Banner 
of Labour” to encourage the emulation contest movement. 
This medal is awarded to the best workers, intellectuals, pea¬ 
sants and office workers as well as to factories, machine 
tractor stations, nationally owned estates, agricultural pro¬ 
duction cooperatives and so on. 

The title of “Honoured People's Doctor” is awarded on the 
birthday of the great German doctor Robert Koch to those 
who have done outstanding work in the field of health. A 
premium of 8,000 marks is awarded with this order. ’’Ho¬ 
noured Railway Workers” receive a medal, a diploma and a 
bonus of 5,000 marks. Teachers who have done outstanding 
work in the schools in educating German youth in the spirit 
of peace receive the title “Honoured People's Teacher” and. 
a bonus of 5,000 marks. 

“Honoured Miners” receive from the hand of the Prime Mi¬ 
nister a silver medal, a diploma and a tax free bonus of 
10,000 marks. The title of “Honoured Activist” is awarded to 
workers and office workers who have done outstanding work 
for a six months period in the same fields as that done by 
“Heroes of Labour”. They receive a bronze medal and a tax 
free bonus of 1000 marks. A bonus of the same size is paid to 
those miners who received the title “Master Pit Man” on 
Miners' Day. They also receive a badge of honour and a di¬ 
ploma. 

Inventors responsible for technically valuable improvement 
suggestions and inventions receive the title of “Honoured 
Inventor” together with a diploma and a bonus, the size of 
which depends on the economic importance of their invention. 

The best workers, foremen, technics, ins and engineers of the 
nationally owned factories receive the title of honour “Acti¬ 
vist of the Five Year Plan”. They are awarded a bronze me¬ 
dal, an activist's diploma and a tax free premium from the 
director's fund of between 100 and 250 marks. 

The best office workers in nationally owned factories, the 
administration, banks, the insurance system, the health and 
educational system, in cultural life and research institutes are 
awarded the medal “For Outstanding Services”. They receive 


62 



a diploma and a tax free bonus, the size of which is deter¬ 
mined by the directors of the factories or institutes together 
with the trade union committees. 

Foremen can receive the titles “Best Foreman of the Factory”, 
“Best Foreman of the Industrial Group” or “Honoured Fore¬ 
man”. The title “Best Foreman of the Industrial Group” 
brings with it a premium from government funds of 1000 
marks and the title “Honoured Foreman” carries a bonus of 
3000 marks. 

The skilled workers who have produced the best results in 
individual emulation contests, receive titles of. honour such 
as “Best Face Worker”, “Best Turner”, “Best Tractorist” etc. 
They receive a diploma and a tax free bonus of not less than 
100 marks. Those workers who hold such a title for at least 
one year receive a bonus from government funds of 500 marks. 
Workers in nationally owned factories who developed new 
forms of emulation contests, new forms of labour organisa¬ 
tion and production and who show good results in emulation 
contests can be awarded the medal “For Outstanding Achieve¬ 
ments in Emulation Contests” and a tax free bonus of bet¬ 
ween 250 and 1000 marks. 

Technicians who have done particularly good work in the 
field of constructive developments, the technical develop¬ 
ments of industrial processes and the development of young 
workers receive the title “Honoured People's Technician”. 
This title brings with it a tax free bonus of up to 8000 marks 
together with a diploma and a medal. 

The title “Outstanding People's Scientist” is awarded to scien¬ 
tists who have done outstanding work in the scientific field 
to develop science in the service of peace. The title carries 
with it a medal, a diploma and a bonus of 40,000 marks. 

The highest honour awarded is the “National Prize” which is 
granted to men and women who have done outstanding work 
•in the democratic development of the German people through 
their scientific work, important technical inventions, the 
introduction of new production and labour methods and 
through important works and achievements in the field of 
art und literature. 

Every year the following national prizes are awarded: In the 
field of science and technology, five prizes of the 1st class, 
each of 100,000 marks; ten prizes of the 2nd class, each of 
50,000 marks; and fifteen prizes of the 3rd class, each of 
25,000 marks; in the field of art and literature there are three 
prizes of 100,000 marks, six prizes of 50,000 marks and nine 
prizes of 25,000 marks. 


63 





Collective awards in emulation contests 

The factory which wins the emulation contest of the cen¬ 
trally directed nationally owned factories receives a banner 
from the government together with diplomas from the Cabinet 
and the Central Board of the Free German Trade Union Fede¬ 
ration, and a monetary bonus varying according to the size 
and type of the factory. For this award factories are classified 
in three categories. 

In category 3, the premium for factories with up to 300 wor¬ 
kers amounts to 2000 marks and reaches 12,000 marks in the 
ease of factories with between 1001 and 2000 workers. In cate¬ 
gory 2, the premium is 3000 marks for factories of up to 300 
workers and rises to 40,000 marks for factories employing bet¬ 
ween 4001 and 5000 workers. In category 1, the winning fac¬ 
tory, in the case of factories employing up to 300 workers, 
receives 4,000 marks and this sum rises to 100,000 marks in the 
case of factories employing over 8000 people. 

The winning factories in the emulation contest groups of the 
individual ministries or state secretariats receive the banner 
of the ministry or state secretariat and of the trade union 
industrial group, together with a monetary bonus amounting 
to 50 per cent of the sum quoted in the previous paragraph. 

In the emulation contests of district industry, the winning 
factory receives the banner of the council, a diploma from 
the county council and the district council of the Free Ger¬ 
man Trade Union Federation together with a monetary bonus 
which also amounts to 50 per cent of the bonus detailed above. 

The bonuses are paid to the winning factory and the factory 
itself uses at least 70 per cent to pay individual bonuses and 
the remainder to improve the cultural and social care given 
to the workers. The bonuses are tax free. 

Award for special performance 

Work brigades which have taken voluntary pledges to im¬ 
prove quality and which fulfill these pledges for three conse¬ 
cutive months receive the title of honour “Brigade of Out¬ 
standing Quality”, together with a diploma from the works' 
directorship and the factory trade union council and a mone¬ 
tary bonus from the directors funds. The bonus is fixed in 
accordance with the achievement of the brigade and averages 
up to 150 marks per brigade member. 

If the brigade fulfills its pledge for six consecutive months, 
it receives from the Ministry or the County Council the title 
of honour “Brigade of the Best Quality”, a joint diploma from 


64 



the state administration and the trade union and a bonus 
averaging 300 marks for each brigade member. These bonuses 
too are tax free. 

The title “Brigade of Collective Activist Work” is awarded 
to brigades which fulfill their plan in all its parts: overfullfill 
their production plan monthly and simultaneously improve 
labour organisation, maintain all labour safety and technical 
security regulations, introduce new progressive labour methods 
and turn out high quality products with a greater reduction 
in costs than planned. Such brigades receive a diploma and 
a bonus amounting to a maximum of 750 marks for each bri¬ 
gade member. 


5 250 QUESTIONS 


05 



Trade and supply in the German Democratic Republic 


I. The goods available 

1. What can you buy in the shops of the German Democratic 
Republic? 

Thera is a great variety of goods available in the German De¬ 
mocratic Republic, contrary to the opinion of many people in 
some Western countries. Naturally all those goods which were 
made in this area previously are available again to-day, like 
the well known products of the fine mechanical and optical 
industries of Thuringia and Saxony, textiles from the central 
German industrial area, jewelry and toys, furs and printed 
material from Leipzig and cars and motorcycles from Saxony 
and Eisenach. At New Year 1954 the big state owned store 
on the Alexanderplatz in Berlin was offering 18,000 different 
varieties of goods for sale. The quality of the goods produced 
under the well known trade marks such as “Comtax”, “Exacta”, 
“Thiel”, “Glashiitte”, “Agfa” etc. is unchanged and in many 
cases has even been improved. 

The shops of the German Democratic Republic offer manu¬ 
factured goods and foodstuffs from all parts of the world. 
Goods available in the shops include for instance: 

from the Soviet Union: butter, meat, edible oils, lard, canned 
fish, tea, cocoa, wine, champaign, cognac, cigarettes, wool and 
cotton; 

from China: silk, wool, feathers, tea, rice, butter, meat, edible 
oils, lard, fruit, tobacco, peanuts and walnuts; 

from Hungary: wine, butter, rice, canned meat, salami, game 
and poultry, meat, lard, fruit, grapes, cotton cloth, leather 
goods, sports goods, shoes, cigarettes, folk art blouses; 

from Bulgaria: rice, fruit, cigarettes, grapes, wine, silk cloth; 

from Poland: game and poultry, canned meat, eggis, canned 
fish, wool cloth and Xmas trees; 

from Czechoslovakia: canned meat, fruit, Pilsen beer, shoes, 
wool cloth, leather goods, motorcycles, gramophone records, 
sports articles and Xmas trees; 

from Rumania: game and poultry, canned fish, canned meat, 
salami, meat, fruit, wine, grapes, shoes, leather goods and 
Xmas trees; 


66 



from Britain: fish, canned fish, cloth; 

from France: fresh fruit, coffee, cheese, seed potatoes and new 
potatoes, cocoa, wine, cloth, spices, edible oils, chemicals and 
fine wood; 

from the United States: Kentucky tobacco, animal hair, furs, 
coffee; 

from Sweden: fish, canned fish, butter, cheese, cocoabutter, 
brown beans, razor blades, wool, shoes, sports articles, files, 
saw blades and breeding animals; 

from Italy: fruit, cheese, potatoes, wine, tropical fruits, cloth; 

from Switzerland: butter, fresh fruit, vegetables, tobacco, 
watches, razor blades, wool, silk, thread, sewing machine need¬ 
les. 

The list could be much extended with articles imported from 
the Scandinavian countries, Austria, Belgium, Holland, Finn- 
land, Greece, New Zealand, Australia, Dutch Guyana, Egypt, 
Turkey, Iran, the Philippines, Canada and other countries. 

All these goods are available in the German Democratic Re¬ 
public, although most of them are not yet available in suffi¬ 
cient quantity to meet the demand and some of them are still 
offered at comparatively high prices. 

It is necessary to emphasize here that the working people of 
the German Democratic Republic prefer to build up their 
economy by their own efforts and without getting into debt 
to foreign capitalists. This entails that the size of the imports 
is determined solely by the volume of production available for 
export in the economy of the German Democratic Republic. 
It would not be in the interest of the German people to accept 
such foreign credits as those extended by the American Mar¬ 
shall Plan, which open the way to control by foreign financial 
capital and an uncontrollable indebtedness of the economy, 
such as can be seen in West Germany. (More details on the 
foreign trade of the German Democratic Republic can be 
found in the chapter “The Foreign Policy of the German De¬ 
mocratic Republic”.) 

2. What ist the quality of the goods turned out in the German 
Democratic Republic? 

Mostly very good and it is improving every year. This is 
shown clearly by the continually increasing international im¬ 
portance of the Leipzig trade fair. Here are the opinions of 
various foreign and West German merchants and economists 


5 ' 


67 


and of foreign newspapers on the Leipzig fair in 1953 and 
1954. 

The director of a Milan firm stated that the German Demo¬ 
cratic Republic had reached world quality in the machine 
tool industry and was leading world quality in certain 
technical innovations. A representative of the “London 
Export Corporation’' also emphasized that the machine 
tool industry in the German Democratic Republic could now 
be grouped together with the leading countries such as France, 
West Germany, and Britain and that in the field of electro¬ 
technics the Republic was in the lead. This opinion was shared 
by a merchant from Toronto, Canada. 

A business journalist from Munich in West Germany stated 
that he had been astonished by the quality and the subject 
matter of the books shown in Leipzig. A member of the Fe¬ 
deration of British Industries was extremely impressed by the 
standard of the textile machinery of the German Democratic 
Republic and stated that certain types were certainly the best 
textile machines in the world. 

The director of an Indonesian import firm in Djakarta praised 
the good quality and cheapness of the cameras and films and 
expressed his pleasure at the good choice and the quality of 
the costume jewelry. 

These opinions from international merchants were underlined 
by the great interest and the willingness to purchase shown 
by people from all parts of the world. West German buyers 
were particularly interested in the “Erika” and “Elite” por¬ 
table typewriters and the reflex cameras. 

On January 15th 1954 Deputy Minister General Hassan F. 
Ragab, chief of an Egyptian trade delegation which visited 
the German Democratic Republic stated: 

“It is no secret to say that we had been told that the num¬ 
ber of workers employed at Zeiss Jena had decreased and 
that things were not running as smoothly there as they used 
to. We were thus very surprised to find that actually four 
times as many workers are now employed at Zeiss Jena as 
in previous times and that production has increased sixfold. 
We were still more surprised by the precision of the work 
done there.” 

It ist necessary, too, to refer to certain goods produced in the 
German Democratic Republic which are known throughout 
the world for their extremely high quality and precision and 
some of which are produced nowhere else: They include the 
following: 


68 



the Zeiss Planetarium, produced only by the Zeiss Works. 
in Jena; the Zeiss Ikon slow motion shutter, which can 
make up to 18,000 pictures per second; 
the micro-thermostat; 

the “Planeta” offset printing machine, which is only pro¬ 
duced, apart from the German Democratic Republic, in 
the USA and West Germany, but not in the same high 
quality; 

bookbinding machinery; 
jig drills; 

“the Glass Man”, an anatomical model. 

At the beginning of 1954 the German Democratic Republic 
exported the biggest plate cold sheet shears in the world with 
a length of 27 metres and a weight of nearly 150 tons. This 
machine cuts without difficulty sheet metal up to 35 mili- 
metres in thickness. 

Here are some further opinions about the 1954 Leipzig fair: 
The “Journal de Geneve”, Switzerland, wrote on September 
21st 1954: “It is necessary to note that this is the first time 
since the war that the Leipzig fair was a great, a very great 
success, not only because of the very many and very im¬ 
portant foreign participants but because it was possible to see 
that in the past two years East German industry has made 
such progress that it must be reckoned with once again.” 
Emrys Hughes, British Member of Parliament, stated: “It was 
impossible to go through the Leipzig Fair without admiring 
the great creative strength of men and the wonderful things 
which the human race is capable of manufacturing. Internatio¬ 
nal trade helps us forward. The more we trade with each 
other the less we can war against each other. The world is 
hungry for foodstuffs and consumer goods. The more success¬ 
ful our international fairs are, the sooner we shall reach a 
higher standard of living and a higher standard of civilisation.” 

The West German “Tagesblatt,” Dortmund, reported in an 
article: “There are many fairs in the world and many in 
Germany too, but this 1954 Leipzig Fair at the traditional 
meeting place between East and West is unique both in con¬ 
struction and size and above all in its international variety 
of exhibitors and buyers.” 

The chief of the Fair delegation of the West German Lanz 
works, Director Hoppe, stated: “The Leipzig Fair has made 
a considerable contribution to improving the contact between 
the greatest West German agricultural machine works and 
the Peoples Democracies. A start has now been made and 


69 


the road to further understanding can now be considerably 
speeded up, if we come closer to each other economically, 
complement each other and remove misunderstandings.” 

3. Are West German goods available in the German 
Democratic Republic? 

Yes, although the exchange of goods with West Germany, 
known as interzonal trade, is not able to develop fully owing 
to the restrictions and difficulties ordered by the Americans 
and put into effect by the West German politicians:. 

West Germany supplies fresh and salted fish and canned fish, 
steel goods from Solingen (knives, scissors, razor blades etc.) 
wine, almonds, nuts, tropical fruits, cocoabutter, coffee, men’s, 
women’s and children’s shoes, leather goods, cottonyarn, wool 
and dyes for the textile industry, drugs for the medical indu¬ 
stry, certain metals and metal goods, watches, ball and roller 
bearings, electrodes, medical apparatus and instruments, coke, 
superphosphates, special types of paper, spices, tobacco, breed¬ 
ing animals, dyes, paints, rubber goods, caustic soda, sul¬ 
phuric acid, folk art, ceramics etc. 

The government of the German Democratic Republic has 
frequently offered to increase considerably the imports of 
these goods but all-German negotiations to ease and extend 
interzonal trade have been prevented or made more difficult 
by the West German authorities. 

4. Are people in the German Democratic Republic satisfied 
with the variety of goods offered? 

No. There are still various shortages which are publicly criti¬ 
cized by the population and in the press. The variety and the 
quality of various categories of goods still leave something 
to be desired. The partitioning of Germany and the economic 
boycott ordered by the Americans play an important part 
here. As a result there are a number of goods which cannot be 
offered in sufficient quantities in the German Democratic 
Republic, such as certain drugs, bath-tubs (as the result of the 
lack of certain metals) special types of scissors and knives, 
hard coal, spare parts for cars, etc. Other goods still in short 
supply include imports from the capitalist countries and their 
colonies such as genuine Virginia cigarettes, Viennese 
knitted goods, British textiles, Algerian cotton. 

Apart from these difficulties there are also certain aspects 
of the production of the German Democratic Republic with 
which purchasers are still unsatisfied. These difficulties are 
being steadily overcome as the result of public criticism and 


70 



they will be conquered by responsible work in the branches 
of industry and trade responsible. 

The choice of models offered by the shoe industry is too small. 

I Although the shoes are hard wearning and of good quality, 
there are still too few good looking shoes and there is too 
' little variety in the various sizes of children shoes. 

Men’s ready-to-wear clothing in the cheapest varieties is still 
of not very good quality. 

Women’s ready-to-wear clothing shows too little differentia¬ 
tion, particularly in sports costumes. 

Dull and poor quality packing is particularly criticized. Al¬ 
though the necessary raw materials are available, cellophane 
is not used very widely for packing such goods as maccaroni, 
coffee, etc. In capitalist states on the other hand even goods 
of inferior quality are often offered for sale in tasteful and 
attractive packages. 

The criticisms expressed above are amongst those most often 
made by the population. There are various explanations for 
these shortcomings, above all the fact that the requirements 
of our working people are growing more quickly than the 
means of production. This is a contradiction which helps to 
drive forward our development and the unbroken increase in 
production steadily tends towards a solution of this contra¬ 
diction. A further reason for these shortcomings may be found 
in the fact that there are still officials in industry and trade 
who do not pay enough regard to criticisms from the popu¬ 
lation and who do not devote enough attention to improving 
the quality of the goods they offer. The emulation movement 
in industry and trade, however, and the public criticism 
which often takes sharp forms, are leading to the removal of 
these shortcomings. At a meeting of the Cabinet of the Ger¬ 
man Democratic Republic on December 12th 1953, Bruno 
Leuschner, Chairman of the State Planning Commission, 
declared: “What is important is not simply the production of 
consumer goods but the production of fine goods which meet 
the growing needs of the population and of a higher standard 
of living. We do not need, for instance, simply more foodstuffs 
and textiles but better and more varied goods, and better 
packaged goods. The carrying out of the economic plan for 
1954 must be closely connected with such tasks as the pro¬ 
duction of dignified and well made goods of the best quality 
and in modern styles, as well as the production of the most 
modern household equipment and real innovations.” 

In the middle of December 1953 the Cabinet of the German 
Democratic Republic issued a “Decree on the Expansion and 


71 


Improvement of the Production of Consumer Goods for the 
Population,” which followed the lines of this statement. The 
working people went to work with great enthusiasm in 
carrying out this decree which laid down the details of the 
necessary developments. 

II. Prices 

1. Is there a unified price system in the German Democratic 
Republic? 

No. At the time of writing, 1954, there is not a unified single 
price system in the German Democratic Republic. The goods 
and prices may be classified in the following three groups: 

1. Foodstuffs and industrial products produced in the Ger¬ 
man Democratic Republic in sufficient quantities and 
mainly without imported raw materials. The prices of 
these goods do not vary in any great degree from the 
pre-war prices. These goods are available in all shops of 
the state trading organisation (HO), the cooperative stores 
and private retail shops (for prices see the answer to the 
question “How high are prices in the German Democratic 
Republic?”). 

2. Industrial goods and foodstuffs which at present can only 
be manufactured in small quantities and which mainly 
depend upon imports. These goods are also available in 
all retail shops with the exception of those goods of speci¬ 
ally high quality, which are only sold by the State Trad¬ 
ing Organisation in order that their sale can be properly 
controlled to ensure that they do not flow into improper 
channels. There is one price level for these goods but 
this price in some cases is higher than the pre-war price. 

3. Rationed foodstuffs. The goods still rationed in the Ger¬ 
man Democratic Republic are meat, fat, sugar, eggs, milk. 
The rationed foodstuffs are sold in cooperative stores and 
private retail shops on ration cards at normal prices, 
that is to say approximately the pre-war prices. These 
foodstuffs are also available off the ration in unlimited 
quantities at higher prices in the shops of the State Tra¬ 
ding Organisation. 

2. What is the size of the food rations? 

Rations for meat, fat and sugar are fixed at different levels for 
all inhabitants of the German Democratic Republic in accord¬ 
ance with their work. Workers engaged in heavy work 
receive for instance higher rations than people engaged in light 


72 




work or doing no work. The self-suppliers (peasants) receive 
only a sugar ration. 

In judging the rations laid down in the following statistics it 
must be remembered that the majority of the population 
receive some form of supplementary rations and that the 
canteen meals in factories and offices are supplied without 
ration cards and at very reduced prices. In hospitals, pen- 
j sioners homes, nursery schools etc. additional food is also 
granted. 

In the German Democratic Republic the following ration cards 
are issued monthly (the quantities are quoted in grammes: 

I 453 grammes equal 1 lb). 

'■ Persons who are not working such as pensioners, and house- 
I wives and the majority of office and shop workers receive the 
basic ration card: 

1350 g. meat 900 g. fat 1200 g. sugar 

I 

Miners working underground and foundry workers in the 
same category receive: 
ration card G—A 

2550 g. meat 1800 g. fat 1800 g. sugar 

Miners working at the pit head, very heavy workers in 

foundry and production factories, workers doing work parti¬ 
cularly dangerous to health, members of the intelligentsia 
with individual contracts receive: 
ration card G—B 

1950 g. meat 1650 g. fat 1800 g. sugar 

Workers doing heavy work and work dangerous to health, 
teachers, doctors in public service, members of the technical 
intelligentsia, students, trade students and officials in parti¬ 
cularly responsible positions receive: 
ration card G—C 

1950 g. meat 1450 g. fat 1800 g. sugar 

Craftsmen, industrial workers of the general category and 
officials in responsible positions receive: 
ration card G—D 

1950 g. meat 1300 g. fat 1500 g. sugar 

People who normally could only claim the basic ration card 
but who work in factories providing canteen meals receive: 
ration card G—E 

1450 g. meat 930 g. fat 1350 g. sugar 


73 



Children up to the age of five receive: 
ration card K 0—5 

900 g. meat 900 g, butter 


1600 g. sugar 
15 litres milk 


Children from five to nine receive: 
ration card K 5—9 

900 g. meat 900 g. butter 


1600 g. sugar 
7.5 litres milk 


Children from nine to fifteen receive: 
ration card K 9—15 

1050 g. meat 1050 g. fat 


1600 g. sugar 
7.5 litres skim 
milk 


Ration cards in the democratic sector of Berlin are not so 
highly differentiated. The following ration cards are issued 
in Berlin in accordance with comparable activities: 


ration card 

meat 

fat 

sugar 

milk 

Basic ration card . 

1950 g. 

1350 g. 

1500 g. 

— 

G A. 

3550 g. 

1600 g. 
(butter) 

1800 g. 

— 

G—B . 

2700 g. 

1600 g. 

1800 g. 

— 

IV A (children from 
1 to 6 years) . . . 

900 g. 

900 g. 

1600 g. 

15 



(butter) 


litres 

(or the same quantity of sugar) 



IV B (6 to 9 years) . . 

1200 g. 

1350 g. 

1600 g. 

7.5 



(butter) 


litres 

IV C (9 to 15 years) . . 

1650 g. 

1350 g. 

1650 g. 

3 


litres 


Children up to 1 year receive 22.5 litres of milk. 

In addition to the ordinary ration cards there are also various 
additional cards for diabetics, expectant and nursing mothers 
(see chapter “Concerning Women”), workers who need parti¬ 
cularly large quantities of milk and so on. In so far as the 
supply of butter is not laid down above, the fat ration card 
is met, according to the economic position, with butter, mar¬ 
garine or other fats. The minimum quantity of butter issued, 
however, is not less than 300 grammes for the lowest ration 


74 





cards. Eggs are issued on meat ration cards at the rate of l egg 
for 50 grammes meat ration. 


3. Why are the rations not issued equally to all members of 
the population? 

The present rationing system ensures that so long as goods are 
not available in unlimited quantities, they shall be distributed 
justly, that is to say in accordance with the performance of 
the individual. In West Germany a sort of camouflaged ration¬ 
ing is enforced by the steadily rising prices but in the Ger¬ 
man Democratic Republic the rationing system guarantees the 
necessary food for everybody at low prices. 


4. Why are additional food supplies not used to raise the 
rations instead of being sold off the ration in the shops of 
the state Trading Organisation? 

The quantities available would not be sufficient to meet fully 
all requirements. In addition no inhabitant of the German 
Democratic Republic would be able to use his earnings to 
buy a little something extra, and black market activities 
would be favoured. The price policy of the German Demo¬ 
cratic Republic is directed towards a steady reduction of the 
prices in the State stores until the rationing system can be 
finally abolished. 

5. When will the rationing system be abolished? 

Prices in the shops of the State Trading Organisation have 
hitherto been reduced sixteen times. Further price reductions 
will take place in future and when as a result of the increas¬ 
ing labour productivity and the expansion of foreign trade 
the foodstuffs which are still in short supply are all available 
in sufficient quantity, the rationing system will be abolished. 

6. How high are prices in the German Democratic Republic? 

Unrationed foodstuffs GDR West Germany 

Potatoes (per kilogramme) 0.11 marks 0.19 marks 
Bread „ 0.34 „ 0.70 „ 

Tropical fruit and various other foodstuffs imported from 
overseas are still relatively very dear. A kilogramme of oran¬ 
ges costs 4 marks, a kilogramme of lemons costs 5 marks, 
a kilogramme of rice costs 3.60 marks and a kilogramme of 
coffee costs 80 marks. 


75 


Rationed foodstuffs GDR. West 



ration price 

off the ration price 

Germany 


(kilogramme) 

(kilogramme) 

(kilo) 

Butter 

4.20 marks 

20.— marks 

6.42 marks 

Margarine 

2.30 

3.60 to 4.40 marks 

1.46 to 

Bacon 

2.65 

5.80 marks 

2.04 marks 
4.57 

Sugar 

1.12 

2.80 to 3 marks 

1.36 

Beef 

3.30 

10.80 marks 

4.20 

Pork 

2.85 

11.20 

4.60 

Sausage, 

average 

3.80 

13.— „ 

6.— „ 

Milk (litre) 

0.26 to 0.32 marks 

1.12 

0.39 

Eggs (each) 

0.13 to 0.15 „ 

0.45 

0.19 


Tobacco and Beverages (all unrationed) 

Tobacco (50 g.) 0.60 to 3.75 marks 

Cigarettes (each) 0.08, 0.10, 0.16, 0.20, 0.24 marks 

Cigars (each) 0.08 to 0.80 marks 

Cigars, special quality, (each 1.10 to 1.80 marks 

Beer (12 per cent) 0.40 marks per Yk litre glass 

Porter (18 per cent) 1.08 marks per K litre bottle 

China tea 25 marks per kilogramme. 


Manufactured goods 

Suiting, worsted-cellulose, 

140 cm. width. 

Dress material of worsted-cellulose, 
130 cm. width. 

Overcoating, cardedyarn - cellulose, 
140 cm. width.. 

Bed Linen . 

Dress material of artificial silk, 

80 cm. width. 

Cotton men’s pants. 

Ladies’ underwear, 2-part, set, of 
mixed cellulose .. 


12.40 marks 
p. metre 

8.10 marks 
p. metre 

14.90 marks 
p. metre 

11.— marks 
p. metre 

14.— marks 
p. metre 

9.— marks 
each 

6.80 marks 
each 


76 










Man’s socks, perlon reinforced . . 


3.30 marks 

Man’s socks, artificial silk .... 


p. pair 
4.40 marks 

Woman’s socks, perlon mixture . . 


p. pair 
3.— marks 

Woman’s stockings, artificial silk . 


p. pair 
3.11 marks 

Woman’s stockings, monofil, second 
grade . 

16.70 to 

p. pair 

18.— marks 

Woman’s stockings, monofil, first 
grade . 

24.— to 

p. pair 

25.50 marks 

Man’s suit of worsted-cellulose . . 


p. pair 
106.— marks 

Man’s trousers of carded yarn- 
cellulose . 


30.30 

Woman’s wintercoat, carded yarn- 
cellulose . 


98.— 

Shirt, cotton. 


24.— 

Overalls, cotton. 


28.— 

Woman’s dress, artificial silk . . . 


76.— 

Woman’s shoes (pumps). 

45.— to 

65.— 

Woman’s sport shoes (Suede) . . . 


p. pair 
65.— marks 

Woman’s bootees (pig skin) . . . 

32.— to 

p. pair 
42.— marks 

Womans pumps of Velveton . . . 


p. pair 
16.55 marks 

Womans shoes (pigskin). 

17.— to 

p. pair 
36.— marks 

Man’s shoes (Czechoslovak import) 

78. —to 

p. pair 
120.— marks 

Children’s shoes, small sizes . . . 


p. pair 
9.70 marks 

Boy’s boots, large sizes. 


p. pair 
50.— marks 

Boxin shoes. 

14.50 to 

p. pair 
20.— marks 

Frying pan, steel, 26 cm. diameter 


p. pair 
6.19 marks 

Enamelled saucepan with lid, 

24 centimeter diameter .... 


7.70 

Coffee service, earthenware, 
six parts. 


12.50 

Plate, china. 


1.19 


77 













Gas stove, three rings and oven . 


195.— 

marks 

Electric cooker, one ring, china . 

14.— to 

28.— 


Emersion heater. 


11.50 

99 

Hair dryer. 


37.50 


Electric iron. 


15.— 


Vacuum cleaner. 

112.—to 

150.— 


Men’s bicycle, average .... 


250.— 


Bicycle tyre. 

10.50 to 

13.50 


Bicycle inner tube. 


3.— 


Radio, medium “Rennsteig” . . 

. 198.— to 

400.— 


Radio, Super. 

. 495.— to 

920.— 

99 

Radio, small “Kolibri II” . . . 


50.— 

,, 

Television receiver. 

. 1300.—to 

1450.— 


“Rolleiflex” camera. 

190.— to 

200.— 


“Perfecta” camera (6X6) . . . . 

“Exacta-Varex” camera 


25.50 

” 

with Zeiss-Tessar lens . . . 


1350.— 

r 

Rollfilm (6X9). 


1.25 


“Thiel” wrist watch. 


22.50 


“Thiel” pocket watch. 


8.— 


Alarm clock. 


12.50 


“Glashiitte” man’s wrist watch . 


115.— 


Portable typewriter. 

. 276.— to 

400.— 

99 

Accordeon, 60 basses. 


248.— 

,, 

Toilet soap, 100 g. 


0.60 


Shaving soap. 


1.20 

„ 

Floor wax. 


1.05 


“Fewa” washing powder, 100 g. . 


0.85 


Matches, box. 


0.10 


Wall paper, roll. 

1.15 to 

1.35 

„ 


7. Can you buy on the instalment plan? 

Yes, furniture, motorcycles and other goods of a long-lasting 
nature can be purchased by instalments. Every form of specu¬ 
lation is excluded by the fact that loans for instalment purcha¬ 
ses are extended by the Municipal Savings Banks, that is to 
say by the state. The purchaser concludes an agreement with 
the Savings Bank covering a loan for one particular purchase. 
The purchaser pledges himself to save one-quarter of the 
purchase price in monthly instalments, on which the Savings 
Bank pays interest of 3 %>. The remainder of the purchase 
sum is advanced by the Savings Bank as a loan at 6 % interest. 
This loan can be paid back over a period of two years, in 
monthly instalments based upon the rate of savings. In cases 
of need the Savings Bank can postpone the payment of in¬ 
stalments. 


78 



























As soon as this agreement has been concluded the entire sum 
is advanced by the bank. This prevents the purchaser from 
| becoming m any way dependent upon the seller, and there 
is no possibility that the seller can reclaim the goods if the 
instalments should not be paid. 

8. What does lunch in a restaurant cost? 

In private restaurants meals may be bought on ration cards 
at the usual ration prices. 

In the HO restaurants (restaurants run by the State Trading 
Organisation) the variety offered is greater and prices are 
fixed in accordance with the off-the-ration prices for meat and 
fat. The cheapest dishes cost between 1 marks and 1.50 marks. 
Grills cost from 2 to 7 marks and a full meal with soup and 
sweet may be obtained in a HO restaurant for between 
3.50 marks and 10 marks. There is no charge for service in 
these restaurants. On the opposite page you will see a part of 
the menu of the “Berolina Cellar”, a very popular Berlin HO 
restaurant of the medium price category. 

9. How high are the rents? 

Rents have been fixed at the 1936 level, so that the rent of a 
house or apartment has not been raised since that year unless 
building improvements have been carried out. The rent is 
calculated on a basis of the entire area of the apartment 
inside the front door. Most new building development is being 
done on the basis of interest-free capital provided by the 
state. According to the category, the monthly rents of these 
new flats vary between 0.60 and 0.90 marks per square metre 
and in some cases are even lower. This means that the rents in 
the newly built nationally owned apartments are lower than 
the average rents in older houses. 

The average rents in the apartment houses so far constructed 
in Stalinstadt are 0.60 marks per square metre. Many newly 
built blocks in Karl-Marx-Stadt, Leipzig, Magdeburg and 
elsewhere have rents of 0.65 marks per square metre. In the 
fine new apartment houses built on the Stalinallee in Berlin, 
the rents are 0.95 marks per square metre, but this includes 
lift, refuse chute, central heating and constant warm water. 

No “key money” or other form of building contribution is 
levied on persons moving into the newly built apartments 
constructed with state capital. Building contributions which 
are not returnable or which must be deposited before building 
begins are prohibited in the German Democratic Republic. 


70 




HO 

Restaurant 


f3erolina Ceila 


Specially recommended to-day: 


Fish 


Oktober 19th 1954 


(weight of meat or 
fish used in dish) 


Fish mayonnaise, garnished . 

200 g. 

1.65 marks 

Fried fish filet, piquant sauce and potatoes 

200 g. 

2.90 

Tench, fresh with horseradish sauce, but¬ 
ter and potatoes . 

300 g. 

3.75 

Game and poultry 

Venison steak in cream with runner beans 
and mashed potatoes . 

150 g. 

6.75 

Venison joint in cream with mashed pota¬ 
toes and compot . 

200 g. 

6.95 

Young roast goose with red cabbage, pota¬ 
toes and apple sauce . 

300 g. 

6.85 

Young roast duck with red cabbage and 
potatoes . 

300 g. 

6.95 


Special Berolina Cellar Dishes 

Mecklenburg beefsteak with red cabbage 

and fried potatoes . 100 g. 

Fried head of veal, piquant sauce and 

potato salad . 300 g. 


Dishes of the Day 

Meat hash with potatoes and mixed salad 
Piquant pig’s head salad with fried potatoes 
2 stuffed cabbage rolls with mashed 

potatoes . 

Pork pie with red cabbage and potatoes .. 

Potato Omelette (2 eggs) with bacon .. 

Stewed pork kidney with mashed potatoes 

and mixed salad . 

Vienna steak in cream with red cabbage 

and mashed potatoes . 

Hungarian Paprika cutlet with macaroni .. 
Roast meat with potato dumplings and 

compot . 

Salt pork with pease pudding, Sauerkraut 

and potatoes .. 

Stuffed veal breast with cauliflower and 

potatoes .,. 

Preserved tongue in red wine with peas 

and mashed potatoes .... 

Smoked pork cutlet with fried eggs, fried 
potatoes and compot . 


In case of difficulty or complainte please ask for the manager 

♦-& 


100 g. 

2.35 


150 g. 

2.40 

» 

100 g. 

2.95 

„ 

100 g. 

2.95 

„ 

50 g. 

3.05 

” 

150 g. 

3.30 

» 

100 g. 

3.30 

}> 

100 g. 

3.35 


150 g. 

3.75 

.. 

150 g. 

3.75 

» 

150 g. 

4.30 

» 

100 g. 

4.75 

» 

150 g. 

4.95 

„ 


80 




























Soviet reaper-thresher at work, a common picture at harvest time in the 
German Democratic Republic 





The new village of Freileben 


The club room of the “Kaethe Niederkirdiner” 
agricultural production cooperative in 
Werder, Strausberg district 






House of Culture of the machine and tractor station at 

Trebus, Seelow district 


Nursery school for peasant children at 
Magdeburg-Friedensweiler 

















Beginners group for guitar players of the cultural group of 
Schletta machine and tractor station 



Folk dance group of a village near Potsdam 






Top left: Frau Greta Kuck- 
hoff, President of the Ger¬ 
man Notenbank 


Centre left: Frau Schmidt, 
a spinner in die nationally- 
owned Adorf spinnlg mill, 
Karl Marx Stadt district 

Centre right: Berte Dierls , 
working in the nationally - 
owned "Hans Beimler ’ loco¬ 
motive electric works in 
Hennigsdorf 

Below: Helya Schuchowski. 
a tractor driver at Rehfelde 
machine and tractor station 




The nursery school of a Berlin factory 

The day nursery in the village of Crostwitz, 
Kamenz district 








Mechanical press room in the “Otto Grotewohl” apprentice combine, 

Leipzig 












Young people rambling and camping 

a) Above: Young people from the democratic sector of 
Berlin and from West Berlin ramble together in Saxon 
Switzerland 








Private house owners are however allowed to accept building 
contributions in the form of loans upon which interest is paid. 

In West Germany on the other hand, according to figures 
issued by the Federal Statistical Office, the index of rents 
has risen from 100 in 1938 to 113 in 1953 for old apartments. 
It is now planned to abolish rent restrictions for old apart¬ 
ments, which will entail a further increase of between at 
least 40 and 60 per cent. The main new building is divided 
into the so-called “social building” with a basic rent of 

I. 10 marks per square metre, the “higher social building” 
with rents of 1.40 marks per sqare metre and free building 
with rents of between 1.60 and 2 marks per square metre 
and sometimes even more. In addition it is usual to demand 
a building contribution of between 60 and 100 marks per square 
metre. In the case of an average 2-room apartment of 
50 square metres, this amounts to between 3000 and 
5000 marks. 

10. How is housing allotted in the German Democratic 
Republic? 

In contrast to West Germany it is impossible in the German 
Democratic Republic that the housing shortage due to the war 
should be exploited by speculators. The allotment of living 
space is governed by the urgency and need of the applicant. 
Workers in nationally owned factories make their application 
to the Labour Department in their factory and other appli¬ 
cants apply to the housing department of the local authorities. 
All applicants are then arranged in three categories, defined 
by the Central Board of the Free German Trade Union 
Federation, according to the degree of urgency. The decision 
on the category is taken with the help of the Workers Con¬ 
trol Commission for Building and Housing. This guarantees 
that the accomodation available is justly allotted. Workers 
such as activists and those who play a particularly active part 
in the work of reconstruction are naturally given preference 
in the allotment of housing. 

II. Can people be evicted for rent debt? 

No. 


12. Can a worker build his house himself? 

Yes. On March 4th 1954 the government allotted a sum of 
100 million marks for use in 1954 in individual house building, 
additional to the 764 million marks which had been allotted 


6 250 QUESTIONS 


81 


for nationally owned housing. Anybody who wants to build 
his own house must provide 25 per cent of the building 
costs, either in cash or in work he does himself on the 
building. The rest of the sum is provided as an interest-free 
loan which has to be paid back in instalments amounting to 
between 2 per cent and 3.5 per cent of the building costs. In 
the preliminary work the local authorities and factories give 
their full assistance. Building land can be provided free of 
all charge from nationally owned property for the house. 
For the first ten years after the completion of the building 
no land tax is levied. These individual homes, which are the 
personal property of the worker or office worker, can be sold 
and inherited. 

When workers and office workers join together in a building 
cooperative, the conditions are even more favourable and the 
members only have to provide 20 per cent of the building 
costs. Full details on the foundation and membership, 
administration etc. of a workers building cooperative can be 
seen from the pattern statute printed in the Legislative Journal 
of the German Democratic Republic (No. 27/1954, page 256). 

Workers building cooperatives have become very popular 
amongst the workers. In June 1954 there was a total of 
127 such cooperatives. 


13. What do heat and light cost? 

Prices for domestic coal 

In the German Democratic Republic (average) 

from railway station . . 1.19 marks per 50 kilogrammes 

from coal yard .... 1.69 „ „ 50 „ 

delivered.1.89 „ „ 50 „ 

In West Germany 

delivered.3.40 marks per 50 kilogrammes 

Gas Prices 

In the German Democratic Republic 
for the first 200 cubic 

metres per month . . . 0.16 marks per cubic metre 

for each further cubic 

metre.0.08 „ „ „ „ 

In West Germany 

for each cubic metre . . 0.26 to 0.35 marks 


82 






Electricity Prices 

In the German Democratic Republic 

per kilowatt hour . . . 0.08 marks 

plus basic price per 
room over 8 square 
metres.0.50 marks 

In West Germany 

per kilowatt hour . . . 0.11 to 0.15 marks 

plus basic price per 

room.1.— mark 


The people of the German Democratic Republic pay less for 
various important necessities than the West German popula¬ 
tion, for instance for rent, electricity, gas, domestic coal, 

bread and potatoes. If the people of the German Democratic 
Republic had to pay at West German prices for the electricity, 
gas and domestic coal, which they were planned to consume 
in 1954, they would have had the following additional 
expenses: 

Electricity. 288 million marks 

Gas.184 

Domestic Coal.193 „ „ 


14. What do tram and railway fares cost? 

A tram ride, according to the size of the town, costs either 
0.15 marks or 0.20 marks. 

Railway fares are based upon a tariff of 8 pfennig per kilo¬ 
metre. In West Germany under the new zonal tariff system, 
the average is fi.8 pfennigs per kilometre. Workers tickets, 
however, in the German Democratic Republic are considerably 
cheaper; a worker’s return ticket has a reduction of 75 per 
cent, that is to say it costs 2 pfennigs per kilometre compared 
to 3.4 pfennigs per kilometre in West Germany, where the 
reduction is only 50 per cent. Workers weekly tickets in 
West Germany are 50 per cent more expensive than in the 
German Democratic Republic. In addition, each member of 
the Free German Trade Union Federation, that is to say 
practically the entire working population, receives a reduction 
of one third upon two journeys every year, so that one can 
then travel for 5.3 pfennigs per kilometre. In addition, trips 
to the holiday homes of the trade unions also have a reduc¬ 
tion of one third. 


6 * 


83 







III. What is the comsumption per head of the most im¬ 
portant foodstuffs 

To compare properly the living standard of the population, 
it is necessary to look at comsumption per head of the popula¬ 
tion in the German Democratic Republic and in West 
Germany. Here are some of these figures on the basis of 
official statistics. The West German figures are quoted from 
the ^Statistical Monthly Report of the Federal Ministry for 
Food, Agriculture and Forests”, November 1953, page 52. The 
figures given are for the year 1953 and all weights are given 
in kilogrammes: 


German Democratic 
Republic 

West Germany 

Flour, all types .... 

120.3 

96.5 

Potatoes. 

197.3 

174.0 

Meat and meat products 

41.3 

41.0 

Sugar and sugar products 

31.0 

23.7 

Butter . 

9.4 

6.1 

Animal fats. 

5.5 

6.0 

Fish and fish products 

6.9 

11.7 


This table shows that per head of the population people in 
the German Democratic Republic were consuming considerably 
more bread, potatoes, sugar and butter than in West Germany 
and that on the other hand the consumption of fish and 
animal fats was rather lower in the German Democratic 
Republic. 

The West German average figures give, however, an incorrect 
picture of the actual situation of the working people, since 
this is an average between two completely differently supplied 
sections of the population, the rich and the poor. In actual 
practice, a Very high proportion of consumption falls upon the 
well-to-do. Fritz Heine, a member of the Central Board of 
the West German Social Democratic Party, stated on 
August 3rd 1953 that about 10 million inhabitants of West 
Germany have an income which lies below the existence 
minimum. Of these, according to the official statistics, one and 
a half million are unemployed and must exist upon their very 
sparse unemployment assistance. 


84 









How the peasants live in the German Democratic 
Republic 


The individual peasant 

1. Does the individual peasant own his land? 

Yes. Every peasant, whether an individual peasant or 
peasant cooperator, owns his land. 

The principle “the land should belong to those who till it”, 
was put into effect after 1945 in the territory which to-day 
forms the German Democratic Republic. The junkers and the 
big estate owners had their land expropriated without com¬ 
pensation and it was given to the peasants. All estates of 
over 100 hectares (about 250 acres) and all land belonging to 
war criminals was distributed and as a result 210,276 families 
of resettlers, agricultural labourers and so on, received their 
own farms. In addition, about 350,000 peasants received 
additional land as a result of the land reform. 

2. How is the land distributed in the German Democratic 
Republic? 

Individual peasants own most land in the German Democratic 
Republic. There has been a basic change in the distribution 
of land as compared to West Germany and the change is 
shown vividly in the following table: 

Agricultural land in 1953 


GDR West Germany 
(per cent) (per cent) 


Nationally owned estates. 4 — 

Agricultural production cooperatives 12 — 

In the administration of various in¬ 
stitutions and provisionally in state 

custodianship.14 — 

Small peasants (0.5 to 5 hectares) . . 14 10.9 

Middle peasants (5 to 20 hectares) . 46 30.9 

Big peasants (20 to 100 hectares) . . 10 30.4 

Big estate owners (over 100 hectares) — 27.8 


These figures show that in the German Democratic Republic 
30 per cent of the agricultural land falls in the socialist sector 
and 60 per cent is owned by working individual peasants, 
46 per cent of it by middle peasants. 


85 






Peasants from West Germany who wish to move to the 
German Democratic Republic, because their existence is 
menaced in the West, receive land from the nationally 
administered areas and receive generous support in the form 
of credits, reduction of their deliveries etc. 

3. Must individual peasants join production cooperatives? 

Nobody may be forced to join a production cooperative. The 
first principle in forming a production cooperative is to ensure 
its absolutely voluntary nature. Members who have not 
joined voluntarily and who do not work in the community 
with full conviction are a hindrance rather than a help. All 
production cooperatives and the state are therefore decisively 
against every form of pressure. The first point in the statute 
of a typical production cooperative therefore reads as 
follows: 

“Entrance in the production cooperative can only take 
place on a completely voluntary basis.” 

Deputy Prime Minister Walter Ulbricht declared in this 
connection: 

“I am convinced that it is necessary .... to emphasize 
the principle of the completely voluntary basis in organis¬ 
ing such cooperatives and to emphasize the inadmissi¬ 
bility of using any form of pressure on peasants in this 
question.” 

4. Can a peasant’s property be expropriated? 

The peasant’s ownership of his land is constitutionally guaran¬ 
teed. The democratic forces have not allotted the land to the 
peasants in order to take it away again. 

5. Is the peasant instructed what crops he must plant? 

Every peasant wants to plant the crops which the consumer 
needs, that is to say the crops which he can sell. The peasant 
thus has the same interests as the state, which plans the 
economy in order to coordinate the interests of the producers 
and the interests of the consumers. 

Every year the peasant plans the crops which he wishes to 
plant. He gives this plan to the village mayor who forwards 
it through the District Council to the County Council. There 
the plans are coordinated with the needs of the consumers 
and the peasant receives planting instructions. Generally 
speaking there are few diifferencies between the peasant’s plan 
and the instructions which he receives. When there are 


86 



changes, the village mayor has the task of convincing the 
peasant of the necessity of changing his crop plan. 

6. Can it happen that the peasant cannot sell his crop? 

No. The economy of the German Democratic Republic is free 
of economic crises and unemployment, and the purchasing 
power of the population is continually increasing. There is 
therefore no difficulty in disposing of goods produced. The 
democratic world market, which stretches to the Pacific 
Ocean, is not influenced by outside orders on imports or 
exports which react to the disadvantage of the economically 
weaker sections. 

In addition there are no speculators, or private cattle and 
corn merchants in the German Democratic Republic who can 
ruin the peasants. 

The VEAB, the nationally owned collection and purchasing 
organisation, is bound to buy from every peasant as a delivery 
quota a fixed quantity of his products at legally stipulated 
prices. The delivery quota is thus guaranteed by the state. 
As a result of the generous support for agriculture given by 
the state, the peasants are able to increase their production 
steadily, so that they produce more than their delivery quota 
and the quantity which they need for their own consumption. 
The quantity which they produce over and above their delivery 
quota they can sell either through the nationally owned collec¬ 
tion organisation or at free peasant markets directly to the 
housewives. 

In addition, peasants can make delivery contracts with the 
cooperative stores, with the state trading organisation or 
with factory canteens. At the peasant markets and in their 
agreements with the state trading organisation, they can sell 
their products at prices regulated by supply and demand. 
Their sales to the nationally owned collection and purchasing 
organisation are at fixed prices, which are well above the 
price paid for their delivery quotas. The sale of this extra 
production at higher prices gives every peasant a reason to 
produce more. The peasant trading cooperatives support the 
peasants in the conclusion of sales contracts. 

It will thus be seen that in the German Democratic Republic 
the peasant is sure of selling his products under all circum¬ 
stances. 

7. Who fixes the delivery quotas? 

The delivery norms for the various sizes of peasant holdings 
are fixed by the government on the basis of the economic plan 


87 


after thorough discussions with the State Secretariat for 
Collection and Purchase, with peasant cooperators, working 
individual peasants and officials of the Association for Mutual 
Peasant Aid. From this it is clear that the size of the delivery 
quota is differentiated. 

At the village level, local commissions of peasants divide up 
the delivery quota amongst the various farms. The village 
commission bases itself upon the total delivery quota for the 
village, which is fixed by the District Differentiation Com¬ 
mission on the basis of instructions from the County Council. 
Thus the peasants themselves, working in these commissions, 
establish the delivery quota for each farm on the basis of the 
size of the farm, the quality of the land and other special 
factors. In this connection, the principle is used that the hard 
working peasant must not be penalized by receiving a delivery 
quota higher than a careless peasant. 

For the great majority of the peasants there is no difficulty 
in fulfilling the delivery quota. If there is a crop failure owing 
to bad weather or other unforeseen circumstances, the delivery 
quota can be cancelled if the product stipulated can not be 
replaced by another. 

8. How big is the delivery quota? 

The delivery quota averages 60 per cent of total production. 

Here are two examples from an average village. 

The peasant Kurt Neubauer from Angern, near Tangerhutte, 
has a farm of 37.73 hectares of agricultural land with land 
of category 44. His delivery quota was fixed by the differen¬ 
tiation commission as follows: 

Cattle (without pigs) 1270 kilogrammes, pigs 2465 kilo¬ 
grammes, milk 18,616 kilogrammes (3.5 per cent fat), 
eggs 4229, cereal crops 19,815 kilogrammes, oil seeds 
344 kilogrammes, potatoes 46,136 kilogrammes, sugar beets 
25,750 kilogrammes. 

Up to June 8th 1953 this peasant had fulfilled his egg quota; 
on July 30th 1953 he had fulfilled his pig quota; on October 25th 
1953 his quota for other cattle; his milk quota on November 
15th 1953; although the final date for the fulfilment of the quo¬ 
tas was in all cases December 31th 1953. At this time he had 
also fulfilled his quota for other products such as oilseeds. In 
one or two cases there were small quantities still owing, such 
as 90 kilogrammes in the case of the potato quota. 

The peasant Hermann Koppe from the same village has a 
farm of 11.13 hectares and soil classification 40. The differen¬ 
tiation commission laid down his quota as follows: 


88 



cattle (without pigs) 341 kilogrammes; pigs 651 kilo¬ 
grammes, milk 4463 kilogrammes, eggs 1099, cereal grains 
3204 kilogrammes, oil seeds 45 kilogrammes, potatoes 
8677 kilogrammes, sugar beets 10,300 kilogrammes. 
Hermann Koppe had fulfilled his delivery quota for eggs on 
June 8th 1953; for pigs on April 15th 1953; for milk on Oc¬ 
tober 15th 1953; for cattle without pigs on October 27th 1953. 
He also fulfilled the quota in other products, with a few 
exceptions where small quantities were still outstanding. 

At the time of this investigation both peasants had not only 
fulfilled their quotas but had sold large quantities on the free 
market. Kurt Neubauer for instance had sold 2000 kilogram¬ 
mes of milk and two pigs and Hermann Koppe had sold 14 
pigs, a cow and two sheep. 

9. What are the prices for agricultural products? 

A difference must be made between the price for the delivery 
quota and the price on the free market. Prices for the deli¬ 
very quota for instance for pigs average 1.44 marks per kilo¬ 
gramme, for cattle 1.02 marks per kilogramme, for milk 0.20 
marks per kilogramme, for eggs 0.10 marks each, for potatoes 
6.40 marks per hundred kilogrammes, for wheat 21.80 marks 
per 100 kilogrammes. The price for 50 kilogrammes of to¬ 
bacco of the best quality is between 375 marks and 500 marks. 
Prices on the free market average 6 marks per kilo for pigs, 
2.75 marks per kilo for cattle, 0.80 marks per kilo for milk 
and 0.40 marks each for eggs. The prices for potatoes average 
200 per cent above the quota price and for wheat 50 per cent 
above the quota price. It is therefore necessary to take both 
price levels into account when calculating what the peasant 
earns by selling his products. The peasant Kurt Neubauer 
from Angern for instance received 3723.20 marks for the milk 
he sold on his quota and in addition 1600 marks for the 
2000 kilogrammes of milk he sold on the free market. The 
peasant Hermann Koppe, who sold a particularly large quan¬ 
tity of pigs on the free market, earned by their sale 9240 
marks in addition to the 937.40 marks for the pigs he sold on 
quota. It is therefore readily understood that each peasant 
tries to produce as much as possible for the free market since 
this increases his income. 

10. Wow do the peasants get their fertilizer, twine, building 
materials and so on? 

The peasant buys his fertilizer, his twiner his building mate¬ 
rials, fuel, working clothing and so on through the Peasant 


89 





Trade Cooperative. The peasant cooperatives are a section 
of the big peasant organisation in the German Democratic 
Republic, the “Association for Mutual Peasant Aid”. Details 
of this organisation are given on page 100. 

The peasant trade cooperatives are continuously making ef¬ 
forts to improve the supplies offered. 

11. What do agricultural supplies and tools cost? 

The prices for agricultural supplies and tools, with the excep¬ 
tion of fertilizers and fodder, are being constantly reduced. 
These price reductions are a result of reductions in the cost 
of production. Here are some examples of the prices of various 
supplies: 

Wheat bran.13.60 marks per 100 kilogrammes 

Rye bran.11.— marks per 100 kilogrammes 

Sulphuric Ammoniac . . 18.45 marks per 100 kilogramme? 

Superphosphates 16 p. c. . 9.05 marks per 100 kilogrammes 

Potash 40 per cent . . . 9.30 marks per 100 kilogrammes 

Lime 80 per cent .... 3.50 marks per 100 kilogrammes 

For comparison here are, some prices from West Germany 
(October 1954) 

Wheat bran.23.— marks per 100 kilogrammes 

Superphosphates 16 p. c. 11.88 marks per 100 kilogrammes 
Potash 40 per cent . . . 11.85 marks per 100 kilogrammes 

Sulphuric Ammoniac . . 22.58 marks per 100 kilogrammes 

12. What taxes must the peasant pay and how big are they? 

The taxes payable by peasants have been repeatedly reduced 
in the past few years. Peasants in the German Democratic 
Republic pay to the State the following taxes: Income tax, 

turnover tax, property tax and land tax. Agricultural enter¬ 

prises valued at less than 10,000 marks are exempt from pro¬ 
perty tax. The first 1,000 marks in an agricultural income 
of up to 6,000 marks are free of tax. Increased profits from 
sales on the free market are not assessed for tax purposes. 
Here are examples of the taxes to be paid by two different 
sizes of farm. In both cases it is assumed that the owner is 
married and has one child. 

5 hectare farm: 

income tax.0.00 marks 

turnover tax. 23.62 marks 

property tax.0.00 marks 

land tax. 120.00 marks 

143,62 marks 


90 










15 hectare farm: 

income tax.189.— marks 

turnover tax.98.— marks 

property tax.60.— marks 

land tax. 410.— marks 

757.— marks 

A comparison with the taxes paid by a peasant in West Ger¬ 
many shows the difference between a workers’ and peasants’ 
state and a state of monopoly capitalists and big landowners. 

In West Germany under the same conditions, a peasant with 
a 5 hectare farm pays the following taxes: 


income tax..39.— marks 

emergency contribution for West Berlin . . . 11.82 marks 

turnover tax.53.15 marks 

land tax.160.— marks 


263.97 marks 


The West German peasant therefore pays 120.35 marks more 
tax than his East German colleague. 

A West German peasant with a farm of 15 hectares pays: 


income tax. 765.— marks 

emergency contribution for West Berlin . . . 54.30 marks 

turnover tax. 203.10 marks 

land tax. 560.— marks 

1582.40 marks 


; The West German peasant therefore pays 825.40 marks more 
taxes than his East German colleague. 

13. On what conditions can a peasant get credit? 

A great variety of credits are available to the peasant. Short 
term credits are given for buying fertilizers and seed and for 
sowing and harvest work. For peasants with an arable area 
of up to 5 hectares a credit of up to 90 per cent of the annual 
| delivery quota is granted by the Peasant Trade Cooperative. 
For farms of between five and twenty hectares a credit of up 
to 70 per cent of the annual delivery quota is given by the 
Peasant Trade Cooperative. 

For farms over twenty hectares a credit of up to 50 per cent 
of the annual delivery quota is given by the German Peasant 
Bank. 

In addition all peasants can obtain additional credits of up 
to 50 marks for buying young pigs, and of up to 40 marks for 


















fodder, per piig, if these pigs are destined for the delivery 
quota or if the peasant has concluded a contract with the 
nationally owned collection and purchasing organisation. 
Every peasant also has the chance of obtaining long term 
credits from the German Peasant Bank. Long term credits are 
granted for instance for increasing the inventory and particu¬ 
larly for the purchase of breeding and work animals. These 
credits for peasants with farms of up to 5 hectares can amount 
to 70 per cent of the purchase price; for farms of between 
five and twenty hectares up to 60 per cent of the purchase 
price; for farms over twenty hectares up to 50 per cent of 
the purchase price. 

In addition long term credits are granted for the overhauling 
of machines and installations, repairs to buildings and for 
ameliorations. These credits amount for farms of up to 20 
hectares to 60 per cent of the estimated price; for farms over 
20 hectares up to 50 per cent of the estimated price. 

The interest payable on these credits varies between 3 and 
5 per cent. The interest payable on short term credits for 
fertilizer, seeds, sowing and harvest work amounts to 5 per 
cent. The interest for long term credits such as the increase 
of inventory including life stock amounts to 4.5 per cent. 
Short term credits must be repaid within one year. Long 
term credits are repayable over a five year term. 

It will thus be seen that the credit terms are very favourable 
for all peasants, particularly for small and middle peasants, 
and for this reason more and more peasants are taking ad¬ 
vantage of these credits from the state. 

14. Can the peasant employ agricultural workers? 

Every peasant can employ agricultural workers. There are no 
restrictions in this respect. 

15. What rights has an agricultural worker? 

The social and political situation of the agricultural worker, 
which was formerly considerably worse than that of the in¬ 
dustrial worker, has been basically changed by the change 
in the social situation in the country side. The “Law for the 
Protection of Labour in Agriculture” (also known as the Agri¬ 
cultural Workers Protection Law) protects the rights of the 
agricultural workers. 

The life of agricultural workers has improved decisively since 
this law went into effect. The owner or director of every 
agricultural undertaking is legally bound to conclude a 


92 





written labour contract, on the basis of the stipulations for 
wages and conditions, with every person who works in this 
undertaking for more than two weeks. This labour contract 
lays down all conditions of work such as the length of the 
working day, wages, holidays, accomodation, the supply of 
food and so on. 

16. What wages does an agricultural worker receive? 

The basis of pay is the 48 hour week with a daily working 
time of 8 hours. Over-time working is unavoidable in agri¬ 
culture at certain times of the year but the over-time work 
in one year must not exceed 300 hours. 

The hourly pay for an agricultural worker who is privately 
employed on light unskilled work is 0.50 marks, for a field 
driver 0.73 marks and for a tractor driver 0.85 marks. A 
25 per cent addition must be paid for overtime. An additional 
50 per cent is paid for Sunday work and an additional 100 per 
cent for work on legal holidays. In addition there are a 
number of special excess payments in the case of work dan¬ 
gerous to health, such as in spraying insecticides and for 
cattle tenders. Here is an example: 

An agricultural worker with more than 3 years experience 
who feeds and tends two working animals and works ten and 
a half hours in a day receives the following pay (63 hours 
work during the week and two and a half hours on Sunday): 

48 hours.at 0.73 marks = 34.04 marks 

15 hours over-time .... at 0.91 marks = 13.65 marks 

2 V 2 hours Sunday work ... at 1.10 marks = 2.75 marks 

6 days tending money ... at 1.20 marks = 7.20 marks 

1 day Sunday tending money . at 2.50 marks — 2.50 marks 

gross earnings 60,14 marks 

Persons employed in the nationally owned sector of agriculture 
earn more on the basis of the collective agreement. In a natio¬ 
nally owned estate for instance, agricultural workers doing 
light work receive on the basis of performance pay 0.80 marks 
or 0.86 marks per hour. Drivers receive 0.94 marks or 1.— 
marks and a tractoriist receives 1.07 marks or 1.14 marks. 

17. Do agricultural workers get holidays? 

Every agricultural worker is guaranteed a holiday. After an 
uninterrupted working period of six months (for young people 
three months) the worker has a legal claim to a paid holi¬ 
day of at least 12 working days per year. Agricultural wor- 


93 









kers who do heavy work or work dangerous to health receive 
18 or 24 working days holiday. Young people between 14 and 
16 receive 21 days annual holiday and young people between 
16 and 18 receive 18 days. Persons who are not steadily em¬ 
ployed receive one paid day of holiday for each 25 working 
days. 

18 How do the agricultural workers live? 

The agricultural workers protection law stipulates the accomo¬ 
dation to be given agricultural workers. An agricultural worker 
with a family concludes a special agreement with the farm 
owner or director on the grant of accomodation, stabling, and a 
vegetable garden of 625 square metres. This accomodation is 
not included in the wage. Unmarried workers can claim 
a furnished and heatable room. 

If the agricultural worker receives accomodation and food 
from the farm, he pays 0.50 marks per day for accomodation 
and 1.50 marks per day for food. The living standard of agri¬ 
cultural workers on private farms is further improved by 
labour safety and other regulations, concluded between the 
owner and the trade union committee. The agreement between 
the agricultural workers and the owner in the case of the 
undertaking of Kurt Galles, at Blumberg near Potsdam, lays 
down that the workers should receive a medical inspection 
every three months and that a library for technical literature 
should be provided by the undertaking. Enterprises in the 
nationally owned sector of agriculture, such as nationally 
owned estates, forestry undertakings, market gardens, research 
and breeding stations etc. extend still more generous and 
extensive measures of this type. As in the nationally owned 
industry, the collective agreements lay down the measures to 
be taken. 

19. Do agricultural workers receive payment in kind? 

All employees and the members of their families can buy food 
at prices fixed for the peasants or the nationally owned 
estate by the nationally owned collection and purchasing 
organisations. The old form of payment in kind is therefore 
no longer existent. This prevents all form of concealment of 
the wage actually paid such as occurs when payment is made 
in kind. Every agricultural worker receives his wage in cash 
as laid down in the agreement. In addition he has the adven- 
tage of being able to buy his daily quantities of meat and fat 
at prices regulated as above. 


94 



Production cooperatives 

1. Why have the peasants joined together in production 
cooperatives? 

At a conference of the chairmen of production cooperatives 
the peasant Ernst Grossmann, chairman of the Merxleben 
production cooperative in Thuringia stated: 

“We have joined together in order 

1. to produce more and thus provide the entire population 
with more food, 

2. to achieve a better standard of living for us working 
peasants by producing more, 

3. to make our work more easy, to gain more free time 
and improve our life in every way.” 

In the production cooperatives the peasants are able to use 
the most modern technical methods and the experiences 
gained by progressive agrarian science. This results in not 
only bigger crops and more money but also in more free time. 
This is particularly true for the women. The peasant coope¬ 
rators therefore have more time to improve their knowledge 
and to attend cultural performances. 

Today there are 5103 agricultural production cooperatives in 
the German Democratic Republic. The 157,580 peasants and 
agricultural labourers who came together to form these coope¬ 
ratives till jointly about 920,780 hectares of land. 

2. Can people leave a production cooperative? 

A peasant considers the situation very fully and only joins 
a production cooperative if he is fully convinced of the rea¬ 
sons for taking this important step. Thus the possibility of 
leaving does not play an important role. 

However, the statutes of the production cooperatives deal 
with this possibility in various clauses. The section on member¬ 
ship, for instance, lays down in a typical statute. 

“Anyone who wishes to leave the production cooperative 
must make written application. He can leave only after 
the completion of the harvest . . .” 

The possibility is also mentioned in the section dealing with 
the use of the land which states: 

“Persons who leave the production cooperative or who 
are excluded receive back their share of land of the same 
size and in comparable quality on the border of the coo¬ 
peratively tilled land.” 


95 







3. Do all production cooperatives take the same form? 

In the German Democratic Republic there are three different 
forms of agricultural production cooperatives, known as types 
I, II und III. 

Type I ist the simplest and most easily introduced form of 
agricultural production cooperative. The members contribute 
only their arable fields for collective cropping. Their gardens, 
meadows and woods, together with their entire stocks of 
animals, their machines and implements, remain the personal 
property of the member. 

In Type II the members contribute their arable fields and 
also their draught animals, horsies, tractors and other ma¬ 
chines and instruments for collective use in the production 
cooperative. Members may retain one horse, one or two foals 
and a draught ox for their personal use. Breeding animals and 
domestic animals are also retained by the members. 

Type III is the highest form of production cooperative. The 
members contribute their land together with meadows and 
woods, their draught animals and a part of their breeding 
and domestic animals together with their agricultural ma¬ 
chines and implements to the production cooperative. In this 
type the cooperative economy extends to all branches of agri¬ 
cultural production. 

4. Has the peasant cooperator no personal property? 

In all three types of cooperatives the members, on decision 
of their general meetings, can retain as their personal pro¬ 
perty up to half a hectare of arable land for growing their 
own vegetables and fruit. 

The statute of the cooperative of Type III also lays down 
that each family can retain as personal property for their 
own use, for deliveries and for sales to the State up to two 
cows and calves, up to two pigs in farrow and an unlimited 
number of sheep, goats, chickens, rabbits and other small ani¬ 
mals. In addition they can keep a horse with one or two foals, 
or an ox. 

5. How are the fields cropped? 

It is naturally necessary to amalgamate the fields in order 
to achieve joint economy in the production cooperative. Good 
labour organisation is then necessary for cropping the large 
areas thus produced. 

The peasant cooparators form permanent brigades according 
to the statute and the regulations of the cooperative. The best 


96 



and most experienced peasant is elected as leader by the 
general meeting. Generally speaking, the brigades discuss 
every day the work to be done in the fields. 

6. How are the animals tended? 

In a cooperative of Type ITI the cattle are stabled and tended 
jointly. For this purpose, too, brigades are established, largely 
from women. In some production cooperatives the cattle are 
still kept in a number of sheds, since the stabling necessary 
for a big undertaking cannot be built immediately. In other 
production cooperatives however, building of such stabling is 
going ahead fast. 

The cattle brigades are established on a permanent basis 
and they are divided into working groups for the various 
animals. The cattle brigades must look after the animals and 
see to the proper storage and distribution of the fodder. 

The cattle brigades, just like the field brigades, have their 
own working plan for fulfilling the production figures set 
down in the plan of the cooperatives. 

Cooperative tending of the cattle leads to a considerable im¬ 
provement in the health of the animals. The production coo¬ 
perative in Merxleben near Langensalza has now stationed 
its cattle in two newly built cow sheds. One shed houses the 
t.b.-tested cattle and the other the cattle which react posi¬ 
tively to a tuberculin test. Only a few weeks after the re¬ 
distribution, a production increase of 50 per cent could be 
noted. Veterinary inspection is laid down by contract and 
the veterinarian makes sterility and gestation tests every 
six weeks. 

The evaluation of the work of the cattle brigade is on a si¬ 
milar basis to the evaluation of the peasant cooperators work¬ 
ing in the field brigades. The norms established are varied 
according to the very varying labour conditions in the diffe¬ 
rent production cooperatives. A usual norm for a woman 
tending cattle is the charge of 12 cows. She receives one work 
unit per cow per month for fulfilling this norm, which in¬ 
cludes the tending and feeding of these animals. In addition 
she is credited with 0.8 work units for producing each 100 
kilogrammes of milk with a fat content of 3.5 per cent. 

7. How is the work of the various peasant cooperators 

evaluated? 

One of the most important questions is the correct evaluation 
of the work of each individual peasant cooperator. A peasant 


7 250 QUESTIONS 


97 







cooperator who does more qualified work and produces better 
results than others receives proportionally more in the distri¬ 
bution of the income. The basis for the evaluation of the work 
done is the daily work norm. These work norms are so deter¬ 
mined that a conscientiously working member can fulfill them 
without great effort. In fixing the work norms, the quantity 
of work, the quality of the work and the implements needed 
are taken into consideration. 

When for example two peasant cooperators have fulfilled 
their daily work norm, but the character of their work is 
varied, it is naturally necessary to evaluate their work norms 
differently. This is done by the use of labour units. For heavy 
work the fulfilment of the daily work norm brings more 
work units than for light work. Work involving higher quali¬ 
fications or more responsibility also bring more work units. 

Here are two examples: 

The daily work norm for harrowing corn with a horse 
harrow 2 metres broad is an area of 4.4 hectares. This 
work is not difficult and demands no special knowledge. 
The fulfilment of the work norm is therefore evaluated 
at 1.2 work units. Mowing with the grass mower and 
two horses, with a mowing width of 1.50 metres, has a 
daily work norm of 2.95 hectares. This mowing work de¬ 
mands more attention and resposibiiity than the harrow¬ 
ing and the fulfilment of the daily work norm is there¬ 
fore evaluated at 1.4 work units. The leader of the bri¬ 
gade enters in a book for each peasant cooperator the 
work which he has done and the number of work units 
earned. 


8. What do the peasant cooperators earn? 

This varies greatly since it depends upon the production of 
the cooperatives and of the individual members. A hard work¬ 
ing peasant will always earn more than one who neglects his 
work. Before the income, in kind and in cash, is distributed 
to the members of the cooperative, the cooperative must na¬ 
turally have met its obligation to the State, such as delivery 
quotas and taxes, and have laid aside means in cash or in 
kind for certain purposes which will stabilize and further 
develop the production cooperatives. For example, certain 
funds must be laid aside for seed and reserves and for an 
assistance fund (Type III) for invalids, old people etc. The 
income of the peasant cooperator comes from three sources 
in both kind and cash: 


9S 




1. income for the work units performed in the course 
of a year; 

2. a certain percentage of the income of the cooperative 
according to the size and quality of the arable land, 
which he brought into the cooperative (this percentage 
varies from a maximum of 40 per cent in Type I, 
a maximum of 30 per cent in Type II, and a maximum 
of 20 per cent in Type III); 

3. income from the individual plot of land, cattle holding 
etc. 

In the course of the year, the members can also receive ad¬ 
vances proportional to the work done. Here is an example 
from the Type III production cooperative “Florian Geyer” 
in Aschersleben: 

The peasant Lengnick received land in the course of the land 
reform. Before joining the production cooperative he had no 
| horse and his income was relatively low. 

1 In September 1953 he was credited with 45 work units and 
' his wife with 30 work units. They receive 7.24 marks for each 
, of their 75 works units, making a total of 543 marks. (In 
other cooperatives the payment per work unit may be higher 
or lower. It is governed by the total income of the cooperative.) 
In addition they receive goods in kind, valued at about 180 
! marks — per work unit 2.5 kilogrammes of corn, 2 kilogram¬ 
mes of potatoes, 0.05 kilogrammes of oil seed and 4.5 kilo¬ 
grammes of fodder roots. For the ten hectares which he 
brought into the cooperative, he receives 1,260 marks in cash 
and about 520 marks in kind (per hectare 75.5 kilogrammes of 
cereals, 2.5 kilogrammes of oil seed, 43,3 kilogrammes of po¬ 
tatoes, 0.8 kilogrammes of legumes and 143 kilogrammes of 
j fodder roots). This produces a total of 1,780 marks yearly or 
about 148 marks monthly. Thus in September Herr Lengnick 
i and his wife received in cash and in kind from the cooperative 
543 marks plus 180 marks plus 148 marks = 871 marks. 

In addition Herr Lengnick and his wife have earned 4,380 
| marks in 1953 from the animals which they keep privately. If 
I half of this is deducted for fodder costs, there remain 2,190 
marks annually or 182.50 marks monthly as net income from 
the private animals. This sum raises therefore their monthly 
! income to 1053.50 marks. 

9. Who runs the production cooperative? 

The cooperative is run neither by the chairman nor by any 
other individual. Each cooperative has its statute agreed by 
the membership, and this is its basic law. The highest organ 






of a production cooperative is the general meeting, which 
takes decisions on all basic questions affecting the cooperative. 
The decisions of the general meeting are binding upon all 
members. 

The general meeting elects the chairman, the board and the 
auditing commission for a period of one year and has the right 
to remove these persons before this year is out, if they do 
their job badly or if they misuse their rights. 

The general meeting decides on the acceptance of new mem¬ 
bers and on expulsion. It confirms the production plan and 
the plan on income and expenditure, the purchase of animals, 
machines and implements, the laying down of work norms 
and so on. This means that the economic life of the coope¬ 
rative is run with the agreement of the members. 

These democratic rights lay upon each individual member 
the great responsibility of cooperating actively in the admini¬ 
stration and building of the cooperative and of supporting 
with all their strength the chairman and the board in 
carrying out their tasks. 

10. Does the State give particular support to production 
cooperatives? 

Yes. This support, however, not extended at the cost of the 
individual peasants is in the interest of a better stan¬ 
dard of living for all working people. The support is given 
in the form of credits, special facilities in tax payments etc 
The production cooperatives receive this support since they 
are able to produce bigger crops and higher labour produc¬ 
tivity by the use of big-area farming, the better utilisation 
of modern agrarian technology and the better organisation 
of labour. Here are a few examples: 

On August 3rd 1952 the production cooperative “Fortschritt’" 
(“Progress”) was founded in Brehna, Bittierfeld district. In 
the first year of its existence this cooperative produced con¬ 
siderably bigger crops than the individual peasants in Brehna. 
The crop of winter rye, for instance, was 2940 kilogrammes 
per hectare, 22.5 per cent more than the crops of the indi¬ 
vidual peasants. The crops of winter barley amounted to 
3600 kilogrammes per hectare, that is 12 per cent more than 
the individual peansants, and the crops of oats were 3200 kilo¬ 
grammes per hectare, one third more than the individual 
peasants. The crop of summer oil seed was 28.5 per cent 
higher per hectare than the average on the fields of indivi¬ 
dual peasants in the Bitterfeld district. 


100 



Great successes were also achieved with cattle. Within a 
short period the number of cattle could be very considerably 
increased. When the cooperative was founded it possessed 
360 animals (135 cattle, 152 pigs and five sheep). By October 
Coth natural increase and purchase had more than doubled 
the total figure. The number of cattle had risen by 53 per cent, 
the number of pigs by 160 per cent, and there were 28 times 
as many sheep. 


11. Have the peasants an organisation of their own to 
represent their interests? 

The organisation of the peasants is the Association for Mutual 
Peasant Aid — Peasant Trade Cooperative. The VDGB, as 
it is known, is the united democratic organisation of the 
working peasantry. This organisation works for democracy 
in the villages, for the economic social and cultural advance 
of the peasants population and for peace and the peaceful 
reunification of Germany. The small peasants and the middle 
peasants themselves run the VDGB, both in the local groups 
and in the central board of the entire organisation. The cen¬ 
tral board, which guarantees the interests of the peasants, 
consists of eighty people, of whom 34 are working individual 
peasants and nursery gardeners, 27 peasant cooperators and 
19 full-time officials. 


The machine and tractor stations (MTS) 

1. What is the task of the MTS? 

, The machine and tractor stations were created by the state in 
order to make modern technology and the most progressive 
agricultural science available to the peasants and above all 
to the small and middle peasants. At the same time the 
establishment of these stations made the small and middle 
peasants economically completely independent of the big 
peasants. There are about sixhundred MTS to-day, helping the 
peasants to get bigger crops cheaper and more quickly 
through intensive working of the soil. These stations are a 
living expression of the alliance between the workers and the 
peasants. 

The MTS also have the task of helping the peasants in tech¬ 
nical questions. This is done principally by the agronomists 
who give constant technical advice, particularly to the peasant 
cooperators. 


101 





Another task of the MTS, which is just as important, is help 
for cultural life in the villages. In many villages the house of 
culture of the MTS has become the centre of social life. 
Through the intitiative of the MTS, libraries and cultural 
groups are established; lectures are given on the discoveries in 
agrarian science made by such men as Michurin and Lys- 
senko; and in Michurin circles and discussion groups the 
peasants exchange their experiences. 

To-day the small and middle peasants regard the MTS as 
a friend without whose help they would find things very 
difficult. 


2. What does the peasant pay for the work done by the MTS? 

An MTS is in the first place an installation aimed to give 
effective economic help to the peasant cooperators and the 
small and middle peasants. For this reason the tariffs of the 
MTS are graded according to the size of the farm. The prices 
charged vary according to the amount and the character of 
the work done. There are four tariff groups. The main idea 
in establishing the tariffs is to follow the principle of a just 
distribution of costs, so that the smallest farm should have the 
lowest costs. The farms which are economically most strong 
pay the highest tariffs, though even in the work done for big 
peasants part of the cost is paid by government subsidies. 


Production cooperatives during the first few years of their 
existence, when they must develop and consolidate themsel¬ 
ves, pay the lowest tariffs. Here are some examples: 


Tariff group I 

production coop. 

II 

farms up to 
10 hectares 

ill 

farms up to 

20 hectares 

IV 

over 20 
hectares 

Middle ploughing . . 

17.50 

21.50 

26.50 

66.— 

21 to 25 cm. 
Disharrowing . . . 

rj _ 

9.— 

11.— 

22 — 

Drilling . 

5.— 

6.50 

10.— 

22.— 

Corn harvesting . . 

12.— 

15.— 

19.— 

40.— 

Potato harrowing . . 

15.— 

25.— 

35.— 

65.— 

Potato hoeing . . . 

22.50 

28.— 

46.— 

85.50 

Hoeing corn, 

rape and root crops . 

6.50 

8.— 

14.— 

so.- 

Meadow harrowing . 

4.— 

5.— 

9.— 

is.— 


The actual cost of the work done is in every case higher than 
these charges. The necessary subsidy is paid by the State, 
even in the case of the farms of big peasants. 


102 







3. Who do the MTS work for? 


The machine and tractor stations work for all peasants. They 
devote particular attention to the peasant cooperators and the 
individual small and middle peasants but they also work on 
tbe farms of the big peasants. However, the big peasants 
are technically and materially better off, possess their own 
horses and generally more workers. For this reason the MTS 
always works first for the cooperators and the small and 
middle peasants and then later for this economically stronger 
section. 

The MTS Rogatz in the Magdeburg district, for example, 
worked 675 hectares of land in the third quarter of 1953 for 
production cooperatives. For small peasants with farms of up 
to 10 hectares the MTS worked 1458 hectares, for individual 
peasants up to 20 hectares it worked 200 hectares, and for 
peasants owning over 20 hectares it worked 150 hectares. The 
areas here are expressed in “hectare-units” which are an 
average for various types of work. 


Innovations in the villages 

1. Country Schools 

Since 1945 there have been great changes in the country schools. 
The children from the villages, just like town children, are 
getting the chance to attend proper eight-class schools. This 
has been achieved largely by the building of 1454 central 
schools in country districts. In 1945/1946 there were still 
4114 one-class schools but by 1954 there were only 98 of these 
one-class schools left. A second teacher has been attached 
to all country schools with more than 25 pupils. 

2. Village Films 

As a result of the cultural decree issued by the Government 
in February 1950, 90 per cent of all villages in the German 
Democratic Republic see at least one film every week, shown 
by the government institution “Country Film.” This organisa¬ 
tion disposes of 1500 permanent cinemas and 1667 portable 
film projectors. 

In 1952/53 a total of two hundred small size film projectors 
were distributed free to agricultural production cooperatives 
and peasant cooperators were given free training in projection. 
In the first half of 1953 a total of 233,806 film performances 
were given in the countryside and in the first half of 1954 


103 





the figure had risen to 348,962 performances. The number of 
people seeing the films had risen 50 per cent, from 14,900,000 
to 22,400,000. 


3. Amateur Arts in the Villages 

Amateur art groups are playing an important part in the 
development of cultural life in the villages. It is also inmpor- 
tant in this connection that the agricultural population has 
to-day more free time than in olden days. At present there 
are 3,100 amateur art groups in the villages. These groups 
are not only an expression of a new culture in the country 
side; they are at the same time a serious attempt to tend the 
best cultural traditions of the German peasantry. The amateur 
art groups in the country side have produced such outstanding 
folk art ensembles as the ensemble of the Thalmann-Pioneers 
from Altmugeln, Leipzig district, which performed at the 
Fourth World Youth Festival in Bucarest in 1953. 


4. Who finances the amateur art groups? 

The financial basis is undoubtedly very important for success¬ 
ful cultural work. Financial support for the village groups is 
provided as the result of various laws and decrees of the 
government. Cash and musical instruments are provided 
from the budgets of the villages, the districts and the 
counties; from the VDGB, the Free German Trade Union 
Federation, the Free German Youth, the Democratic Women’s 
Federation, the Culture League and other organisations. In 
1954 the VDGB alone provided 10,000 marks to help the cul¬ 
ture groups in each county. On application, sums of over 
1000 marks can be provided from the cultural fund of the 
Government for the furnishing of peasant club rooms, the 
purchase of instruments, costumes and so on. To develop folk 
art the Government increased budget funds available from 
600,000 marks in 1951 to nearly 9,000,000 marks in 1954 and a 
very important proportion of these funds went to village 
folk art groups. The cultural groups also received generous 
financial support from the director’s funds of the MTS and 
the nationally owned estates and from the agricultural and 
forestry trade union. These contributions from the trade 
union come from a certain percentage of the trade union dues 
which are earmarked for cultural purposes. 

All these generous measures of support have helped to 
develop a rich cultural life in the villages. 


104 





5. Houses of Culture and Libraries 

The many cultural installations created with government help 
in the villages have laid the groundwork for successful cul¬ 
tural work. The houses of culture belong to the people and 
they are available to all the villagers. These houses of culture 
have become the centre for the entire cultural life in the 
countryside. They are the scene of meetings, lectures, discus¬ 
sions, celebrations and so on. The Government provides 
financial assistance for building the houses of culture and for 
maintaining them. In 1953 subsidies of 1,652,000 marks and in 
1954 subsidies of 1,850,000 marks were provided for the in¬ 
stallation and equipment of houses of culture and cultural 
rooms in the MTS, the nationally owned estates and similar 
places. Up to 1953 a total of 238 country houses of culture 
were established. In addition the MTS, the nationally owned 
estates and national forestry enterprises maintain 1000 cul¬ 
tural rooms and there are also 1,944 peasants’ cultural rooms. 
Libraries attached to these houses of culture and cultural 
rooms provide scientific and technical books, novels, classics, 
youth books and political literature. The libraries are provided 
by the MTS, the nationally owned estates, the production 
cooperatives, the peasant club rooms of the VDGB and the 
schools. Nearly every village has to-day at least one library 
and a total of many hundreds of thousands of books are 
available to the village population in 2,900 libraries. 

6. Michurin Circles and Michurin Fields 

More and more peasants are becoming interested in questions 
of agrarian science and particularly in the discoveries of 
Michurin*) and Lyssenko**). 

About three thousand experimental Michurin fields have been 
established and the peasants meet here, discuss the problems 
raised and exchange their experiences. Scientists often parti¬ 
cipate in these discussions. In addition, there are between 700 
and 800 “Clubs of Young Agronomists”. The Academy of Agri¬ 
cultural Science holds regular lectures for the leaders of the 
clubs, gives scientific guidance to these clubs and in a number 
of cases has charged the best of the clubs with research work. 


*) Ivan Michurin. Great Soviet scientist who recognised the impor¬ 
tance of the influence of environment upon the organism and who 
used this in his practical breeding experiments. In this way he 
developed fruit types partycularly resistant to frost, which made 
it possible to extend orchards far into the Northern latitudes. 

**) T. D. Lyssenko. President of the Lenin Academy of Agriculture 
Sciences and a pupil of Michurin. He is a leading representative 
of progressive agro-biology and further developed Michurin's basic 
theories. 


105 





Various experiments are made on the many research fields, 
such as experiments in the use of prepared corn seed, grafting 
experiments, and experiments in the optimum distance 
between plants and in various types of fertilizer. 

7. Country Clinics 

In order to improve the health services for the country popu¬ 
lation the Government has established country clinics. The 
number of such clinics iis rising from year to year and will 
continue to rise in the future. In 1948 there were only two 
such clinics but by 1953 the number had risen to 235, and 
500 are planned for 1955. The Government provided 40 mil¬ 
lion marks for this work in 1954. One or more doctors and 
dentists with the necessary assistants work in each of these 
clinics, which are provided with modem equipment. In many 
cases these country clinics also have delivery beds. These 
clinics provide the country population not only with medical 
treatment but also with peventive medicine. 


106 





How does the middle class live in the German 
Democratic Republic? 


Craftsmen 

1. How many independent craftsmen are there in the 
German Democratic Republic? 

There are about 280,000 craft undertakings and a total of 
850,000 persons are employed there. 


2. Are the craftsmen short of orders? 

No. On the contrary the peace economy of the German 
Democratic Republic provides the craftsmen with so many 
orders, both from the population and from nationally owned 
and private firms that they have difficulty in meeting all of 
them. The most important tasks for craftsmen in the framework 
of the planned development of the economy of the German 
Democratic Republic are the following: the manufacture of 
high quality consumer goods for the population; the supply 
of precision-made parts for nationally owned and private 
industry; the carrying out of skilled repair and maintenance 
work in factories; the manufacture of export goods in which 
there is a high labour intensity; and building. 

The Five Year Plan for the development of the economy, the 
Law for the Development of Craft Work, the tax legislation 
dealing with craftsmen and the decree on prices, all of which 
laws and decrees were worked out with the active partici¬ 
pation of craftsmen, open great perspectives for the develop¬ 
ment of craft work in the German Democratic Republic. Here 
are statistics on this development: 

Turnover in millions of marks 


1946 

3,010 

1950 

4,424 

1951 

4,900 

1953 

5,830 

1954 

(6 months) 3,400 


The law on the Five Year Plan foresaw an increase in pro¬ 
duction of 160 per cent, from 4,400 million marks in 1950 to 
7,000 million marks in 1955. In fact, however, the production 
planned for the end of 1955 will already be reached at the 
end of 1954. 


107 




This great expansion in craft work under the conditions ruling 
in the workers’ and peasants’ state of the German Democratic 
Republic was reflected at the 1954 Leipzig fair. Here are 
some examples: 

Berlin craftsmen alone took orders for the delivery of high 
quality craft products valued at 7 million marks, of which 
175,000 marks worth were destined for export. This was more 
than double the orders taken at the 1953 fair, when Berlin 
craftsmen received orders amounting to 3 million marks. 
The biggest proportion of these orders went to electrical craft 
firms. One craft firm alone, the electrical firm Willi Schranz, 
took orders amounting to 2.5 million marks for igelite welding 
apparatus, quartz burners and short wave therapy apparatus. 
Buyers from Belgium, Britain and Poland were particularly 
interested in the igelite welding apparatus. This apparatus 
costs 4,500 marks compared to 7,500 marks for similar instal¬ 
lations made by West German firms. The craft firm Electro- 
Werner received orders amounting to 1 million marks for 
water heaters, immersion heaters, waffle-irons and warmers 
for babies bottles. The cabinet makers’ cooperative sold 
1,000 drawing boards, the coopers’ and turners’ cooperative 
sold wine casks valued at 14,000 marks to Hungary. The crafts¬ 
men’s firm of Kusak sold water balls valued at 15,000 marks 
to Czechoslovakia and did a total of 235,000 marks worth of 
business. The number of Berlin craft firms doing export busi¬ 
ness increased from twelve in 1953 to sixteen in 1954. 

3. How many workers may a craftsman employ? 

As many as he likes. However, undertakings employing more 
than ten workers are classified as private industry, except in 
the case of brick laying and carpentering firms which may 
employ twenty workers and street repair, roofing and painting 
firms which may employ fifteen workers. These figures do 
not include the craftsman himself, apprentices, members of 
the family so long as they are not on a wage basis, and 
persons suffering from at least 50 per cent incapacity. 

4. What taxes does a craftsman ,pay? 

Craftsmen pay a “normative” tax, that is to say that each 
industrial group is taxed on the basis of a special norm which 
is worked out with the aid of the craftsmen themselves. This 
has the advantage that the size of the tax is adjusted according 
to the profession and that it is differentiated in accordance 
with the real economic importance of the firm. Previously 
craftsmen had to pay four different taxes: income tax, turn¬ 
over tax, trade and property tax. To-day one tax covers all 


108 




these categories so that the crafisman has only one payment 
to make every quarter instead of four different payments. 
Simultaneously the compulsory keeping of books for tax pur¬ 
poses has been dispensed with. 

Tax Deductions 

Male craftsmen over 65 and female craftsmen over 50, as well 
as craftsmen who were persecuted by the Nazi regime pay 
only half of the normative tax. Male craftsmen working alone, 
over 65, and female craftsmen, working alone, over 60, pay 
only 60 marks tax annually. 

Craftsmen who are more than 50 per cent incapacitated pay 
only half the normal tax, and if they are two-thirds incapaci¬ 
tated, they pay only one quarter of the normal tax. These 
advantages are extended only if not more than one wage 
earner is employed. 

Blind craftsmen pay no taxes. 

If the craftsman employs wage earning workers, he must 
pay an additional percentage for each worker according to a 
special taxation table. No additional tax is paid for apprentices 
or for the craftsman’s wife, if she helps him. A craftsman 
working alone, such as a cabinet maker or a tailor, pays a 
yearly tax of 600 marks. 

A decree issued by the Cabinet on December 17th 1953 laid 
down that village craftsmen with not more than one employee 
should pay a lower rate of tax. 

The following details show that craftsmen in the German 
Democratic Republic are in a more favourable position with 
regard to taxation than in West Germany. 

A cabinet maker with two workers pays in the German 
Democratic Republic taxes of 988 marks annually (basic tax 
in district group III plus additional taxation for two workers). 
In West Germany a cabinet maker with a turnover of 
20,000 marks, the average of what he can attain with two 
workers, has-to pay an annual tax of 2,218 marks. 

5. What are the social insurance regulations for craftsmen? 

A craftsman and the members of his family receive the same 
social insurance benefit as workers and office workers (see 
page 38). He has to pay a social insurance contribution equal 
to his basic tax. 

6. Under what conditions can a craftsman receive credits? 
Craftsmen receive credits on application, either from the 
Cooperative Bank of which they are members or from the 


109 




District Savings Bank. They must pay 5 per cent interest. Up 
to September 15th 1953 credits amounting to 20.4 million marks 
had been granted to craftsmen and craftsmen’s cooperatives. 


7. Who represents the rights of craftsmen? 

The Law for the Promotion of Craft Work dated August 9th 
1950 established Chambers of Craftsmen in the various coun¬ 
ties, with branches in the districts, as the organisations repre¬ 
senting the interests of the craftsmen. (For the duties of the 
Chambers of Craftsmen see “Private Industry”, Question 4.) 


Retail trade 

1. What role is played by private retail trade in the German 
Democratic Republic? 

The new course of the Government of the German Democratic 
Republic sets special tasks for retail trade and encourages 
the broad development of private retail trade. 

These possibilities are shown by the fact that in the second 
quarter of 1954 private retail trade was able to increase its 
turnover by one third over the figures for the second quarter 
of 1953. 


2. Is private retail trade put at a disadvantage in the distri¬ 
bution of goods compared to the State Trading Organisa¬ 
tion and the Cooperative Stores? 

No. Goods are supplied to all retail outlets without discrimi¬ 
nation, except in the case of a few expensive imported goods 
in which there are restrictions. Since these goods are still in 
short supply and are sold with a special surcharge which goes 
to the budget, they are restricted to sale in the shops of the 
State Trading Organisation. 

3. What is the trade margin in retail trade? 

Trade margins vary between 5 and 35 per cent of the whole¬ 
sale price. The size of the margin is determined by the 
Ministry of Finance for the various branches and in all cases 
provides a good basis of existence for private retail trade. 

4. May private shopkeepers employ assistants? 

Yes, as many as they like. 


110 




5. What taxes are paid by the retail trader? 

A retail trader has to pay turnover tax, trade tax, property 
tax and income tax. 

The turnover tax amounts to 3 per cent of the turnover 
of the shop. 

The trade tax varies according to capital and profits. 

The land tax and property tax varies according to the 
property and any land which may be owned. The first 
j ten thousand marks for the tax payer, five thousand marks 
for his wife and five thousand marks for each child are free 
of tax. 

The trader is legally bound to keep a record of income and 
expenditure, and at the end of the year must submit a tax 
, statement with profit and loss account to the tax office. Tf the 
! retail trader is entered in the trade registry, he is obliged to 
keep proper books. 


Private industry 

1. What role is played by private industry in the German 
Democratic Republic? 

f Private industry is made up mainly of factories in the follo- 
wing branches: food and) beverage industry, textile industry 
f and ready-to-wear clothing, machine industry, electrotechnical 
! industry, fine mechanics and optics, and woodworking and 
: glassworking together with the printing industry. Private 
j industry plays an important part in supplying the population 
! with consumer goods. 

I The production of private industry has steadily risen since 
1945. The Government of the German Democratic Republic is 
interested in a further development of private industry and 
helps private industry to extend its factories and increase 
| its income. This is shown by the fact that production in 
private industry was 18 per cent higher in the first quarter 
j of 1954 than it was in the first quarter of 1953. The “Decree 
! on the Extension and Improvement of Consumer Goods for 
the Population” dated December 17th 1953 stated in part: 

“Private undertakings producing mass consumer goods, which 
have not sufficient capital are to receive credits, with a con- 
\ tribution of a small proportion themselves, according to the 
regulations issued by the Deutsche Notenbank.” 

“Private undertakings which commence the production of 
mass consumer goods in addition to their main production 


111 


will receive the credits necessary for such new production 
at a net interest rate of 5 per cent per annum i. e. without 
commission.” 

“Private production, building and transport undertakings 
subject to income tax have the right to devote 25 per cent 
of their net profit for investments and general repairs. The 
tax is in such cases to be estimated on the remaining profits.” 
“Private production, building and transport undertakings 
subject to income tax are allowed to write off, according to 
the established writing-off regulation objects of factory 
investment capital, whether or not the values of these objects 
are shown in the balances or whether they have already been 
written off for a nominal sum of 1 mark. These sums may be 
written off from the profits for tax purposes.” 

2. Who do private undertakings receive their materials and 
machines from? 

Private enterprises receive the necessary raw materials, either 
from the district council, or from the firm placing the order, 
on the basis of production and supply agreements which they 
make with nationally owned or private industrial and trade 
undertakings, or on the basis of export orders. The production 
and supply agreements must be registered by the State Agree¬ 
ment Office attached to the Chamber of Industry and Trade. 
This ensures that valuable raw materials are only used for 
the production of useful and attractive consumer goods. 

To extend their production private factories can buy machines 
and apparatus from the State Trade Centres. 

3. Do private enterprises take part in foreign trade? 

Yes. A large part of private industry produces export goods 
such as stockings, curtains, knitted goods, optical and electri¬ 
cal apparatus, jewelry and glassware. These articles are much 
in demand in the almost unlimited democratic world market 
consisting of the eastern European states, the USSR, China 
and Korea. 

4. Who represents the interests of private undertakings? 

All private enterprises with the exception of small industry 
and craftsmen belong to the Chamber of Industry and Trade. 
This has branches in all 14 counties of the German Demo¬ 
cratic Republic and in the democratic sector of Berlin. 

The “Decree on the Extension and Improvement of the Pro¬ 
duction of Consumer Goods for the Population” dated Decem¬ 
ber 17th 1953 stated: 


1.12 



“Factories of private industry have a great task in raising the 
living standard of the population and increasing the produc¬ 
tion of mass consumer goods. In carrying out this task the 
activity of the Chambers of Industry and Trade and the 
Craftsmen’s Chambers is of great importance. The main task 
of these Chambers is the provision of the conditions necessary 
for a decisive increase in the production of consumer goods 
and the full utilisation of the capacity available in private 
( industi'y for this purpose. The Chambers of Industry and 
| Trade and the Craftsmen’s Chambers devote their main 
attention to such questions as the correct distribution of con¬ 
trolled raw materials and other materials, the organisation 
and extension of the local raw material basis, the extension 
of the variety and improvement of the quality of the goods 
produced, support for the trading organisations in the spee¬ 
diest distribution of the goods, the reduction of production 
costs and the improvement of working conditions.” 





What is the position of Former Resettlers in the 
German Democratic Republic? 


After the collapse of Nazi Germany about 11.5 million inhabi¬ 
tants of eastern European territories were resettled in the 
territory of Germany as defined in the Potsdam Agreement. 
In the German Democratic Republic these persons are referred 
to only as “former resettler®,” since from the very start they 
were treated as full citizens with equal rights. No “resettle¬ 
ment camps” or “refugee camps” were established here. All 
inhabitants of the eastern territories were settled in towns 
and villages and as far as possible received work in their 
former professions in so far as they were not excluded from 
work in schools, the courts, the police and so on, because 
of their former active membership of the Nazi party. 

In the countryside all estates of over 100 hectares were taken 
over Without compensation and the ground was distributed 
in the first place to former resettlers able to run a farm. 
Here are some figures. At present a total of about 4.3 million 
former resettlers live in the German Democratic Republic 
(in West Germany the figure is 7.2 million). 24.2 per cent of 
the inhabitants of the German Democratic Republic are thus 
former resettlers, compared to only 12.3 per cent in West 
Germany. 

As a result of the land reform 90,500 former resettler familes 
received farms with a total area of 763,000 hectares. This pro¬ 
vided for a total of 350,000 former resettlers when all members 
of their family are taken into account. This distribution 
included the grant of 19,180 dwellings with 25,110 dwelling 
rooms, 21,862 stables and 9,141 barns as well as large quan¬ 
tities of agricultural machinery and implements. Up to spring 
1949 the former resettlers who had received farms got state 
credits of over 500 million marks, which enabled them to build 
more than 20,000 dwellings and many thousands of new barns 
and stables. 

Statistics prepared in autumn 1950 showed that 73,000 former 
resettlers were working in the state administration, nearly 
9000 in the Post Office, over 35,000 on the railways, and 23,500 
as teachers. At the beginning of September 1950 the govern¬ 
ment promulgated a far-reaching law on the improvement 
of the situation of former resettlers. This law made the pro¬ 
vincial governments and district administrations responsible 
for completing the building of dwelling houses and farm 
buildings for former resettler farmers by, at the latest, the 


114 




end of 1952. In addition needy former resettler-farmers 
received over and above previous credits, special interest-free 
credits for the building of dwellings and farm buildings. 
25 million marks were allocated for this purpose in 1951. 

In addition, the most needy former resettler-farmers received 
up to June 1st 1951 ten thousand milch-cows at very low 
prices. Credits for these purposes could be paid back in 
instalments over a three-year period. In addition the delivery 
quota could be halved for resettler-farmers who had not yet 
consolidated their position, and for widows and invalids. 

It was further laid down that former resettlers must be given 
first consideration in the distribution of dwellings to the 
workers and office workers of nationally owned factories, 
machine and tractor stations and nationally owned estates. 
The dwelling house building programme for factories in which 
many former resettlers work was immediately extended. At the 
same time the law extended interest-free credits of up to 
1000 marks per household for the purchase of furniture and 
household goods. Former resettlers who were craftsmen 
received op to 5000 marks for a ten-year term on very 
favourable terms for starting or extending their businesses. 
Needy former resettlers whose children were over compulsory 
schooling age but who were still attending school to complete 
their elementary education received a special education allot¬ 
ment of 25 marks monthly. 

This law wiped out in the main all material differences still 
existing between a proportion of the former resettlers and 
the old established citizens. Resettlers thus do not exist any 
longer in the German Democratic Republic as a particular 
section labouring under a disadvantage. 

The political aim of this law was to complete the integration 
with completely equal rights for the former resettlers. This 
goal has been reached. In West Germany, on the other hand, 
the problem of the resettlers has not been solved. The aim 
is to make the resettlers, who have been put at a disadvantage, 
ready to participate in a new war. 

The successful integration of the former resettlers in the 
German Democratic Republic has disposed of the old propa¬ 
ganda lie of “Volk ohne Raum” (People without living space). 
It has been proved that the living standard of a nation does 
not depend upon the density of population but upon the 
development of the peace economy and the just distribution 
of the national income. 

(The question of the Oder-NeiBe frontier between Germany 
and Poland is dealt with in the chapter “The Foreign Policy 
of the German Democratic Republic.”) 


s* 


115 


The position of pensioners in the German Democratic 
Republic 


1. What pensions are paid in the German Democratic 
Republic? 

One of the outstanding lies spread by hate propaganda in 
West Germany is the claim that the standard of living of the 
population in West Germany is far higher than in the Ger¬ 
man Democratic Republic. The details and comparisons 
published in this book show that the opposite is the case. 

One of these lies in particular is that pensioners are better 
of in the West. Here are the facts: 

The minimum pension in the German Democratic Republic is 
75 marks monthly for incapacity pension and 65 marks monthly 
for widows' pension. Old age pensioners get on an average 
92 marks and widows receive on an average 70 marks. The 
lowest rate of miners’ full pension is 85 marks and half-rent 
for the orphans of miners is 50 marks. 

Here is a comparison with West Germany: 

West Germany GDR incl. dem. 
incl. West Berlin sector of Berlin 



marks 

marks 

Minimum pension for incapacity . . 

50.— 

75.— 

Supplement for children. 

20.— 

32.50 

Supplement for special care ... 

— 

20.— to 60.— 

Supplementary special care for blind 
persons with additional disability, 
armless persons and triple amputees 


30.— to 60.— 

Minimum pensions for widows . . . 

40.— 

65.— 

Minimum pensions for full orphans 

30.— 

55.— 

Minimum pensions for half orphans 

30.— 

35.— 


Since the end of the war the position of pensioners in the 
German Democratic Republic has steadily improved as a 
result of the development of the peace economy and the 
pension increases in 1950 and 1953. 

The following table shows the increase in average pension 
in the German Democratic Republic: 



Disability 

pension 

old age 
pension 

widows 

pension 

half 

orphans 

full 

orphans 

June 30th 1950 
June 30th 1954 

70.60 

90.98 

73.80 

91.76 

50.70 

68.77 

25.80 

35.81 

45.80 

55.82 


116 











In addition to these pensions all helplessly disabled persons 
in the German Democratic Republic receive a nursing supple¬ 
ment. Despite these increases the position of pensioners cannot 
be regarded as satisfactory, since the pensions are still rela¬ 
tively low. The steady rise in the standard of living of the 
entire population, the reduction of prices and the extension 
of social services is bringing a steady improvement in the 
position of the pensioners. If the pensions were radically 
increased this would withdraw money, which cannot be 
spared, from the entire economy and would hinder further 
economic progress and further reduction of the prices. 

Of course some people in West Germany and West Berlin 
receive higher pensions than those paid in the German 
Democratic Republic. These persons are, however, mainly 
former high Government officials, who served the Nazi state 
truly, and former generals and officers. No money is devoted 
to people of this type by the workers in the German Demo¬ 
cratic Republic. They find it disgraceful that in West Ger¬ 
many Nazi generals and SS officers who have been sentenced 
for war crimes and then “pardoned” by the Americans should 
receive pensions of over one thousand marks monthly. 

One particularly striking example is the fact that the 
insurance authorities in Schleswig, West Germany, have 
granted the pension for widows of “high civil servants” 
to the widow SS General Heydrich, who was responsible for 
the murder of countless German and Czech patriots. This 
pension was granted retrospectively from December 1st 1950. 

2. Can old age pensioners earn additional money? 

Old age pensioners who do work according to their abilities 
receive their full pension in addition to their wages. Since 
in the German Democratic Republic there is no unemployment 
and a lack of workers in most branches of industry, there are 
plenty of opportunities for pensioners to work, if they are 
able and wish to do so. 


117 





Concerning women 


Women at work 

1. What difference is there between men’s wages and 
women’s wages? 

There is no difference at all. Women earn exactly as much 
as men. There is no such thing in the German Democratic 
Republic as a “woman’s wage,” since the Constitution grants 
full equal rights to women and thus women in all trades 
and professions receive equal wages for equal work. It is 
nothing exceptional for a woman tool maker to earn more 
than a man on the same job owing to her greater skill or better 
methods of work. 

2. Must women in the German Democratic Republic go out 
to work and do “men’s work”? 

No. 

First there is no compulsion to work in the German Demo¬ 
cratic Republic. A married woman and mother who lives from 
the income of her husband and who wishes to work as a 
housewife exclusively, because of circumstances or the way 
she feels, can naturally do this. Secondly women are not 
allowed to do physically heavy work or work dangerous to 
health. All work in this category is laid down in an official 
list. This list states among other things that women may not 
be employed upon jobs entailing the lifting, carrying, and move¬ 
ment of weights exceeding 15 kilogrammes. If this lifting 
is only occasional, it may be done, but only if the weight 
does not exceed 30 kilogrammes. Pregnant women and nursing 
mothers may not do work in the same categories, if the 
weights exceed 8 or 15 kilogrammes. 

The list of prohibited work includes the following categories: 
All underground work as face worker, loader, pit builder, 
work in steeply sloping ways, work with compressed air 
tools and work where the temperature exceeds 24 degrees 
centigrade; 

Work at the ovens in coking plants and lignite carboni¬ 
zation plants; 

All work on presses, mills, smithies and foundries in metal 
factories; 


118 




All work on frame saws, bandsaws, circular saws and 
wood splitting machines in saw mills and equivalent 
factories. 

Work dangerous to health which is forbidden for women 
includes work with benzol, the manufacture, packing, storage 
and transport of “Thomas powder”, work in rooms with 
carbonic disulphide, and where aromatic nitrogen and aminol 
combinations are produced. They are also not allowed to work 
on coupling work in railyards. 

Thirdly there are in the German Democratic Republic no 
professions which are reserved for men. Many thousands of 
women are employed in all branches of industry and the 
professions from tram driver up to minister. 

3. What is the income in professions which are mainly 
followed by women? 

a) health services 

Baby nurses receive 320 marks monthly or up to 384 marks 
with performance pay. 

Doctors receive in their first year as internes between 620 and 
685 marks and in the second year 686 to 805 marks. A doctor 
with her own station receives 875 to 940 marks. 

b) social services 

A nursery school teacher receives 320 to 480 marks. 

c) schools 

There is of course no difference between the salaries paid 
to men and women teachers. Details of teachers’ salaries are 
given on page 149. 

d) typists and secretaries 

Salaries for typists and secretaries vaiy according to district. 
In the highest classification beginner typists receive 280 to 
310 marks; 

typists taking dictation at 180 syllables per minute and typing 
200 characters per minute receive between 350 and 400 marks; 
typists doing particularly responsible work receive between 
400 and 460 marks; 

technical secretaries receive 460 to 530 marks; 
chief secretaries receive 530 to 600 marks. 

4. How floes o woman, who goes out to work, look after her 
household? 

In the factories, according to size, there are cooperative shops 
and shops of the state trading organisation, factory laundries, 


119 



tailoring shops and shoe repairers etc., which save time and 
work for the working women. At present the public and 
also the Government has seriously criticized the fact that the 
factory directorships have not devoted enough attention to 
providing such facilities. 

To make shopping easier, many of the factory shops provided 
by the cooperatives and the state trading organisation have 
developed the ordering system, by which the purchaser hands 
in her order, and can collect it ready-packed a few hours later. 
In some factories mobile shops and sales-waggons bring the 
goods to the workers at their work benches. 

Every woman with her own household who looks after her 
husband, children up to the age of 16 or members of the 
family in need of assistance, is legally entitled to one paid 
“household day” in the month. In West Germany on the other 
hand, employers are attempting to abolish the “household day” 
where it still exists, and labour courts have decided in favour 
of the employers on the grounds that this ensures “equal 
rights” for women. 

5. Who looks after the children? 

Nearly all large factories have their own day nurseries and 
creches. In many cases, too, municipal day nurseries have been 
opened near the factories. The municipalities and factories 
naturally also provide week-nurseries and other accomoda¬ 
tions for children. 

The charges for children in these installations are extremely 
low, as is shown by the following table giving the charges for 
children up to the age of three: 

Harvest nurseries.5 to 10 marks per month 

Day nurseries.15 marks per month 

Week-nurseries.25 marks per month 

Children’s homes.40 marks per month 

It is clear that these charges do not cover the cost of food, 
the installation and the pedagogic and medical care for the 
children. The factory directorships, the trade union and the 
State give big subsidies for these installations. 

At the end of 1953 there were, in the German Democratic Re¬ 
public 711 creches with 20,675 places, 151 children’s homes 
with 6758 places. In the factories there were creches with 
5265 places. 

To ease the work of peasants and women agricultural workers 
261 seasonal creches with 4336 places were provided in 1953 
to look after children up to the age of three. 


120 








In September 1954 the number of municipal creches had risen 
to 954 with 27,859 places. There were 165 children’s homes 
with 7,582 places and 245 factory creches with 8,648 places. 
In addition 508 harvest creches and seasonal creches provided 
7,178 places. 

By 1955 it is planned to provide 40,000 places for children 
in creches. The State will provide 40 million marks for this 
purpose. Day nurseries with a total of 160,000 places are also 
i planned. 

6. Who represents the interests of women in the factories? 

| The rights of women described in this chapter are laid down 
in the Constitution and in the “Daw on the Protection of 
Mothers and Children and the Rights of Women”. It is a 
punishable offence to break this law. The interests of the 
working women are protected by the factory directorship, 
the trade union and other social organisations. 

' A Cabinet decision on May 2nd 1952 laid down that factory 
directorships were obliged to draw up plans for the promotion 
of women and to work steadily to put these plans into effect. 
In the meetings at which the directorship reports on the 
fulfilment of the factory collective agreement, a report must 
also be made on the fulfilment of the plan for the promotion 
of women. This plan includes both the technical and social 
further qualification of women and special social and health 
measures for them. The factory trade union committee 
supports the factory directorship in carrying out this plan 
! and supervises adherence to it. 

In the factories the women themselves elect women’s 
committees, which have the task of interesting the women in 
day-to-day politics, winning their cooperation in social work, 
! and ending shortcomings in the factory which affect women. 

The women’s committee makes suggestions to the factory 
; directorship and the trade union committee and proposes 
measures in the interests of the women. 

There are to-day eight thousand women’s committees in the 
nationally owned factories, the private factories and the 
agricultural production cooperatives in the German Demo¬ 
cratic Republic. 


Mother and child 

1. What care is given to pregnant women? 

Every pregnant woman in the German Democratic Republic 
has the following advantages: 


121 



a) in all districts there are aid and advice centres for mothers, 
which give free medical, social and legal aid to pregnant 
women; 

b) from the fourth month of pregnancy additional ration 
cards are granted, giving: 

300 grammes of fat monthly, 

300 grammes of sugar monthly, 
half a litre of milk daily. 

This additional ration is raised from the sixth month of 
pregnancy and for the period of nursing for a maximum 
of one year to: 

600 grammes of fat monthly, 

600 grammes of sugar monthly, 

1 litre of milk daily; 

c) in a normal pregnancy the mother receives leave on full 
average pay for five weeks before and six weeks after 
delivery. This period is extended for two further weeks 
in the case of abnormal deliveries or the birth of twins etc.; 

d) pregnant women and nursing mothers may not be dismissed 
or transferred to a lower paid job, without their per¬ 
mission, from the third month of pregnancy until the end 
of the sixth week after delivery; 

e) overtime work and Sunday work is prohibited for pregnant 
women from the beginning of the fourth month of 
pregnancy, and for nursing mothers; 

f) the social insurance covers the entire cost of delivery; 

g) an extra coal ration is granted for each birth; 

h) a grant of 50 marks for baby clothes is given to the young 
mother; 

i) special rest homes are provided for pregnant women and 
the stay in these is free; 

k) every pregnant woman can participate in free practical 
and theoretical courses in child care and feeding. 

2. May pregnancy be interrupted? 

Since there is no unemployment in the German Democratic 
Republic and since every possible care is extended to the 
children this question can only be decided on the basis of the 
health of the woman and support for a rising birth rate. 
Interruption of pregnancy is thus only allowed when the 
health of the pregnant woman or her life would be seriously 
endangered. 

A decision in such cases is made by a medical commission 
under the chairmanship of the district doctor, consisting of a 


122 





woman’s specialist, other specialists if necessary, a social 
service worker representing the health services and a represent¬ 
ative of the district group of the Democratic Women’s League. 

3. Are there children’s allotments? 

Apart from the grant of 50 marks for each child, special 
allotments are paid for the third and each subsequent child. 
The allotments are: 

on the birth of the third child, a special grant of 
100 marks; 

on the birth of the fourth child, a special grant of 
250 marks; 

on the birth of each subsequent child, a special grant of 
500 marks. 

1 On the birth of the sixth child, the President of the Republic 
extends his patronage, upon application; the child receives a 
I savings book with a first payment of 100 marks and a com- 
! plete set of baby clothes. 

' Mothers with more than three children receive regular 
children’s allotments, amounting to 20 marks monthly for 
the fourth child and 25 marks monthly for each subsequent 
child. This allotment is paid until the child completes its 
' fourteenth year. 

4. Are children of unmarried mothers at a disadvantage? 

Article 33 of the Constitution of the German Democratic Re¬ 
public states: “Birth to unmarried parents may not be the 
cause of disadvantage either to the child or to his parents”. 
The birth of a child to an unmarried mother is no longer a 
i stain, and the unmarried mother has full parental rights. In 
1 order to help an unmarried mother to carry out her parental 
duties a “guardian” can be appointed to deal with all questions 
of parental care. The child has the same claim for support 
; upon the relatives of its parents as any other child has against 
the relatives of its father and mother. The child is heir of 
1 its mother and her relatives in the same way as any other 
child. If the child is not of age, or incapable of work upon 
the death of the father or the relatives of the father who 
are liable for support, it becomes the heir just like a 
legitimate child. 

5. Are mothers forced to place their children in a children’s 
home? 

Of course not. Article 31 of the Constitution of the German 
* Democratic Republic states: “The education of children to 


123 







mentally and physically fitted persons in the spirit of demo¬ 
cracy is the natural right of the parents and the supreme 
duty of the parents towards society.” 

(More details on home and school are given in the chapter 
“The Educational System in the German Democratic Re¬ 
public”). 


Women in the family 

1. Has the family been abolished in the German Democratic 
Republic? 

On the contrary. Article 30 of the Constitution states: 
“Marriage and family are the basis of social life. They are 
under the protection of the state.” 

Any form of propaganda for decadent developments like so- 
called “free love” common in the bourgeois-capitalist world 
is unconstitutional and therefore not permitted. The organi¬ 
sations of the youth and the women and all public institutions 
aim at achieving education of the young generation to moral 
cleanliness. All form of pornography in literature, the film 
and the theatre are prohibited. 


2. Does family law ensure equality of the woman in the 
family? 

Yes. In the German Democratic Republic all former laws and 
ordinances limiting equal rights between men and women 
in the family have been cancelled. 

All issues in the family must be settled by agreement between 
the husband and wife. Both partners have the right to study 
and follow a profession and to join a party or organisation. 
The husband no longer has any right to administer or use 
the property of his wife. Possession of property remains with 
the husband and wife respectively. Savings made during the 
marriage are available to both partners. 

The West German Constitution also lays down equal rights 
for the wife but the new version of a law covering these 
rights presented to the West German Parliament at the 
beginning of 1954 actually negates this right. This bill lays 
down formally that husband and wife have equal rights in 
all decisions but the law then states: 


124 


“. . . . if no agreement is reached then the husband must 
make the decision.” 




3. Who educates the children? 

This is the task of both husband and wife. The principles of 
humanity and care for the human being make it necessary 
to abolish the former idea of “parental force” over the 
children. The relationship between parents and children 
consists to-day of the duty of parental care. This consists of 
the right and the duty of the parents to look after their 
children and care for their health; to bring up the child as 
an independent citizen of a democratic state, aware of its 
responsibilities, a child that loves its homeland and is ready 
to struggle for peace; to ensure that the child receives pro¬ 
fessional training according to its abilities and to prepare it 
for a socially useful activity; to administer the property of 
the child in the best possible way and to act as the child’s 
i legale representative. 

The school system appeals to all parents to avoid the false 
and damaging educational method of corporal punishment. 

! 

4. Can you get a divorce? 

Yes. If there are serious reasons, which lead the Court to 
conclude after thorough investigation that the marriage has 
lost its sense for the couple, for the children and for society, 
the marriage can be dissolved. Every attempt is made to 
avoid arbitrary and superficial dissolution of marriages. 

5. What support money must be paid in the case of divorce? 

The idea of marriage as a means of support is disappearing 
in the German Democratic Republic as a result of the full 
equality extended to women. For this reason a judicial ruling 
! on the payment of support is only made if one partner to 
the marriage is completely or partially unable to earn his 
or her own living, or to live on reserves. This means that 
the question of guilt no longer plays a part in divorce 
! cases. 


Women and fashions 

1. How do women dress in the German Democratic Republic? 

In Berlin, Leipzig and all other cities of the German Demo¬ 
cratic Republic there are nationally owned and private fashion 
houses and salons which base their fashions upon fashion 
journals and experiences of such international centres as Paris, 
Prague, London and Moscow. 


125 






In the German Democratic Republic, as elsewhere, the wishes 
of the women determine the form taken by the fashions. 
It must be admitted that at present customers are often very 
critical of the fashions produced by nationally owned industry, 
and justified criticism in this respect is encouraged by the 
Government. 

Perlon products made in the German Democratic Republic, 
both stockings and lingerie, have received international 
recognition. 

The women of the German Democratic Republic do not, 
however, follow slavishly the extravagant fashions of Paris 
or New York. They wear at work and recreation the clothes 
which they feel suit them. 

2. What about cosmetics? 

The German Democratic Republic has a highly developed 
cosmetic industry and many modern cosmetic salons. 

Every woman has naturally the right to use those cosmetics 
which she likes. As everywhere in the world a well-groomed 
woman is more attractive than an untidy one. 


Women and sport 

What sports facilities are there for women? 

In the factory sports groups of the German Democratic Re¬ 
public about 230,000 women were actively organised in 1953, 
and in addition 80,000 girls were organised in youth sports 
groups. In 1954 the number rose to 300,000. 

25,537 women have won the sports badge and 42 women have 
been awarded the title “Master of Sport”. 


126 






Youth in the German Democratic Republic 


1. Is there unemployment among young people? 

On the contrary; in September 1953 it could be noted that the 
number of apprenticeships available in the new apprentice¬ 
ship year was far larger than the number of pupils leaving 
school, and this was even more apparent in 1954. In the 
years since the war, at least 90 per cent of all children leaving 
school have immediately been apprenticed. The remainder 
was made up of high school students, technical students and 
students studying at the workers’ and peasants’ faculties of 
the universities. Young people leaving elementary school with 
an uncompleted education are employed as young workers 
in the factories and they have the chance there to complete 
their education in faytory evening schools and other evening 
courses. 

2. What jobs are open to young people? 

All jobs and professions are open to young people in the 
German Democratic Republic. The “Law for the Promotion 
of Youth” lays down the legal measures guaranteeing help for 
young people and their promotion to responsible positions. 
Here are some examples: 

In the economy there were, in 1953, a total of 4500 young 
people working in leading positions as factory directors, 
foremen, department heads, and engineers. Amongst the 
573 young people in responsible positions in the chemical 
industry were one chief director, 14 works directors and 
60 responsible functionaries. 

1414 young people work as directors, technicians, agronomists 
and chief bookkeepers in MTS, nationally owned estates and 
agricultural production cooperatives. 

In the transport branch many more than onethousand young 
people are engine drivers, responsible engineers, and captains 
of ships. In retail trade many thousands of young people act as 
branch managers. 

6500 young men and women are headmasters and head¬ 
mistresses in schools. 

3. Can young people choose their profession themselves? 

Naturally. A free choice of profession is only possible in a 
country like the German Democratic Republic, where there 


127 






is no unemployment and all jobs are open to young people. 
During the last year of school the pupils visit factories and the 
factories organise lectures in the schools in order to interest 
the pupils in their particular trade. In addition, the government 
authorities for professional training are always ready to give 
advice. 

4. Can young people change their job? 

During the apprenticeship period the apprenticeship can be 
ended by mutual consent. 

The apprenticeship agreement can also be ended by the 
factory or by the apprentice himself, if a reasoned application 
has been made to the labour department of the district 
council. The labour department then gives its decision. If no 
agreement can be reached both partners have the right to 
appeal to the labour court. If the change of profession offers 
a greater chance of development for the young person con¬ 
cerned, this change receives governmental support. 

5. Is there some form of labour service? 

No, but young people regard it as an honour to play a leading 
part in all voluntary work done by the population, such as 
the clearance of rubble, marsh drainage etc. 

6. How is the training of apprentices organised? 

There is a centralised plan for apprentice training, drawn 
up by the State Secretariat for Professional Training on the 
basis of the capacity of the various factories and branches of 
industry, which are also being developed in accordance with 
plan. The training plans are made in cooperation with the 
various ministries concerned, the Chambers of Industry and 
Trade and the Craftsmen’s Chambers, and the various trade 
schools, training departments and apprentices homes are run 
in accordance with this plan. All large nationally owned 
factories have large apprentices workshops and technical 
schools, which give training combining both theoretical and 
practical instructions. 

In 1953 there were 3250 apprentice workshops with 28,000 
teachers, 782 factory training schools, 773 general technical 
and trade schools and 950 apprentice hostels. In 1954 the 
number had been considerably increased. 

In West Germany on the other hand there are only 1034 
apprentice workshop with 3170 teachers. There are 1,600,000 
young people unemployed, employed on emergency work, or 
waiting for apprenticeship. 


128 




One section of the Karl Marx Bookshop, Stalin Allee, Berlin 


The special shop of the Meissen State Porcelain Manufactory, 
Friedrich Strasse, Berlin 



.... 











Part of the restored Zwinger Palace, Dresden 


Facade of the Sport Hall, Stalin Allee, Berlin 




























Willi A. Kleinau, 
Holder of the National 
Prize, as Othello 


Wolfgang Langhoff, 
Holder of the National 
Prize, playing the lead 
in “Thomas Muenzer” 
by Friedrich Wolf 






The Thomaner Choir in the Thomas Church, Leipzig 



Part of the Thomaner Choir 


















Werner Peters, Holder of the National Prize, plays the lead 
in a film, version of “The Kaiser’s Lackey” by Heinrich 
Mann, produced in the German Democratic Republic 


Scene from the 
fairy tale film 
“Little Muck,” 
made in the 
German 
Democratic 
Republic 











Vila Donath-Jurewitz, 
holder of the world 
record for 400 metres 


Works sport in the 
nationally-owned 
Zeiss factory, Jena 

“Ulli” Nitschke (left), 
European amo.teur 
champion in the half¬ 
heavyweight class 

Football match 
between “Turbine” 
Erfurt and the Rio de 
Janeiro team 
Madureira Athletic in 
June 1954 









§ 'S 

I dl 

S e\j 

3 ! 

<a> > 

rfii , 
^ £ 

§ | 

s W 




Demonstration of peace-loving Berliners on the Marx Engels Platz 





The biggest factories in the German Democratic Republic 
maintain complete apprentice combines including training 
workshops, technical schools and hostels for apprentices. 
Agricultural training schools have been opened in country 
districts where there are machine and tractor stations, 
nationally owned estates or a number of production coopera¬ 
tives. 

There are also general trade schools in the countryside, giving 
instruction in trade, crafts and agricultural pursuits. 

Mining training schools are being further developed. These 
schools give a two-year theoretical course, and during the 
second year the apprentices get to know their future place 
of work. In the third year of apprenticeship they then do 
practical work at the coal face. These mining trade schools 
also run youth pits and have the usual hostels, sport installa¬ 
tions and cultural facilities. 

On the railways there are apprentice workshops in the rolling 
stock-yards, the repair yards, and so on, and non-technical 
trades are taught at special apprentice stations, apprentice 
ticket offices and so on. 

In retail trade apprentices are trained in special shops in 
which they do the work under the instruction of trained 
assistants. 

In the building industry the apprentices are organised in 
special groups which learn the basic rules of the trade at an 
apprentice building school. After four or six weeks these 
groups are allotted to special apprentice buildings and there 
complete their training in the course of productive work. 

In 1953 the Government of the German Democratic Republic 
devoted over 62 million marks for the construction and 
extension of installations for technical training. In 1954 
42.3 million marks in Government funds were allotted for 
textbooks for technical students and for special educational 
and domestic grants and hostels for the apprentices. 

416.9 million marks were allotted for instructional purposes 
in the factory, general, agricultural, trade and other technical 
schools and for postal and evening technical courses. 

In 1954 the State devotes 56 million marks for the construc¬ 
tion and extension of factory craft, agricultural, trade and 
general schools and for the building of apprentice hostels. 

7. How long does the apprenticeship last? 

The normal apprenticeship period is two or three years. 

In the following trades the apprenticeship period in nationally 
owned industry is two years: farming and market gardening, 


9 250 QUESTIONS 


129 





animal breeding, high sea fishing, bricklaying, concrete wor¬ 
ker, tiler, joiner, core moulder, centre lathe operator, milling 
cutter, planer, building locksmith, mechanic, flax and jute 
spinner, cotton and worsted yarn spinner, industrial tailor, 
baker, butcher, skilled salesman, sailor (inland shipping), 
waiter. 

In the following trades the apprenticeship period is two and 
a half years: coppersmith, boilermaker, pattern maker, motor 
mechanic, locomotive mechanic, fine mechanic, industrial 
watchmaker, skilled chemical worker, building carpenter, 
cabinet maker, technical draughtsman, confectioner, dental 
mechanic, assistant nurse, baby nurse. 

Here are some of the professions with a three year apprentice¬ 
ship period: miner (coal, lignite, copper, ore, potash and salt), 
foundry man, steel worker, sheet mill worker, tool maker, 
moulder, laboratory assistant, most trades in printing, women’s 
tailor, men’s tailor, shoemaker, sailor. 

8. What do apprentices earn? 

The wage rate of apprentices is raised every six months. 
Apprentices receive the following monthly wages: 


Branch 6-months-period Wage 


Coal, lignite, ore, potash .... 1. 93.— marks 

(pithead work) 2. 102.— „ 

3. 112.— 

4. 120.— 

5. 130.— 

6. 140.— 

Engineering . 1. 90.— 

2. 95.— 

3. 100.— 

4. 110.— 

5. 120.— 

6. 130.— 

Health services. 1. 60.— 

2. 72.— ,. 

3. 84.— 

4. 97.— 

5. 110.— .. 

Textiles, Leather. 1. 50.— 

2. 55.— 

3. 60.— 

4. 65.— 

5. 75.— 

6. 85.— 


130 








The apprentices, after they successfully concluded their 
training are given work in accordance with their qualification, 
and paid according to the job. 

9. Do young workers get lower wages? 

There is no difference between the wages paid to younger and 
older workers. Young workers, whether male or female, 
receive equal pay for equal work. 

10. What holidays do apprentices and young workers receive? 

| Young people up to the age of 16 receive holidays of 21 work- 
| ing days and those up to 18 receive 18 working days. In 
j various branches of industry involving physically heavy work 
or work dangerous to health (chemical industry, glass blowers, 
mining etc.) the young people receive additional holidays. 

11. Are there any special protective provisions for young 
workers? 

The “Decree on the Protection of Working Strength" lays down 
the special measures to be taken with regard to young 
workers, and the trade unions and the Free German Youth 
supervise the carrying out of this decree. 

Young people up to the age of 16 work only 7 hours daily 
and up to the age of 18 they work 7V2 hours daily. 

There is a special list of jobs on which young people may not 
be employed, just as there is a list of occupations in which 
women may not be employed. This list lays down 13 types 
of work forbidden for young people under 17 and 22 jobs 
prohibited for young people under 19. 

' Here for example are the mining jobs which are prohibited 
for young people: 

Young workers under 17 may not be employed down 
the pit. 

Young people under 19 may not be employed on the following 
! jobs: hoisting engineers on cages used for miners, hoisting 
bridge engineers, ventilation man, and other very responsible 
jobs (all these jobs may only be undertaken in a trainee 
capacity and with regard to the special conditions laid down 
in this respect). 

Completely banned is heavy work involving lifting, carrying 
and moving through muscular strength. Young people up to 
the age of 17 may not do such jobs involving weights of over 
10 kilogrammes and young people up to 19 such jobs involving 
weights over 15 kilogrammes. 


9’ 


131 






The factory directors or factory owners are obliged to provide 
medical inspection at the commencement of work and at fixed 
periods for all young workers. If the medical inspection shows 
danger to health in any case, then the young person concerned 
must be given other work in the same factory or must be 
apprenticed in a different job. 


Youth recreation 

1. Are there youth hostels in the German Democratic 
Republic? 

In 1953 there were 210 youth hostels and excursion huts and 
238 other hostels in the villages and towns of the German 
Democratic Republic, During 1954 a further 30 youth hostels 
were provided by the town and village authorities and 5 of the 
existing youth hostels were extended to serve as excursion 
centres. 

The state budget for 1954 provided 18 million marks to help 
run the existing youth homes and club rooms, youth hostels 
and to help cultural youth work. 

2. Are only members of the Free German Youth allowed to 
make excursions and use the youth hostels? 

No. All youth hostels and all other youth installations described 
in this chapter are available for all young people without 
exception. 

Youth hostels and similar installations are supported by the 
state budget. For this reason the charge for a bed is extremely 
low: 0.25 marks per night for children, school children, 
students and apprentices and 0.50 marks per night for all other 
excursionists. 

Special excursion homes set up by town and village councils 
are even cheaper. Here children, school children, students and 
apprentice's pay only 0.10 marks per night and all other 
excursionists 0.25 mark per night. 

On the railways excursion groups receive a 50 per cent reduc¬ 
tion for trips of up to 100 kilometres and a 75 per cent 
reduction for trips of over 101 kilometres. 

In 1954 the Government provided funds which enabled 75 per 
cent of all high school students to take part in excursions. 

Apprentices too receive help from the trade unions in making 
excursions. 


132 





In 1954 the Free German Trade Union movement, with the 
help of the Government, ran youth camps for 42,000 young 
people. 


3. Can excursionists go where they want? 

Naturally. Hikers and other excursionists can visit all parts of 
the Republic and use all the rivers, lakes etc. The young sports¬ 
men of the German Democratic Republic are doing all they 
can to ensure that the unnatural limitations provided by the 
zonal frontiers between East and West Germany should be 
abolished as soon as possible. (The question of sport for young 
people ist dealt with in the section “Sport”.) 

4. Are there youth clubs? 

There are 53 big youth club houses in the German Democratic- 
Republic equipped with meeting rooms, club rooms, table 
tennis rooms, libraries, chess, music and reading rooms, 
facilities for amateur dramatics, choirs and photographic 
circles, lantern lectures and dancing classes. 

In addition there were over 700 youth homes and nearly 
I 10,000 youth club rooms in 1953 and 2000 more were provided 
during 1954. These figures do not include the club houses, 
youth homes and youth club rooms of the big nationally 
owned factories. 

Most of these homes and club rooms are run and administered 
by the young people themselves and they provide regular 
lectures, discussions, book discussions, club evenings, amateur 
dramatics and folk dance groups, dances, table tennis tourna¬ 
ments and study groups for art, music etc. 

It is not necessary to be member of any organisation in order 
to take part in these activities and all activities are provided 
|; free of charge. 

5. Is modern dancing allowed? 

Naturally. Dance halls are generally very full and in those 
places where the old dance halls were destroyed in the war 
new ones are being built. 

The young workers of the German Democratic Republic show, 
however, little understanding for Americanised “Jam Sessions", 
“spivy” clothing and so on, and they themselves take steps 
to prevent any such activities in public places. Legal regula¬ 
tions in this respect are not necessary. 


133 




6. Are there books and newspapers for young people? 

There is a youth daily newspaper (“Junge Welt”, the central 
organ of the Free German Youth) and many other newspapers 
and magazines, specially provided for all young people and 
all interests. 

The students have the newspapers “Forum” and “Welt- 
studentennachriehten”. The youth movement has the magazine 
“Jiunge Generation”. For the Pioneer movement there is “Der 
junge Pionier” and “Der Pionierleiter”. School children have 
“Die Schulpost” and “ABC-Zeitung”. For those interested in 
amateur dramatics and folk art there is the magazine “Froh- 
lich sein und singen”. “Neues Leben” caters for youth clubs, 
“Landjugend” for the country youth, and “Wissenschaft und 
Fortschritt” and “Jugend und Technik” for young people 
interested in science and technology. 

Two publishing houses “Kinderbueh-Verlag” and “Neues 
Leben” provide children’s books and youth books, and the 
other publishers naturally also provide books interesting to 
young people. 


Youth and the State 

1. When can young people vote? 

All young people over the age of 18 can vote and over the 
age of 21 they can be elected to all state functions. 

From June 27th to 29th 1954 a plebiscite was held on the que¬ 
stion: “Are you in favour of a peace treaty and the with¬ 
drawal of the occupation troops, or in favour of EDC, the 
Bonn Treaty, and the retention of occupation troops for 50 
years?” Young people between the ages of 16 and 18 could 
also take part in this plebiscite. A total of 572,263 young people 
voted (98.3 per cent of those entitled to vote) and 550,704 of 
them (97.2 per cent of the valid votes) voted for a peace treaty. 
The young people who have the right to vote from the age of 
18 had a considerable share in the overwhelming success of 
the general elections held on October 17th 1954 in the Ger¬ 
man Democratic Republic and the great majority of the young 
voters gave their full support to the policy of the Government. 

2. Are there young people in the administration? 

There are very many young people in the administration. In 
1954 a total of 56 young people under the age of 25 were 
elected to the People's Chamber of the German Democratic 
Republic and there are about 8,000 young people in the elected 


134 



bodies of the counties, districts and municipalities. 35 per cent 
of all members of the state administration are young people 
and about 870 young people occupy leading positions. For 
example Rudi Wiesner became State Secretary for professional 
training at the age of 24. 22.4 per cent of the members of the 
county councils and 26.3 per cent of the members of the 
district councils are young people. 

1405 young people are acting as mayors. 

3. Why is there only one youth organisation in the German 
Democratic Republic? 

The Free German Youth accepts as members young people 
of all opinions, religions and occupations. In 1945, at the end 
of the war, the democratic parties and oi’ganisations refrained 
from establishing their own youth organisations. In doing this 
they showed that they had learned a lesson from the past 
history of the German youth movement in which the splinter¬ 
ing of the young generation had always had unhappy results. 
Only the unity of the youth movement can provide effective 
representation for the interests of the young people — the 
maintenance of peace, economic and political equal rights 
and the right to happiness. 

4. Is the Free German Youth a state organisation? 

No. The principles, aims and statutes of the Free German 
Youth are laid down by the “Parliament of the Free German 
Youth”, which is the democratically elected supreme body of 
the organisation. The leading organs at all levels are elected 
and not named or supervised by any state organisation. The 
Free German Youth has its own fraction in the People's Cham¬ 
ber of the German Democratic Republic. The Free German 
Youth has taken and is taking an active part in working out 
and carrying out the laws guaranteeing to the youth in the 
German Democratic Republic a social position and opportu¬ 
nities for development, which have never been known before 
in German history. 

5. Are religious young people persecuted? 

Of course not. A large proportion of the members and offi¬ 
cials of the Free German Youth belong to various religious 
bodies. Many young people, who belong to the “Young Con¬ 
gregation” — groups of young church members organised by 
the local pastors — are also active members of the Free Ger¬ 
man Youth. 


135 




6. Is there a crime wave amongst the youth in the German 
Democratic Republic? 

Youth crime has declined by 50 per cent since 1948 and is now 
well below the pre-war level. The explanation of this 1st that 
there is no youth unemployment in the German Democratic 
Republic and no pornographic and criminal literature and 
films. When in a few cases groups of young rowdies have 
appeared in some large towns and in the democratic sector of 
Berlin, it has been ascertained in almost all cases that they 
had been reading such literature smuggled in from West 
Germany or West Berlin or that they have been visiting West 
Berlin cinemas and doubtful dance halls. In West Germany 
on the other hand, youth crime rose between 1948 and 1951 by 
64 per cent and is to-day well above the pre-war figure. 

7. Are there special young people's courts? 

Yes. Legislation dealing with young people in the German 
Democratic Republic lays its main emphasis not upon punish¬ 
ment but upon education. The following educational measures 
are provided for: first a warning; second the laying down of 
special conditions; third family education with the laying down 
of special conditions; fourth probation and fifth special hostels. 
These measures of education can be laid down in the sentence 
passed by the youth courts and can be continued until the 
completion of the 20th year of age. 

The special hostels for young people who have offended 
against the law have workshops which provide the young 
people with the chance of learning a proper trade. 

Prison sentences are only passed against young people who 
have committed a serious offence. The minimum sentence in 
such cases is three months and the maximum sentence is ten 
years. 

The Ministry of Justice arranges frequent discussion evenings 
in factories and schools at which leading lawyers explain the 
laws to the young people and thus help to prevent youth 
crime. 


136 






Schools in the German Democratic Republic 


I. Elementary and high schools 

1. What does school cost? 

Elementary schooling is free for all children. 25 per cent of the 
children receive their schoolbooks free as their property and 
another 50 per cent of the children receive an average of hall 
the books free. In addition every school provides free from its 
library the literary books to be read in class. More than three 
quarters of the high school students, including the children 
of workers and small and middle peasants, together with 
orphans, have no school fees to pay. These children also receive 
all their books free and in addition stipends of up to fiO marks 
monthly. 

The 10,000 schools of the German Democratic Republic own 
more than 12,000 radios. Eyery second school has a film pro¬ 
jector and every fifth school a wire recording apparatus. 

In 1954 the State provided 849,667,000 marks for the general 
school system. The expenditure per elementary pupil amounted 
to 334 marks and per high school pupil to 1,208 marks an¬ 
nually. The average expenditure per elementary pupil in West 
Germany was about 170 marks. In Bavaria the Bavarian 
government expended 200 marks per elementary pupil and 
630 marks per high school pupil. In North-Rhine-Westphalia, 
also in West Germany, the budget provides for an expenditure 
of 0.48 marks daily on each pupil; the same budget provides 
1.60 marks daily for looking after each police dog. 

Since 1945 the nationally owned publishing house “Volk und 
Wissen” has produced 125 million school books. 

In 1953 the following books were provided: 

for elementary schools. 15,228,000 school books 

for high schools. 3,316,000 school books 

for trade schools. 1,717,000 school books 

2. How is the school system organised? 

In the German Democratic Republic the educational system 
is planned from the nursery school to the university. Pupils 
are selected for high schools and universities not on the basis 
of the ability of their parents to pay but on the capabilities of 
the pupil. The children of workers and peasants receive spe- 


137 








cial support. This support does not react unfavourably on the 
children of the middle classes, however. As a result of the in¬ 
crease in the size of the high schools more middle class child¬ 
ren are able to attend high school to-day than ever before in 
Germany history. All schools in the Republic up to and in¬ 
cluding the university are open to all children in accordance 
with their capabilities. 

The democratic school system is organised as follows, 
children aged 3 to 6: nursery school (voluntary) 

„ „ 6 to 14: elementary school (compulsory) 

„ „ 14 to 17: trade school (compulsory) or, 

„ „ 14 to 18: high school (voluntary). 

After the pupil has completed his education at the trade sdiool 
or high school he can go on to training school or university. 

3. What pre-school facilities are provided? 

Large numbers of nursery schools are available for children 
betweeen the ages of 3 and 6. All large nationally owned fac¬ 
tories have their own nursery schools which care for the child¬ 
ren of working mothers. Special harvest nursey schools are 
provided in the villages at those times of year when there is 
particularly much to be done in the fields. The state nursery 
schools not only look after the children but also provide for 
their education. Trained teachers prepare the children for 
their later schooling. The nursery schools are well provided 
with toys, educational toys and games equipment. 

The development of pre-school care in the German Democratic 
Republic can be seen from the following statistics: 

in 1947 there were 1943 nursery schools with 100,831 
children 

in 1953 there were 6810 nursery schools with 313,377 
children. 

In 1953 the State provided 98,120,000 marks for nursery schools 
and weekly homes for children. 

In 1954 the State provided 166,600,000 marks for nursery 
schools, harvest nursery schools, factory nursery schools and 
weekly homes for children. 

A further 114,000,000 marks were provided for accomodating 
children in children's homes and for general youth assistance. 
54 million marks have been provided for extending the gene¬ 
ral school system and pre-school installations and children's 
homes. 

Attendance at nursery schools is completely voluntary. 


138 



4. How many pupils attend high schools? 

In 1946 there were 75,000 high school pupils; in 1953 the figure 
had risen to 124,000. More than 20 per cent of the elementary 
pupils go on to high school, compared to only 5 per cent in the 
pre-Hitler Weimar Republic. In 1954 in the German Demo¬ 
cratic Republic more than every 5th pupil from the final class 
of elementary school went on to high school. In West Germany 
this chance was only given to every 20th pupil. In the German 
Democratic Republic, with its 18 million inhabitants, about 
20,000 children matriculated in 1953. In West Germany, with 
44 million inhabitants, only 29,000 children matriculated. 
Between 1946 and 1953 the number of high schools in the Ger¬ 
man Democratic Republic increased from 327 to 618. 

Pupils' hostels are provided by all the larger high schools. 
The percentage of the children of workers and peasants atten¬ 
ding high school rose from 19 per cent in 1945 to 47 per cent 
in 1953. In West Germany on the other hand only 4 or 5 per 
cent of the high school pupils are the children of workers and 
peasants. The high schools provide children, according to their 
capabilities, with either a mathematical-scientific education, 
modern languages, or classical languages. The foreign lan¬ 
guages taught are Russian, English, French, Latin and Greek 
and in some schools Czech and Polish. 

5. Can apprentices and young workers matriculate? 

Talented apprentices and young workers who wish to study 
at the university have the chance of reaching matriculation 
level at the Workers' and Peasants' Faculties attached to the 
universities. 

In addition, apprentices and young workers have the oppor¬ 
tunity of attending trade schools. In 1953, about 49,000 pupils 
were attending trade schools, 64 per cent of them were child¬ 
ren of workers and peasants. More than 45,000 pupils, over 
90 per cent of the total, received stipends. 

6. Are there enough class rooms? 

The State budget provides many millions of marks every year 
for school buildings. Many schools were destroyed during the 
war, particularly in the towns, but the worst damage has 
already been overcome. In addition, many improvements have 
been made. The new schools contain not only the usual class 
rooms and teachers' rooms but also specialised instruction 
rooms, dining rooms, shower baths, club rooms and cloak 
rooms. New gymnasiums are being built every year as part 
of a special programme. 


139 




In 1946 an average of 42.1 pupils were being educated in one 
class, but to-day this figure has been reduced to less than 29 
pupils per class in the elementary schools and 26 in the high 
schools. 

In West Germany the average size of classes is 43 pupils. In 
the province of Schleswig Holstein there are still many classes 
of between 60 and 70 children. 


7. Have country schools been improved? 

Schools in the country side have been improved out of all 
comparison. In olden days one-class elementary schools were 
provided in villages, a typical sign of the neglect of the country 
population. In the pre-1914 Reichstag the big landowner Herr 
Oldenburg-Janus chau declared once: “They learn enough for 
pulling turnips.” 

In 1945 there were still 4114 one-class elementary schools. 
By 1954 the number of such schools had been reduced to 98 
by the provision of modern multi-class central schools for a 
group of villages. Only 0.1 per cent of the entire number of 
pupils now attend one-class schools. The number of such 
schools has decreased from about 40 per cent of all schools to 
less than 1 per cent. 

To improve the teadiing in the remaining country schools 
which have not been centralised, the number of pupils per 
teacher has been fixed at 25. In cases where there are more 
than 25 pupils a second teacher is employed. The curriculum 
of the country schools is to-day the same as that of the town 
schools. In many country-centres high schools have been esta¬ 
blished. 

In 1926 13 per cent of all children in Prussia attended one- 
class country schools and in 1951 West Germany had no fewer 
than 5552 such schools. This number is still rising, partly as the 
result of the splitting of the school system according to reli¬ 
gion, and in one year the number of one-class schools in West 
Germany increased by 308. 20 per cent of all West German 
schools are to-day one class-schools. 


8. Arc there enough teachers? 

The number of teachers in the general school system is steadily 
increasing. In 1946 there were 63,707 teachers and in 1954 there 
were 78,800 teachers. In 1948 there was only an average of 
0.92 teachers for each class in the general school system, but 
by 1953 this average had risen to 1.16 teachers per class. 


140 





9. Can teachers use corporal punishment? 

No. Corporal punishment for school children of all ages is 
strictly prohibited, since it is contrary to the educational prin¬ 
ciples of the democratic school. The aim of the democratic 
school system is to produce self-confident and free citizens, not 
obedient lackeys. The schools appeal to the parents to refrain 
from every form of corporal punishment. 

10. Have the parents any influence on the school education of 
their children? 

It is impossible to attain a healthy mental and moral education 
for children without comradely cooperation between the pa¬ 
rents and the school. This cooperation takes the following 
forms in the German Democratic Republic: 

E l. Parents' committees, which support the activities of 
the teachers and the schools. The parents' committees 
are elected at general meetings of all parents. The 
representative of the parents' committee, together with 
the teachers, constitutes the pedagogical council of the 
school. 

2. The parents' discussion group, which meets monthly 
to consider modern teaching methods. These groups 
are arranged by the Democratic Womens' League. 

3. The parents' class meetings in which the parents discuss 
with the class teacher the work and development of 
their children. At longer intervals there are parents' 
meetings for the parents of all pupils in the school. 

In addition the teachers, in order to improve their 
educational work, visit the parents in their homes to 
see the conditions in which the children live. 

11. Must school children be members of the “Young Pioneers”? 

The Young Pioneers organisation is purely voluntary. At 
present about 60 per cent of the pupils between the ages of 
6 and 14 are members of the Young Pioneers. Children who 
do not belong to the organisation are not put at any dis¬ 
advantage. More and more children are joining the Young 
Pioneer organisation because they find that it helps them to 
learn and gives them fine opportunities for sport and play. 

12. Are children's special talents encouraged? 

Naturally. In the school all children receive the same broad 
general education. They can follow their special interests and 
develop their talents in study groups outside school hours. In 


141 






1953 there were 33,404 study groups in the schools of the Ger¬ 
man Democratic Republic, including groups for model buil¬ 
ding, artistic handicrafts, photography, technology, agro¬ 
biology, literature, music, folk dancing, amateur dramatics, 
shorthand and many others. 

In 1954 the number of such groups had risen to 34,600 and 
more than 600,000 pupils were taking part. In addition, there 
are sports groups for all the different sports, 84 pioneer palaces 
and pioneer houses, 197 clubs for young technicians, 22 clubs 
for young naturalists and 40 clubs for young tourists. 

These circles and clubs are led by experienced teachers or 
by specialists who are paid for their work. All such clubs are 
voluntary and may be attended whether or not the pupil is 
a member of the Young Pioneers. 

In 1954 the Government provided 77 million marks for the 
work of the Pioneer Houses, the young technicians, the young 
naturalists, the young tourists, and the other groups for work 
and sport. 

13. Is religious instruction given? 

The right to religious instruction is guaranteed by the Con¬ 
stitution. The teachers for this instruction are provided by the 
church and rooms for this instruction are provided by the 
school. The parents decide whether or not the child should 
have religious instruction. 

14. What recreation possibilities do the children have? 

Children who are sick or ailing are sent away for free cures 
by the social insurance system. In the school holidays all 
children have the chance of attending holiday camps, holiday 
games and holiday tours. Children from the big industrial 
centres receive preference in the camps on the Baltic Coast or 
in the mountains. Participation in the holidayp camps, games 
and tours, is voluntary for all children. 

In 1953, 91 per cent of all school pupils took part in the holiday 
campaign which was organised under the title “Happy Holi¬ 
days for all Children”. 

In 1954 80,000 children visited central pioneer camps and 
750,000 children went on tours and excursions. In addition 
20,000 children from West Germany spent their holidays in 
camps in the German Democratic Republic in 1954. 

The Government provides between 25 million and 28 million 
marks yearly for children's holidays. In West Germany almost 
no money is provided by the Government for this purpose. 


142 




In the Pioneer Republic “Wilhelm Pieck” on the Werbellin 
lake new buildings were put up in 1954 with accomodation 
for 240 children, making it possible for 1120 children to spend 
their holidays there at one time. 


II. Universities 

1. Who can study in the German Democratic Republic? 

Every talented young person with the necessary basic edu¬ 
cation can study at the university. The children of workers 
and peasants attend the Workers* and Peasants' Faculty in 
order to reach university standard and matriculate. A total of 
85,000 students were studying at the universities and other 
institutes of higher education in the German Democratic Re¬ 
public in 1954/55. 

It is naturally not necessary to be member of a party or a 
youth organisation in order to be admitted to the university. 

2. How many universities are there? 

In summer 1958 there were six universities and seventeen 
other higher educational institutes in the German Democratic 
Republic. By the beginning of the study year 1954/55, four¬ 
teen new institutes including three medical academies had 
been opened, including: 

Institute for heavy engineering, Magdeburg, 

Institute for engineering, Karl Marx Stadt, 

Institute for electro-technology, Ilmenau. 

In addition, nine other institutes of the same character have 
begun instruction, including: 

Institute for agronomy, Neugattersleben, 

Institute for zoological technology, Giistrow/Schabernack, 
Six institutes for pedagogics. 

66 million marks were provided in 1954 for the further deve¬ 
lopment of the six universities and the Dresden technical 
college. This money will be used to provide the following 
additional places: 

2500 places for resident students, 

2570 places in lecture rooms, 

2060 study places, 

260 dwellings for agricultural practitioners. 

A large part of these places have already been provided. 


143 






3. Can all subjects be studied in the German Democratic Re¬ 
public? 

All branches of science and knowledge may be studied in the 
Gorman Democratic Republic. 

The following subjects are taught: 

Mathematics and Natural Sciences 

Mathematics, astronomy, physics, chemistry, pharmacology, 
biology, meteorology, geophysics, geography, geology, minera¬ 
logy, metallurgies etc. 

Technical Sciences 

Mining and smelting, engineering, electro-technology, fine 
mechanics/optics, shipbuilding, transport, building, surveying, 
engineering economics etc. 

Agricultural and Forestry Science / Veterenary Medicine 
Agricultural science, nursery gardening, brewing, distilling, 
sugar technology, fishing, forestry, veterinary medicine etc. 

Medicine 

Social hygiene, surgery, internal medicine, dermatology, 
gynecology, children's medicine, jaw surgery, jaw orthopedics 
etc. 

Economics and Law 

Plan economy, industrial economy, labour economy and 
trade economy, international law, criminal law, civil law and 
economic law etc. 

Philosophy, Languanges, History and Arts 
Philosophy, psychology, Germanistics, Anglistics/America- 
nistics, Slavistics, Romanistics, classical philology, oriental 
studies, Indology, Finnish-TJgrian philology, history, ethnology, 
classical archeology, history of art, musical science etc. 

Theology 

Church history, Old and New Testament theology, Christian 
archeology and church art etc. (This answers the questions as 
to whether it is possible to study theology in the German 
Democratic Republic. All universities have a theological fa¬ 
culty.) 

Graphic and Applied Art, Dramatics and Music 
Painting, graphic art, sculpture, industrial art, interior deco¬ 
rating, theatrical art etc. 

Dramaturgies, theater direction, criticism, acting, film art, 
ballet dancing etc. 


144 






Composition, musical theory, musical direction, church music, 
school music, folk music, acoustics, singing and instrumental 
music etc. 

Physical training and Sport 

Theory and practice of physical training, anatomy/physiology, 
development physiology etc. 

Football, hand ball, rowing, light athletics, fencing etc. 
Pedagogics 

Pedagogic system, teaching methods, music and art teaching, 
training of specialised teachers, specialist pedagogics for 
blind, deaf and dumb etc. 

4. What does it cost to study? 

In the German Democratic Republic no student needs to work 
his way through university by beating carpets and private 
tutoring. The stipend holders pay no study fees. 

5. Who receives stipends 

Every university and institute of higher learning has a stipend 
commission which selects those who should receive stipends. 
The stipend is fixed at a figure which makes successful stu¬ 
dies possible. 

Two special stipends, the Wihlelm Pieck stipend of 300 marks 
monthly, and the Karl Marx stipend of 450 marks monthly, 
have been created by the Government of the German Demo¬ 
cratic Republic for students who do outstanding work, parti¬ 
cularly in applying the most modern scientific methods in 
their studies. 

In case of sickness the student receives his full stipend for a 
period of 13 weeks. All students are fully insured under the 
social insurance system. 

In 1953 a total of 120 million marks were distributed in the 
form of stipends to students at the universities and institutes 
of higher learning. In 1954, as a result of the steadily increasing 
study successes, this sum was raised to 147 million marks. 

For each student the following sums were spent by the state: 
1951: 4125 marks 
1952: 5229 marks 
1953: 6200 marks 

In West Germany 1776 marks was spent on each student in 
1951 and 1800 marks in 1952. 


10 250 QUESTIONS 


145 





6. How do the students live? 

There is residential accomodation for about 15,000 university 
students. Additional modern student hostels are being built 
near to the universities and institutes and a large number of 
new places were provided in the first half of 1954. Students 
pay 10 marks monthly, if they have a room to themselves 
and 6 marks if they share a room. 

7. It is possible to study abroad? 

Students from the German Democratic Republic are studying 
in Moscow, Leningrad, Peking, Warsaw, Prague and other 
universities in the People's Democracies. The students attend 
these universities on the basis of agreements concluded be¬ 
tween the educational authorities of the German Democratic 
Republic, the Soviet Union and the People's Democracies. 

All requests from the German Democratic Republic for a 
further extension of the exchange of students have been taken 
into account and the number of students studying abroad is 
steadily rising. 

8. What are the chances of obtaining work after graduation? 

In the German Democratic Republic there is not, as in West 
Germany, a difficulty in obtaining positions for graduates. The 
difficulty is in meeting the request for graduates from in¬ 
dustry, agriculture and the scientific and cultural institutions. 

9. What do young graduates earn? 

A young scientific assistant receives a basic starting salary 
of 650 marks in the German Democratic Republic. In West 
Germany a young scientific graduate thinks himself lucky if 
he can earn 80 or a 100 marks. 

A special measure never before taken in Germany is the 
creation of the post of “scientific aspirant” in the universities 
and institutes of the German Democratic Republic. This is 
intended as a step towards the systematic preparation of 
young scientists for a university career. This is divided into 
two steps: for three years for candidates for a doctor's degree, 
who receive a basic stipend of 450 marks (in Berlin 500 marks) 
and for three or four years for lecturers, who receive a basic 
stipend of 500 marks (in Berlin 550 marks). 

In addition young graduates can become aspirants apart from 
their work as assistants, or other work. These aspirants too 
receive special concessions. 


146 





Science and art in the German Democratic Republic 


I. Science 

1. Do scientists have fredom to carry on research in the 
German Democratic Republic? 

Every scientist has the right to carry on research in his spe¬ 
cial field and receives generous assistance from the state 
budget in his research. The relationship between scientists in 
East and in West Germany has in very many cases provided 
the foundation for the themes of research undertaken. The 
commission for religious history in the late classical period 
has received the recognition of West German experts for its 
research in this field. Other research work which is based on 
inspirations of the past is the work on Grimms’s Dictionary; 
a dictionary of medieval la tin; the Monumenta Germaniae 
Historica; the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae; the Corpus In- 
scriptionum Latinarum; and the Annual Reports on German 
History. 

2. Are scientists strictly supervised? 

Naturally not. The stories about the strict supervision over 
scientists form part of the stupid lying campaign carried on 
in Western countries by enemies of the German Democratic 
Republic. The best proof of the fact that scientists are neither 
supervised nor hindered in their work by the state or the 
occupation authorities is that scientists, who had moved to 
West Germany under the influence of Western propaganda, 
have since applied to be allowed to return to the German De¬ 
mocratic Republic to continue their work here. 

An increasing number of scientists travel regularly from the 
German Democratic Republic to conferences in West Ger¬ 
many and Western countries and very many scientists from 
West Germany have visited the German Democratic Republic, 
both to attend conferences and to consult with their colleagues 
here. The presence of scientists from the German Democratic 
Republic at West German conferences show the falsity of sto¬ 
ries about “restrictions”. 

3. Is Soviet science “imposed” upon scientists in the 
German Democratic Republic? 

No. Scientists in the German Democratic Republic are not in 
any way forced to copy the methods of Soviet Science. Many 


JO* 


147 





scientists of international renown are carrying on their 
researches in their fields with methods very different from 
those used in the Soviet Union. Examples can be quoted in 
the fields of Genetics, Pre-History and Early History and 
others. The older generation of scientists pass on their expe¬ 
riences to the younger generation and there is no state in¬ 
fluence upon this in either teaching or research. Many scien¬ 
tists are, however, naturally very interested in learning from 
the methods of Soviet scientists and applying these lessons in 
their own fields. They do this to the extent which they 
themselves consider proper and without any attempt by the 
state to lay down what they should do. 

4. Can scientists obtain literature from West Germany and 
Western countries? 

Yes. The German Academy of Science for instance has 
received from the Government a grant of 380,000 marks in 
foreign currency for this purpose and other institutions and. 
industrial undertakings also received large allotments of 
West German or foreign currency. Very large sums amounting 
to millions of marks have been made available for these pur¬ 
poses and the allotments are rising considerably from year 
to year. 

5. Is historical research the reserve of members of the 
Socialist Unity party? 

Historical research may naturally be undertaken by scientists 
who do not belong to this party. Here are the namens of 
some historians in this category: 

Professor Unverzagt, member of the Academy of Sciences, 
(pre-history and early history), 

Professor Hohl, member of the Academy of Sciences, (classical 
history), 

Professor Hartmann, member of the Academy of Sciences, 
(orientalist), 

Professor Grapow, member of the Academy of Sciences, 
(egyptologist). 

6. Can scientists from the German Democratic Republic 
travel abroad? 

Yes. An expedition organised by Professor Hoffmeister, astro¬ 
nomer and member of the Academy of Sciences, recently 
visited South-West Africa. Another expedition was sent to 


148 




Sweden in June 1954 lo observe the eclipse of the sun. In the 
course of 1954 another group of scientists visited the Sahara 
to carry out geological studies and other scientists have atten¬ 
ded conferences and congresses im Switzerland, Denmark, 
France, Holland and other countries. 

7. How big are teachers’ salaries? 

In the German Democratic Republic teachers’ salaries have so 
far been raised three times. The monthly starting salary of a 
young teacher in a senior class is 405 marks and naturally men 
and women teachers receive the same pay. Supplements are 
paid for special work such as teaching in combined classes, 
the supervision of study groups and work in several schools. 
Wage tax is in any case low but teachers receive a special tax 
allowance to enable them to buy books, which are also very 
cheap. Special pensions have been established for retired 
teachers and teachers unable to carry on their profession. 
Male teachers over 65 and female teachers over 60 receive 
a special pension amounting to between 60 and 80 per cent 
of their former salary. If they remain at work after this age, 
they receive their normal old age pension, their teachers’ 
pension and their normal salary. 

The following table shows the way in which teachers’ salaries 
have been increased: 



monthly salary 
before 1945 
marks 

monthly salary 
before January 
1953 marks 

Monthly 

salary 

today 

Elementary school 
teacher, single . . . . 

270.34 

392.17 

415.— 

Elementary school 
teacher, married 2 chil¬ 
dren . 

439.34 

581.— 

595.— 

Elementary school 
teacher, married, high 
seniority. 

482.67 

681.67 

695.— 

High school teacher, mar¬ 
ried . 

656.67 

656.67 

730.- - 

Teacher in teachers’ trai¬ 
ning college, married . . 

_ 

715.— 

825.— 


(The salaries vary according to years of seniority and the 
examples given above are typical average cases.) 

It must be emphasized that a broadly based system of supp¬ 
lements means that many teachers, particularly teachers in 
country schools, receive considerably higher net salaries. 


149 










8. What salaries do doctors receive? 

The salaries for doctors, dentists, pharmacists and other 
skilled workers in the state medical system are classed in 
12 salary groups. The salaries paid were raised by ministerial 
order on August 6th 1953 and are at present as follows: 


Salary 

group 

I (section 1) . . . 

... 620 

to 

685 

marks 

Salary 

group 

I (section 2) . . . 

... 686 

to 

805 

marks 

Salary 

group 

II. 

... 810 

to 

870 

marks 

Salary 

group 

Ill . 

... 875 

to 

940 

marks 

Salary 

group 

IV . 

... 950 

to 

1015 

marks 

Salary 

group 

V. 

. . . 1025 

to 

1090 

marks 

Salary 

group 

VI . 

. . . 1110 

to 

1175 

marks 

Salary 

group 

VII. 

. . . 1190 

to 

1260 

marks 

Salary 

group 

VIII. 

. . . 1280 

to 

1360 

marks 

Salary 

group 

IX . 

. . . 1380 

to 

1470 

marks 

Salary 

group 

X. 

. . . 1490 

to 

1570 

marks 

Salary 

group 

XI. 

. . . 1590 

to 

1670 

marks 

Salary 

group 

XII. 

. . . 1690 

to 

1790 

marks 


For reasons of space it is not possible to define the jobs done 
by doctors falling into the various categories. Here however 
are examples of the lowest and the highest category. 

Salary group I section 1: 620 to 685 marks 

Doctors in the first year of their work after taking their degree 

(internes); 

dentists in the first year of their work after taking their 
degree; 

candidate pharmacists. 

Salary group XII: 1690 to 1790 marks 
Head of the Health Section of a county council; 

Director of spas with more than 1000 beds, directors of sana¬ 
toria, tuberculosis sanatoria etc. with more than 1300 beds; 
medical director of Bad Elster state-spa; 

Directors of medical research institutes of the Health Ministry 
in Berlin; 

Director of the German Hygiene Museum. 

Specialist doctors with special qualifications receive salaries, 
which in many cases are far higher than those detailed above, 
under the terms of individual contracts. 

9. Can a doctor have a private practice? 

Apart from the doctors working in the State Health Service 
there are also doctors with private practices. The great majo¬ 
rity of such doctors do some work in addition for the state 
health services. 


150 
















II. Graphic Arts 

I. Arc art works which were destroyed in the war being 
restored? 

The devastating American air-raid on February 13th 1945 
destroyed many cultural monuments in Dresden, including the 
Hofkirche, the Gallery and the Zwinger-Palace. The Zwinger- 
Palace was 70 per cent destroyed in this raid. The. work of 
restoration began in 1945 and within the next two years the 
restoration will be completed. 

The Government of the German Democratic Republic is very 
concerned about the restoration of all cultural monuments in 
so far as this can be undertaken. Here are some of these 
monuments which have already been restored or upon which 
work is being done: 

1. St. Hedwigs Church, Berlin. 80 per cent destroyed. 
Restoration almost completed. 

2. State Opera Unter den Linden, Berlin. 70 per cent 
destroyed. The restoi*ation and extension of this building 
will be completed in 1955. 

3. Zeughaus Unter den Linden, Berlin. 70 per cent destroyed. 
Restoration in progress since 1948. Will be completed in 
two years. 

4. Schinkel Building Academy, Berlin. 50 per cent destroyed. 
Restoration work under way since 1952. 

5. Catholic church (former Hofkirche), Dresden. 40 per cent 
destroyed. Restoration nearly completed. 

6. Halberstadt Cathedral. 30 per cent destroyed. Restoration 
work under way since 1946. 

7. Magdeburg Cathedral. 30 per cent destroyed. Restoration 
work since 1950, almost completed. 

8. Stendal Cathedral. Restoration completed 1952. 

9. Jiacobi Church, Stralsund. 60 per cent destroyed. Resto¬ 
ration work since 1952. 

10. Goethe House, Weimar. 30 per cent destroyed. Restored 
1949. 

II. Schiller House, Weimar. 30 per cent destroyed. Restored 
in 1946 with Soviet help. 

12. Herder Church, Weimar. 60 per cent destroyed. Restored 
in 1952. Thomas Mann contributed the Goethe-Prize, 
awarded him by the Government of the German Demo¬ 
cratic Republic for the restoration work. 

13. Wartburg Castle, Eisenach. Declared a national monu¬ 
ment. The deterioration caused by neglect since the 


151 



thirties of this century has been removed. Work has now 
begun on the removal of unscientific restoration work 
done in 1850. Date for the completion of the restoration 
not yet fixed. 

14. Cathedral Chapter Quedlinburg. War damage caused by 
American artillery after the Nazi capitulation has been 
repaired and unscientific restoration work done about 1900 
and during the Nazi period has been removed. Work 
completed in 1953. 

15. Barlach Memorial, Gustrow. Restoration completed in 1953. 

2. What do artists live on? 

Artists earn their living mainly from commissions given 
them by the State and. the large organisations. They help 
to decorate and furnish public buildings, palaces of culture, 
cultural clubs, theatres and so on. It is laid down by law 
that between IV 2 and 2 per cent of all building investments 
should be devoted to artistic decoration. 

The building of the Stalin Allee in Berlin has so far cost about 
150 million marks. 2 per cent of this sum, that is to say 
3 million marks has been used for artistic decoration by 
painters, sculptors, wrought iron workers and so on. 

Artists are naturally at liberty to sell their works to private 
buyers as well as to the State and social organisations. 

3. Why are no abstract paintings to be seen in the German 
Democratic Republic? 

Such pictures are not in any demand since the parasitic 
section of the population interested in such “works of art” 
no longer exists here. 

4. Are paintings of nudes banned? 

Naturally not. At the exhibition “Artists for Peace”, held in 
Berlin in 1952, a female nude was exhibited by Professor 
Fritz Cremer, member of the Academy of Arts. Classical 
nudes decorate the front of the German Sport Hall in the 
Stalin Allee in Berlin. Nudes in painting and sculpture may 
be seen at many exhibitions, but these nudes are human and 
beautiful, not distasteful. 


III. Theatres and music 

1. Are only Soviet plays performed? 

No. The majority of plays performed are German. The 
allegation that only Soviet plays and Russian plays can be seen 


152 



in the German Democratic Republic is one of the silly lies 
spread by enemies of the German Democratic Republic. Here 
are figures for the plays, operas and so on, performed in the 
theatrical season 1953/54: 

Plays: 102 German plays, 43 Russian and Soviet plays, 
21 plays from the British Isles, 15 French, 6 Spanish, 6 Italian, 

5 Czechoslovak, 5 American and 4 Austrian. Plays from 
Poland, Hungary, Rumania, Holland, Greece, Norway and 
Australia were also performed. 

Operas. 52 German, 28 Italian, 8 Russian and Soviet, 7 Czecho¬ 
slovak, 5 French, and operas from Poland, Holland, Hungary 
and Britain. 

Operettas: 32 German, 22 Austrian, 9 Hungarian, 7 French, 

6 Russian and Soviet, and operettas from Switzerland and 
Czechoslovakia. 

2. Are certain classical plays like Schiller’s “Wilhelm Tell” 
and “Don Carlos” banned in the German Democratic 
Republic? 

On the contrary. This is another stupid lie. In the theatre 
season 1952/53 the play “Wilhelm Tell” was performed 
163 times, in the theatres at Wismar, Potsdam, Weimar, 
Bautzen, the Saxon theatres, Karl-Marx-Stadt, Plauen and 
in the Deutsches Theater in Berlin. The restored Volksbuhne 
Theatre in Berlin was opened in 1954 with a performance of 
“Wilhelm Tell”. Schiller’s “Don Carlos” is also performed 
very frequently and the performance in the Deutsches Theater 
in Berlin with the actor Horst Drinda in the title role was a 
great success. 

3. Who fixes the theatre programmes? 

This is done by the theatre director together with the 
audiences. Representatives of the mass organisations, parti¬ 
cularly the trade unions, and also audience comittees advise 
the theatre directors on the sort of plays they would like to 
see performed. There is no sort of centralised control of 
theatre programmes. 

4. What sort of plays are not performed in the German 
Democratic Republic? 

Plays which offend against good morals, which picture war 
as unavoidable or which preach national or racial hatred are 
not performed in the theatres of the German Democratic 
Republic. 


153 




5. Who can go to the theatre? Can tickets only be obtained 
through organisations? 

Theatre tickets are of course sold freely to all comers. Tn 
addition there are special arrangements for providing theatre 
tickets at cheap prices through trade unions and other orga¬ 
nisations. 

6. May religious music be performed in the German 
Democratic Republic? 

Religious music and church music is fostered both by the 
lay authorities and by the ecclesiastical authorities. The 
religous music of such composers as Handel, Schiitz, Bach, 
Buxtehude, Pepping an others is an important part of the 
German cultural heritage and is much performed in the 
German Democratic Republic. 

Here are a few examples of notable performances of church 
music in the past few years: 

The Handel Festival 1952/53/54 in Halle; 

The Bach Festival in 1952/53 in Leipzig; 

The Bach Week in Greifswald; 

The Silbermann Celebrations arranged by the Saxon- 
Lutheran Church in Freiberg, June 1953; 

The Church Music Festival in Gorlitz from May 2nd to 
May 10th 1953; 

Christmas Music by Schiitz in the Afra Church, Meissen; 
Concerts by the Dresden Kreuz-Choir, directed by Pro¬ 
fessor Rudolf Mauersberger, in the Karl-Marx-Stadt- 
district, July 1953; 

The 30th German Bach Festival of the New Bach Society 
from July 3rd to July 6th 1954 in Leipzig under the leader¬ 
ship of Professor Gunther Ramin; 

Sung Service on July 5th 1953 in the Lutheran Church at 
Grosspostwitz, lead by the cantors A. Hillmann and 
R. Jentsch; 

A concert of contemporary church music on July 5th 1953 
in the Church of St. Laurentius at Lichtenstein (Saxony); 
The 3rd Week of Church Music from September 6th to 
13th 1953 in Erfurt, arranged by the Association of 
Evangelical Church Choirs in Erfurt, the Andreas Cham¬ 
ber Music Orchestra and the Erfurt Evangelical Trumpet 
Choirs; 

The Musical Assembly of the Provincial Lutheran Church 
in Thuringia from September 12th to 15th 1953 in Alten- 
burg, led by Professor Erhard Mauersberger; 


154 



Organ Festival in Schwerin from October 1st to 11th 1953 
in the Schelf Church, Schwerin, lead by Walter Bruhns; 
Musical Evensong on the occasion of the harvest festival 
on October 4th 1953 arranged by the Congregation of 
St. John the Evangelist in the Evangelical Home, 
80 Augustastrasse, Berlin, under the leadership of Johann 
Schultz; 

The 85th Organ Evensong in the Marien Church in Berlin 
on October 5th 1953; 

Concert in the Christus Church, Dresden-Strehlen, on 
October 10th 1953 with the Dresden Symphony Choir by 
Hans Dieter Pfliiger with Hans Hartung on the organ; 
Concert of Church Music held by the Lutheran Congre¬ 
gation in Kriebitzsch on October 25th 1953; 

Musical Evensong in St. George’s Church Schoneck on 
October 31st 1953, the Reformation Festival; 

Musical Evensong for the Reformation Festival in the 
Johann Sebastian Bach Church in Arnstadt on November 
1st 1953; 

Max Reger Memorial Festival in the Marien Church, 
Bergen/Rugen on November 15th 1953; 

Memorial Festival in the Moritz Church, Taucha, on 
November 22nd 1953; 

Cristinas Festival for Choir and Congregation in the 
Church at Dresden Leubnitz-Neuostra on December 
6th 1953. 


IV. Films 

1. Are Western films shown in the German Democratic 
Republic? 

Many films from West Germany and other countries have 
been shown in recent months in the German Democratic 
Republic. The West German films shown included the follo¬ 
wing: “Madchen hinter Gittern”, “Die Zeit mit Dir”, “Tiger 
Akbar”, “Das doppelte Lottchen”, “Lied der Wildbahn”, “Die 
Perlenkette”, “Nanga Parbat”, “Haus des Lebens”, “So lange 
Du da bist”, “Vogelhand'ler”, “Herz der Welt”, “Vergiss die 
Lieibe nicht”, “Traumender Mund”, “Fussballweltmeisterschaft 
1954”, “Salto mortale”, “Eine Frau von heute”, “Moselfahrt aus 
Liebeskummer”, “Ich und Du”, “Keine Angst vor groBen 
Tieren”. 

Films from Western countries shown in the German Demo¬ 
cratic Republic included the following: 


155 




French films 

“Sans laisser d’adresse”, “Pas de vacances pour le bon Dieu”, 
“La P . . . respectueuse”, “Clochemerle”, “La Chartreuse de 
Parme”, “La nuit est mon royaume”, “Fanfan le Tulipe”, 
“Les vacances de M. Hulot”, “Le Boulanger de Valorgue”“, 
“Buy Bias” “Maitre apres Dieu”, “Prelude a la gloire” 
(French-Italian film). 

Italian films 

“Bicycle Thieves”, “Due solde di speranza”, “Vulcano”, ‘ Roma 
ora 11”. 

Danish films 

“De pokkers ungar”. 

Anglo-American films 

“Moulin Rouge”. 

Swedish films 

“She only danced one summer”, “Young love”. 

There are difficulties in getting films from West Germany 
since the West German Authorities have placed many 
obstacles in the way of a free exchange of films. 

The West German Authorities do not allow films produced by 
DEFA, the film company of the German Democratic Republic, 
to be imported into West Germany. 

The Government of the German Democratic Republic has 
repeatedly requested full freedom for the distribution of 
films of a humanist character throughout Germany and is 
ready to hold discussions on this subject. 

What sort of films are not shown in the German Democratic 
Republic? 

The types of films which are not shown include those which 
offend against moral principles such as American crime and 
gangster films, which incite to murder and crime. In addition, 
films which propagate racial hatred and militarism and which 
show war as unavoidable are not shown. 


V. Literature and publishing 

1. Are German classics published in the German Democratic 
Republic? 

The books of German classical authors are published on a 
larger scale than in West Germany. Care for the cultural 
heritage is one of the main tasks of the publishing houses. 


156 





Between the beginning of 1952 and September 1954 publishers 
in the German Democratic Republic issued 109 single works 
and collected editions in a total print of over 3.7 million 
volumes. More than 1.45 million copies of Goethe’s works 
were produced in this period. 

It is worthy of note that these large editions are sold out soon 
after they appear. The reason for this is not only the big 
demand for such books but also the low prices made possible 
by the big editions published. A six-volume edition of Goethe 
published by the Aufbau Publishing House in 1952/53 in an 
edition of 50,000 costs only 28.50 marks. The three-volume 
edition of Goethe produced by the Bibliographical Institute 
costs 18 marks (84,000 copies) and the Lessing edition 
published by the same publishers costs 22 marks (20,000 copies). 
One-volume cheap editions of classical authors are particularly 
popular. A one-volume Goethe has sold 120,000 copies and 
a one-volume Lessing 55,000 copies at a price of 6.50 marks 
per volume. 

The works of modern German writers are also produced and 
sold in very big editions. In the short period since the licence 
was obtained for the publication of the works of Thomas Mann 
far more copies have been sold in the German Democratic 
Republic than in West Germany since the end of the war. 

Many leading German writers, such as the three holders of 
the Stalin Peace Prize, Anna Seghers, Bertolt Brecht and 
Johannes R. Beclier, and other noted writers such as Willi 
Bredel, Arnold Zweig, Stephan Hermlin, Kuba and others 
live in the German Democratic Republic, and their works 
appear in editions running into the millions. The West Ger¬ 
man Government attempts to prevent the circulation of these 
werks in West Germany. 

Millions of copies of the works of Heinrich Mann, Arnold 
Zweig and other great modern German writers have also been 
sold. Big editions have also been produced of the works of 
Hermann Hesse, Leonhard Frank, Lion Feuchtwanger, Ricarda 
Huch, Rainer Maria Rilke, Christian Morgenstern and of 
course also older writers such as Fontane, Raabe and Storm. 
These large editions sell out very quickly. 

The names of some leading West German authors are not 
to be found in the publishers’ lists in the German Democratic 
Republic but this is generally due to the fact that it has been 
impossible to obtain permission from the West German 
publishers to issue these books in the German Democratic 
Republic. 


157 






2. What about translations from foreign languages? 

Books are translated from all foreign languages. A large 
number of Russian and Soviet books are translated in accor¬ 
dance with their importance and literary qualities, but they 
form only a part of the translations which range from Homer 
through Thackeray, Dickens and Fielding to modern writers. 
Here are figures showing the translations issued in the last 
two and a half years of French classical works: 


Balzac . . . 
Victor Hugo 
Stendhal . . 
Flaubert . . 
Zola . . . 
Daudet . . 


18 volumes totalling 307,000 copies 

7 volumes totalling 140,000 copies 

8 volumes totalling 180,000 copies 

3 volumes totalling 120,000 copies 

9 volumes totalling 145,000 copies 

4 volumes totalling 50,000 copies 


The situation is similar with regard to the literature of other 
countries. Here too restrictions are often imposed by the fact 
that it is sometimes difficult to obtain permission to publish 
these works, but with good will on both sides these obstacles 
can often be overcome. 


3. What types of books are not published? 

As in other countries those books are not published which 
find no publisher. In the German Democratic Republic, 
however, this includes not only books of no literary value but 
also those books which offend the rules of human morals and 
the interests of our people. In West Germany it is to-day 
financially difficult to publish some of the works of Goethe 
or Heinrich Mann, but in the German Democratic Republic 
it is impossible to publish the “memoirs” of war criminals. No 
publisher could be found in the German Democratic Republic 
to issue the books of Hitler-supporters like Haider, Kessel- 
ring and Schacht or the books of old nazi authors like Dwinger 
or Hans Grimm. Not only the publishers reject these books. 
They are also rejected by the majority of the population, who 
do not want anti-humanist “literature”, which poisons the 
minds of the German people and damages the reputation of 
^Germany in the world. 

4. What about gangster books and pornographic literature? 

Books of this type are a serious problem in West Germany, 
but in the German Democratic Republic they are simply not 
published. Publishers are not ready to issue books of this 
category, just as they reject books by war criminals and war 
propagandists. 


158 



5. Is there a book censorship? 

No. The Constitution lays down that there should be no form 
of censorship. The state, however, naturally sees to it that no 
books should appear which offend against the principles of 
the Constitution; that is to say books propagating war or 
racial and national hatred. This is the natural pre-condition 
for real liberty of creative writing. For this purpose, however, 
nc. censorship is necessary; the publishers themselves see that 
the Constitution is not broken. 

Enemies of the German Democratic Republic allege that the 
“Office for Literature and Publishing” is a form of censorship. 
In actual fact, however, this office has the task of coordinat¬ 
ing the work of the publishing houses, supporting them and 
seeing that they utilise all the opportunities given them by 
the state for extending their work. The success of this activity 
can be clearly seen. In West Germany dozens of publishers 
sometimes issue editions of one and the same work and then 
find that they cannot sell them. Such a situation is impossible 
in the German Democratic Republic. There are many different 
publishing houses in the German Democratic Republic but 
none of them are threatened by financial ruin as so many 
publishers in West Germany. 

The average book list of each publishing house is ten times 
as long as the book list of a West German publisher, and the 
average size of editions issued by each publishing house is 
25 or 30 times as great as in West Germany. (The figures for 
West German include the big editions of cheap crime stories 
which have no equivalent in the German Democratic Republic.) 


6. What is the size of book production in the German 
Democratic Republic? 

Publishers in the German Democratic Republic produced in 

1952 6261 titles in editions totalling 112,000,000 copies and in 

1953 they issued 8235 titles in a total of 106,000,000 copies. This 
means that the publishers in the German Democratic Republic 
produce yearly 5.6 books per head of the population (in West 
Germany the figure is 2.6 books per head) and in the German 
Democratic Republic these books are not only produced but 
also sold. 

7. Who may write a book? 

Everybody who has time, interest and talent may write a 
book. Young and talented authors receive great help in their 
work. They may write what they want to. Whether they find 


159 




a publishers depends, as everywhere else, upon whether 
their books are interesting and can be sold. 

8. What does an author earn in the German Democratic 
Republic? 

Authors are in a better position in the German Democratic 
Republic to-day than they ever were before. Here is an 
example: 

The writer Wolfgang Joho wrote a novel called “Der Weg 
aus der Einsamkeit” (“The road from loneliness”). This novel 
appeared in two editions, each of 10,000 copies, at a price 
of 8.10 marks. The author in the German Democratic Republic 
receives per copy between 10 and 15 per cent of the sales price. 
In this case Wolfgang Joho received 12 per cent, that is to say 
97.2 Pfennigs per copy sold. The first edition was sold out 
within four weeks. The sale of both editions brought the 
writer a gross income of 19,440 marks. In addition, this author, 
like other authors, continued to receive income from his 
former works. This means that an author in the German 
Democratic Republic often has an income equal to the highest 
salaries paid by the State, by industry and to scientists, and 
in some cases authors earn considerably more. 

9. What taxes do authors and other artists pay? 

Fourteen per cent tax is charged on authors’ income. This tax 
is subtracted at source by the publisher or whoever gave the 
commission and automatically transferred to the Tax Autho¬ 
rities. This means that the author and other artists have no 
tax declaration to fill out. 

In the example given above the author Wolfgang Joho had 
a gross income of 19,440 marks from which he received 
16,718,40 marks net. 

10. If a book receives critical reviews, is it withdrawn from 
circulation? 

Naturally not. In the German Democratic Republic all parties 
concerned, the authors, the publishers and the press are 
interested in developing literary criticism and in seeing to 
it that every work of importance is reviewed and criticized 
properly. This criticism is not confined to the preiss and radio; 
it also takes the form of readers’ meetings and discussions. 
If a work is not well received then the natural effect is that 
this book is not read and bought to the degree that the 
publisher perhaps hoped. 


160 



11. What about children’s books? 

A quantity and variety of books for children and young people 
is produced in the German Democratic Republic which 
awakens the admiration of those West German publishers 
who take their profession seriously and feel a sense of cul¬ 
tural responsibility. 

The publishers’ lists of youth literature in the German 
Democratic Republic include the titles of the best youth books 
from all parts of the world. Despite this, these lists are not 
yet extensive enough in view of the importance attached to 
youth work here. As a result, the publishers, the youth 
organisations and the State constantly endeavour to increase 
the number of youth books. Large sums are devoted to this 
purpose. A government-supported competition for the deve¬ 
lopment of new, humanist youth books sets aside 100,000 marks 
yearly as bonuses for the best new works of youth literature. 
These bonuses are paid to the author in addition to the usual 
income from the publishers and this means a great deal, since 
the usual minimum edition amounts to 20,000 copies and these 
copies are generally sold immediately. 


12. Are there detective stories and so on? 

Detective stories and adventure books are published too. Here 
are the titles of some recent books in this category: “The 
Golden 13”, “South Western Garage”, “The Secret of Long 
Life” and “Murder in the Grunewald”. In these books, 
however gangsters are not the heroes and there are no scenes 
of great brutality. 


13. Are there private publishers and booksellers in the 
German Democratic Republic? 

The majority of publishing houses and booksellers are in 
private hands. They include such well known old firms as 
the Kiepenheuer-Verlag, Weimar; the Greifen-Verlag, Rudol- 
stadt; and the Paul-List-Verlag, Leipzig. 

A number of publishing houses, both private and nationally 
owned, have failed in the past few years, but they were those 
firms which did not come up to the standard demanded of 
them by the public. 

This development has meant that the well-run publishing 
houses and booksellers have been able to develop properly, 
free of all forms of dumping and competition from low 
quality wares. 


11 250 QUESTIONS 


161 



Sport in the German Democratic Republic 


1. What support is given to sport in the German 
Democratic Republic? 

Sport is regarded in the German Democratic Republic as 
something which should help to produce healthy, strong and 
all-round men and women who love their homeland and their 
people who have courage and energy to help in the work 
of construction and who are ready, if necessary, to defend 
their homeland. For the first time in Germany sport has 
become something available to all young people. In this 
respect it is very important that sports clubs are run on the 
basis of the factory or the office. This has provided the 
foundation for a really broad sports movement. 

To-day 1.3 million young men and women take an active 
part in sports and 86 per cent of them are organised in some 
6500 factory sports dubs. 

The state and the trade unions devoted 30 million marks 
in 1953 to the work of the factory sports clubs. 

The factory sports clubs are organised in sixteen sports asso¬ 
ciations according to the branch of production. All working 
people can take part free in organised sports training. 

The factory sports clubs are financed from the directors’ 
funds of thie nationally owned factories, from factory trade 
union funds and the help of grants from the trade unions 
and the Government. The Lreuna sports club, for instance, 
received grants totalling 140,000 marks in 1954 and the “Steel” 
sports club at the Hennigsdorf works received 108,000 marks. 
In addition the factory sports clubs receive the total 
subscriptions paid by their members and any income from 
attendance at their matches etc. 

Sports activity is growing in the country districts too. The 
“Tractor” sports association, which is active in the country 
side, has to-day more than 200,000 members. 

More than 13,000 sports facilities such as stadiums, football 
grounds, swimming baths and gymnasiums, together with all 
apparatus, can be used free by sportsmen and women. There 
are no very expensive private sports installations in the Ger¬ 
man Democratic Republic. 

1031 new sports facilities were provided by town and district 
councils in 1954. 


162 




A total of 49.8 million marks were devoted by the State 
budget in 1954 for sport work and the support of existing 
sports facilities. 

In addition, in 1954 17,537,300 marks were provided by the 
Government for 240 new buildings and for the extension 
of existing sports facilities. This figure does not include the 
20 million marks earmarked by the nationally owned “Sports 
Pools” for the construction and extension of sports facilities. 
The sums earmarked by the Government amount to 38 marks 
per head for each sportsman. In West Germany only 
600,000 marks are used for this purpose, that is to say only 
20 pfennigs per sportsman. 

A large number of training camps have been established 
which give all sportsmen the chance of receiving qualified 
training in their sports, so that they can prepare for compe¬ 
titions. In Leipzig there is the German High School for 
Physical Culture and Sport, where the students go through 
a three-year course of sport study and training, which pre¬ 
pares them for the profession of sports instructor. At present, 
this high school is giving instruction to about 500 students, 
a big increase from 1953 when the students numbered 379. 
In addition, this high school gives postal instruction, which 
is preparing 413 part-time students on a five-year-course 
for their diploma as sports instructor. 

Sports instructors for the factory sport groups are trained 
at special schools maintained by the sports associations. There 
is also a special central school for this purpose. 


2. What about amateur sports? 

The sportsmen and women in the German Democratic Republic 
take part in their sports according to the amateur regu¬ 
lations laid down by the various international sports fede¬ 
rations and the International Olympic Committee. There is 
no professional sport in the German Democratic Republic 
and no “purchase” of sportsmen such as takes place in West 
Germany and other Western countries. 

Every sportsmen receives from his factory help in his train¬ 
ing. Special achievements are distinguished by the award 
of titles, such as the title “Master of Sport”. Up to the pre¬ 
sent 137 sportsmen and women have received “Master of 
Sport” and 4 have received the title “Honoured Master of 
Sport”. 


li* 


163 






3. Why is one opposed in the German Democratic Republic 
to the idea of “unpolitical sport”? 

The sportsmen in the German Democratic Republic have 
realised that there was a political background to the last 
world war, which led to such a great loss of young lives and 
that there is a political background to the partitioning of 
Germany and the limitation of all-German sport. They know 
that sport should serve to maintain health and life and not 
to lead to death on the field of battle. That is why the sports¬ 
men, too, work wholeheartedly for peace why they discuss 
political problems and contribute to their solution. 

This new attitude has received recognition in the grant of 
the sports medal “Ready for Work and to Defend Peace”. 
In order to receive this medal sportsmen must not only fulfill 
various sports requirements, but must also show a know¬ 
ledge of the answers to some important political questions 
dealing with the fight for peace and the unity of Germany. 
The sports conditions for winning this medal are so adjusted 
that every citizen of the German Democratic Republic, 
irrespective of age, sex and physique is able to win the medal, 
category I, after undergoing some training. Categories II 
and III are awarded after meeting higher requirements. 

Up to autumn 1954 a total of 134,128 sportsmen in the German 
Democratic Republic had won the right to wear the medal 
“Ready for Work and to Defend Peace”. 

4. Must young people in the German Democratic Republic 
learn to shoot? 

No. In the German Democratic Republic there is a “Society 
for Sport and Technology”, composed of young people and 
adults of both sexes. The aim of the society is to introduce 
its members to modern technology, to educate them in a 
partriotie and democratic spirit, and to make them ready to 
defend their homeland, if this should be necessary. The society 
includes units for motor sport, gliding, water sport, shooting 
and cross country sport. 

The society is organised on a completely voluntary basis. 
Nobody is forced in any way to join the society and there 
are naturally no economic or political disadvantages for 
non-members. 

5. Are there football pools in the German Democratic 
Republic? 

Yes. On December 12th 1953 the Cabinet decided to establish 
a nationally owned football pool. The profits from this pool 


164 




do not enrich a private person, but are devoted to encouraging 
and aiding sport. 

Here is the way in which the money received by the football 
pools is distributed in the German Democratic Republic and 
in West Germany: 

German Democratic Republic West Germany 


55 per cent to the pools par¬ 
ticipant 

25 per cent for sport 
10 per cent taxes 
7V2 per cent commission for 
collecting offices 
IV 2 per cent administrative 
costs 

1 per cent reserve 


50 per cent to the pools par¬ 
ticipant 

15 per cent for sport 
16 2 /3 per cent taxes 
8 2 /s per cent commission for 
the collecting offices 
7 2 /s per cent administrative 
costs 

2 per cent net profits for 
the pools organisers 


In 1954 about 20 million marks were devoted to sport from the 
pools funds iin the German Democratic Republic. 


165 


The political forces in the German Democratic 
Republic 


1. Why is the Socialist Unity Party of Germany the leading 
party in the German Democratic Republic? 

The Socialist Unity Party is the leading party in public life 
and members of this party occupy leading positions in the 
State, in economy and in the cultural field. The leading mem¬ 
bers of the Politbureau of the Socialist Unity Party, such as 
Wilhelm Pieck, Otto Grate woihl and Walter Ulbricht occupy 
leading posts in the Government (President, Prime Minister 
and Deputy Prime Minister). 

The Socialist Unity Party is the party of the working class in 
the German Democratic Republic. 

The working class is the most progressive and numerically 
the largest class, and together with all working sections — 
particularly with the working peasants and intelligentsia — 
interested without the slightest reservation in a democratic 
development in peace. The real desire for peace of the working 
people in all countries is based not only upon their personal 
interest, but above all in their class interests. 

That is why the working class should take the leading place 
in social life; it does this through the Socialist Unity Party, the 
party of the working class. The Socialist Unity Party is by far 
the largest party numerically in the German Democratic 
Republic. 

On this basis, a really democratic basis, the Socialist Unity 
Party plays the leading role, and this principle is recognised 
by the other parties and the mass organisations. 


2. Is the Social Democratic Party banned in the German 
Democratic Republic? 

The Social Democratic Party has never been banned in the 
German Democratic Republic. 

In spring 1946, in what was then the Soviet Occupation Zone, 
the two parties of the German working class, the Communist 
Party of Germany led by Wilhelm Pieck and the Social Demo¬ 
cratic Party led by Otto Grotewohl joined together to form the 
Socialist Unity Party of Germany on the basis of their joint 
adherance to the scientific teachings of Karl Marx. The coali¬ 
tion of these two parties took place in this manner: at separate 


166 




party congresses of the Social Democratic Party and the 
Communist Party the delegates, democratically elected by the 
members of the two parties, agreed to the fusion. At the Uni¬ 
fication Party Congress, which followed immediately after¬ 
wards, the delegates then gave their approval to the basic 
principles and aims which had been worked out jointly, and to 
the Statute of the newly created Socialist Unity Party of 
Germany. 

Under the influence of the Western Occupation forces, a por¬ 
tion of the Social Democratic Party in Berlin rejected unifica¬ 
tion. As a result of this, the Social Democratic Party still 
exists in all four sectors of Berlin in addition to the Socialist 
Unity Party. 


3. Is there only one party in the German Democratic 
Republic? 

No. Apart from the Socialist Unity Party, which has already 
been mentioned, there are the following four democratic 
parties: the Christian Democratic Union, the Liberal Demo¬ 
cratic Party, the National Democratic Party, and the 
Democratic Peasant Party. The Democratic Peasant Party, is, 
as its name implies* a party of peasants, while the other three 
parties are mainly middle class parties. 

All these parties play their part in government and in econo¬ 
mic and cultural life through their representatives in the 
People’s Chamber, the Government and in local Government 
and through their active participation in working out laws 
and ordinances, particularly those which affect the section 
of the population they represent. 

The parties in the German Democratic Republic work very 
well together owing to their common interest in the fight 
against militarism, fascism and war and for unity, democracy 
and well being. 

Since there are no trusts, big landowners and private finan¬ 
ciers in the German Democratic Republic there is also no 
party representing the interests of such groups. 


4. What mass organisations are there in the German Demo¬ 
cratic Republic? 

The following mass organisations represent the interests of 
special sections of the population and have their own fractions 
in the People’s Chamber. With the political parties they form 
the “Block of Democratic Parties and Mass Organisations”: 


167 


The Free German Trade Union Federation with about 
5.7 million members; the Peasants Mutual Aid Association; the 
Free German Youth; the Democratic Women’s League; the 
Culture League for the Democratic Renewal of Germany; and 
the Association of German Consumer Cooperatives. 

Other mass organisations in the German Democratic Republic 
include the German-Soviet Friendship Society; the German 
Red Cross; the People’s Solidarity; the Artists Association; 
the Writers Association; the Journalists Association and 
others. 

5. Must everybody join some organisation? 

Membership in all parties and mass organisations is entirely 
voluntary. 

6. What is the “National Front of Democratic Germany”? 

The National Front of Democratic Germany ist not an organi¬ 
sation in the strict sense of the word but a broad patriotic 
mass movement, which includes not only members of the 
democratic parties and organisations but also millions of other 
patriots, who wish to contribute to the campaign for the unity 
of Germany on a really democratic basis. 

The main points of the programme of the National Front of 
Democratic Germany are: 

The creation of a united, democratic, peace-loving and inde¬ 
pendent Germany; the struggle against the integration of West 
Germany in the imperialist and aggressive war pacts and 
against remilitarisation and refascisation in West Germany; 
the fight against all propaganda for war and national and 
racial hatred in Germany; the struggle for the development of 
the peace economy and East-West trade and against the 
exploitation of the West German workers by the Anglo- 
American imperialists. 

The programme emphasises that the German Democratic Re¬ 
public and its Government are the main basis for all German 
patriots in their struggle and that it is thus a patriotic duty 
to contribute to the political, economic and cultural stabili¬ 
sation of the Republic. 

The programme states that success in the fight waged by the 
National Front of Democratic Germany can only be obtained 
through strong bonds of friendship with the Soviet Union and 
the Peoples’ Democracies. 

Committees of the National Front are active in the counties, 
districts, villages and residential areas. More and more 


168 



citizens of the German Democratic Repuiblik regard it as their 
duty to act as patriots and struggle for the unity of Germany 
and the strengthening of peace in Europe. The citizens come 
together in house committees of the National Front in order 
to work with their neighbours for these great aims. 

The tasks done by these committees on the various levels 
include the promotion of understanding between Germans in 
East and West by means of the development of correspondence 
with West German citizens; through friendly discussions with 
visitors from West Germany; through propaganda amongst 
the population on the manoeuvres of the enemies of German 
unity and peace; through the encouragement of the closest 
contact between the population and the workers’ and peasants’ 
state; through organising the population to support all 
measures of peaceful construction in their area, such as the 
voluntary work shifts done as part of the national reconstruc¬ 
tion work. 


12 250 QUESTIONS 


169 


The foreign policy of the German Democratic 
Republic 


1. What are the principles of foreign policy of the German 
Democratic Republic? 

The basis of the foreign policy of the German Democratic 
Republic is the struggle for the maintenance of peace, the 
restoration of German unity on a democratic and peaceful 
basis and the conclusion of a peace treaty with Germany. 

The German Democratic Republic encourages the development 
of trade and neighbourly relations with all countries on the 
basis of equality and mutual advantage. All treaties and agree¬ 
ments are concluded on the basis of equality and strictly 
observed. 

The Government of the German Democratic Republic 
recognises the general principles of international law defined 
in the Constitution, and regards these principles as binding 
upon all citizens of the German Democratic Republic. 

The German Democratic Republic supports in particular 
friendship with the Soviet Union and the Peoples’ Democracies 
in Europe and in Asia. 

The principles of the Potsdam Agreement laying down the 
destruction of fascism and militarism, the liquidation of the 
trusts and the economic and political amity of Germany form 
a further basis of the foreign policy of the German Democratic 
Republic. 

2. Why does the Government of the German Democratic Re¬ 
public stand so strongly for friendship with the Soviet 
Union? 

Because the basic foreign political interests of the Soviet 
Union coincide with the national interests of the German 
people. Here are a few examples: 

1. In the years 1944/45 leading politicians of the Western 
Powers demanded the partitioning and the agrarianisation of 
Germany but J. V. Stalin, speaking in the name of the Soviet 
Government, had insisted that Germany should continue to 
be a united state and that it should be granted full sovereignty. 
In the Potsdam Agreement of 1945 this principle of Soviet 
policy with regard to Germany was established as a principle 
of international law. 


170 




2. On the basis of the Potsdam Agreement the Soviet Govern¬ 
ment supported the German democratic forces in the East 
of Germany in the task of breaking the power of the reac¬ 
tionary monopoly capitalists and junkers, the main supporters 
of militarism and fascism. The junker estates passed into the 
hands of the peasants, and basic and key industries together 
with the banks passed into the hands of the entire people. 
The Western Powers on the other hand have systematically 
broken the Potsdam Agreement and helped to restore the old 
conditions of imperialist Germany in West Germany. 

3. In March/April 1947, the Soviet Government demanded the 
establishment of an all-German democratic Government. As 
a first step it was proposed to establish central administrative 
organs for the main fields of administration in Berlin. The 
Western Powers rejected this proposal. 

4. In December 1947 the Soviet Government proposed the 
preparation of a peace treaty with Germany. The Western 
Powers rejected the proposal. 

5. After the Western Powers had split Germany, first through 
the unilateral currency reform and then through the 
establishment of a separatist West German Government, the 
population of East Germany created the German Democratic 
Republic as as bulwark in the struggle for national unity. The 
Soviet Government immediately recognised the German Demo¬ 
cratic Republic and handed over to the first Provisional 
Government of the German Democratic Republic the admini¬ 
strative functions hitherto undertaken by the Soviet Military 
Administration. The Soviet Military Administration was 
converted into the Soviet Control Commission, to supervise 
the carrying out of the liabilities under the Potsdam Agree¬ 
ment. When the German Democratic Republic was founded, 
J. V. Stalin pointed out that this was a turning point in the 
history of Europe and that the existence of peace-loving, 
democratic Germany side by side with the peace-loving Soviet 
Union would exclude the possibility of new wars in Europe. 

6. On March 10th 1952 the Soviet Government submitted to 
the three Western Powers the draft, of the basis for a peace 
treaty with Germany. This draft had the following points: 

a. Restoration of Germany as a united state. 

b. Withdrawal of all occupation forces at the latest one year 
after a peace treaty comes into force and simultaneous 
liquidation of all foreign military bases on German 
territory. 

c. Guarantee of democratic rights for all persons under the 
control of German law. 


12* 


171 


d. Free activity for ail democratic parties and mass organi¬ 
sations. 

e. Prohibition of all organisations inimical to democracy and 
the cause of peace. 

f. Equal civil and political rights for all former members 
of the German army in so far as they are not serving 
sentences for crimes they have committed. 

g. Prohibition of all alliances or military pacts against any 
state which participated with its armed forces in the war 
against Germany. 

h. Limitation of German territory by the frontiers laid 
down in the Potsdam Agreement. 

i. No limitations on the development of German peace 
economy and no limitation of trade with other countries. 

k. The right to establish national armed forces for the land, 
air and sea to the degree necessary for the defence of the 
country. 

l. The right to an arms industry to the degree necessary to 
equip the necessary armed forces. 

m. Support by the Four Great Powers for German member¬ 
ship in the United Nations. 

All points of this draft treaty accord with the national interests 
of the German people and their national honour. 

The Western Powers have so far refused even to comment 
upon this draft Peace Treaty. Instead of this they are trying 
to impose upon West Germany a lasting partitioning and a 
50-year term of occupation and far-reaching limitation of 
state sovereignty and bourgeois democratic liberties in West 
Germany. 

7. In a whole series of Notes and statements by leading 
Soviet statesmen the Soviet Union has proposed the ways 
and means by which the German people should come together 
to form a united state and by which Germany should take 
the place due to it in the community of peace-loving nations. 
In late summer and autumn 1953, the Soviet Government 
declared in various Notes that the solution of the following 
main questions with regard to Germany must not be post¬ 
poned: 

a. the summoning of a peace conference to deal with the 
question of a peace treaty with Germany; 

b. the establishment of a provisional all-German Government 
and the holding of free all-German elections; 

c. the easing of the financial and economic obligations of 
Germany resulting from the war. 


172 




At the Berlin Four Power Conference in January 1954, 
V. M. Molotov, Foreign Minister of the USSR, made further 
important proposals for the solution of the German question. 
These proposals included the holding of a plebiscite in the 
whole of Germany on the question “EDC treaty or peace 
treaty”; measures to ease and extend economic and cultural 
relations between West and East Germany; and an agreement 
on the strength and armament of the police in West and 
East Germany. 

On October 23rd 1954 the Soviet Union proposed to the 
Western Powers the holding in November 1954 of a Conference 
of Foreign Ministers to negotiate the re-unification of Germany 
on a peaceful basis. This proposal, too, accords fully with 
the national interests of the German people. In this Note, the 
Government of the Soviet Union proposed negotiations on all- 
German free elections, the withdrawal without delay of the 
occupation troops, and the summoning of an all-European 
Conference to discuss the question of the creation of a system 
of collective security in Europe. 

On November 29th there opened in Moscow the “Conference 
of European Nations to Guarantee Peace and Security in 
Europe”. The Soviet Union, all European People’s Democracies, 
the German Democratic Republic and an observer from the 
Chinese People’s Republic participated in this conference, 
which considered the situation which had arisen in Europe 
in connection with the decisions of the London and Paris 
Conferences of various European states. 

On December 2nd 1954 the Moscow Conference published a 
declaration stating that the realisation of the Paris Agree¬ 
ments would lead to a serious deterioration of the international 
situation, since West Germany would become a dangerous 
breeding ground for a new war. For the solution of the German 
problem it would be necessary to reject remilitarisation and 
reach agreement on free all-German elections in 1955. 

The final communique of the Moscow Conference stressed 
that the conference, which had been held in a friendly 
atmosphere, had shown full unanimity on the measures which 
would have to be taken to guarantee peace in Europe in case 
the Paris Agreements were ratified. 

The principles laid down in the declaration of the Moscow 
Conference are in full accord with the peace policy of the 
German Democratic Republic. 

These details show that any responsible German government 
has the powerful support of the Soviet Government in protec¬ 
ting national German interests. 


3. Why does the Soviet Union support German national 
interests? 

The explanation of Soviet support for German national 
interests is very simple. 

First of all there is no private monopoly of industry and trade 
in the Soviet Union, which could have an interest in the 
conquest of sources of raw materials or of markets for its 
goods and thus have interests in the subjugation of other 
nations. There is no one in the Soviet Union who could make 
a profit from wars of conquest or a “diplomacy of strength” 
directed against other states. For this reason the Soviet Union 
needs neither military bases nor mercenary armies in foreign 
states. 

Secondly the Soviet Union is a socialist state of working 
people. In the whole world the working people are interested 
in peace and not in war and for this reason the policy of the 
Soviet Union is a policy of peace and of opposition to every 
militarist war policy. 

Working people in the whole world are only interested in the 
peaceful and undisturbed development of their homeland to 
prosperity and happiness; the policy of the Soviet Union is 
thus a policy of support for every struggle for national inde¬ 
pendence and of opposition to all forms of national and racial 
oppression. 

The Soviet Government, with its policy of respect for the 
sovereignty of nations has given the German people in the 
course of its existence many proofs of its friendship and help. 
In 1922, for instance, the treaty of Rapallo freed the young 
German Republic from the throttling embrace of the 
imperialist victor states. In all situations the Soviet Union 
has respected the just national claims also of the German 
people. For this reason the foreign policy of the Soviet 
Union coincides with the national wishes of all peoples, 
including the German people. 


4. How has question of payments for reparations and 
occupation costs made by the German Democratic Republic 
to the Soviet Union been solved? 

From 20th to 22nd August 1953 negotiations took place in 
Moscow between the Soviet Government and a government 
delegation from the German Democratic Republic. These 
negotiations produced the following agreements: 

a. From January 1st 1954 all forms of reparations to the 
Soviet Union were completely ended. In May 1950 the So- 


174 



viet Union had already considerably reduced the repara¬ 
tion obligations of the German Democratic Republic, and 
the new agreement cancelled the sum of 2537 million 
dollars in reparations still due from the German Demo¬ 
cratic Republic. (West Germany is still paying 3,450 mil¬ 
lion marks in reparations to Israel and 117 million marks 
reparations to Holland.) 

b. On January 1st 1954 the Soviet Union transferred all 
Soviet, industrial undertakings in the territory of the 
German Demokratic Republic without payment to the 
German Democratic Republic. At the same time the So¬ 
viet Government cancelled the debt of 430 million marks 
owed by the German Democratic Republic in connection 
with the 66 industrial undertakings handed over in 1952. 
(For further details see Question 7.) 

c. The Soviet Government reduced occupation costs so that 
they should not exceed 5 per cent of the annual budget of 
the German Democratic Republic and that they should 
not in any case exceed the occupation costs paid in 1949. 
This means that occupation costs paid in 1954 amounted 
to 1600 million marks. In West Germany occupation costs 
in 1954 amounted to 9600 million marks, or 34.5 per cent 
of the state budget. 

d. The Soviet Government cancelled the payment of debts 
arising from occupation costs in foreign currency since 
1945 and all post-war state debts. 

(West Germany pays, as a result of the London Debts 
Conference, the sum of 222 million marks annually from 
1953 to 1957 in post war debts and 360 million marks 
annually from 1958 to 1976.) 

In a Note dated August 15th 1953, the Soviet Union proposed 
to the Western Powers that similar concessions should be 
made to West Germany. The Western Powers declined. 

The West German Government also declined to submit a re¬ 
quest in this sense to the Western Powers. 


5. Is the German Democratic Republic a Sovereign State? 

Yes. On March 25th 1954 the Government of the USSR published 
a declaration on the creation of the complete sovereignty 
of the German Democratic Republic in its internal and ex¬ 
ternal affairs and on the cessation of the control activities of 
the High Commissioner of the USSR in Germany. As a result 
of this declaration the functions of the High Commissioner of 
the USSR in Germany are limited to questions dealing with 


175 


the guaranteeing of security and the maintenance of the ne¬ 
cessary relations with the representatives of the Occupation 
Authorities of the USA, Great Britain and France in questions 
of an all-German character, arising from the agreements of 
the Four Powers on Germany. The declaration of the Soviet 
Government pointed out that the Occupation Statute laid down 
by the Western Powers for West Germany could not be re¬ 
conciled with the national rights of the German people and 
that iit is one of the main obstacles to the national reunifi¬ 
cation of Germany. 

6. How are trade agreements made with the Soviet Union? 

Trade agreements with the Soviet Union are concluded on a 
basis of full equality and mutual advantage. It is necessary 
in this connection to point out that in the Soviet Union there 
are no capitalist industrial or trade undertakings which can 
make a profit from taking an advantage of the other party. 
In August 1953 the Soviet Union extended the German De¬ 
mocratic Republic a credit of 485 million rubles including 135 
million rubles in convertible currency at the very low inter¬ 
est rate of 2 per cent, per annum the credit to be repaid in 
two yearly instalments from 1955. The 2 per cent interest rate 
corresponds to the usual administrative costs of such a trans¬ 
action and do not provide any profit for the party granting the 
credit. 

The Soviet Union provides the German Democratic Republic 
with butter, vegetable and animal fats, meat, cheese, cotton, 
oil seed, rice, flax, coal, rolled products, non-ferreous metals 
and so on. 

The German Democratic Republic supplies the Soviet Union 
with machinery, electrical and optical apparatus, chemical fer¬ 
tilizers, textiles and so on. 

7. Are there “Russian” factories in the German Democratic 

Republic? 

Since January 1st 1954 there have been no Soviet-run fac¬ 
tories in the German Democratic Republic. 

The Soviet factories, which there were formerly, had been 
granted to the Soviet Union as part of reparations. They were 
not dismantled but left in Germany and run here under So¬ 
viet control. These factories provided a pattern with regard to 
working conditions and social facilities. 

In July 1952 sixtytwo factories were handed over to the Ger¬ 
man people and on January 1st 1954 the remaining 33 fac- 


176 





tories were handed over. These included such valuable works 
as the “Walter Ulbricht Leuna Works”, the Espenhain Lignite 
Combine, The Schkopau Buna Works, the Piesteritz Nitrogen 
Works, the Agfa Film Factory at Wolfen, the Karl Liebknecht 
Works at Magdeburg, the Ernst Thalmann Works at Magde¬ 
burg, the Bleichert Factory, Leipzig, the Henry Pels Factory, 
Erfurt, the Sachsenwerk, Niedersedlitz, the Ji. V. Stalin Electro- 
Apparatus Works, Berlin, the Non-Ferreous Metal Rolling Mill 
Hettstedt, the Thale iron foundry, the Schwarzheiide Hydro¬ 
genation Works. 

These works were handed over with all assets and liabilities, 
all patents and patent claims and all their houses of culture, 
rest homes and policlinics. They had a total value of 2700 
million marks. 

The following examples show how these factories had been 
developed under Soviet administration: 

The J. V. Stalin Electro-Apparatus works in Berlin-Treptow 
was 80 per cent destroyed in 1945. The Soviet Union invested 
nearly 23.5 million marks since 1946 in restoring the works. 
To-day production is 680 per cent higher than in 1936. Nine 
thousand people work there producing electrical special appa¬ 
ratus and fully automatic factory equipment. 

The Krautheiim steel foundry in Karl-Marx-Stadt (formerly 
Chemnitz) had 890 workers in 1946. To-day the number of 
people employed has risen to threethousand. The production 
of molten steel has risen by 450 per cent and of steel castings 
by 400 per cent. New installations in the factory include two 
new 25-ton bridgecranes, a 5-ton electro furnace and an oxy¬ 
gen production plant. 

The former Buckau-Wolf factory in Magdeiburg, to-day the 
Karl Liebknecht heavy engineering works, has increased la¬ 
bour productivity five times in the past six years. Production 
to-day is eighteen times higher than it was in 1946. More than 
20 million marks have been invested in this factory which 
to-day employs 12,000 people. 

The Walter Ulbricht Leuna works, Germany's biggest chemical 
factory, employs to-day 28,000 workers and exports its goods 
to 24 countries. The reconstruction of this factory cost 200 
million marks. To-day the Leuna works are producing four 
times as much as in 1947 and the pre-war production figures 
have been exceeded. Since 1947 a total of 91 million marks 
have been spent on labour safety measures, health measures 
and cultural facilities for the workers. 

The former Soviet ore-mining undertaking “Wismut” has 
been converted into a mixed German-Soviet Company on a 


177 


basis of parity and equal rights. This accords with the mutual 
interests of the German Democratic Republic and the USSR 
in the work of this company. In the pre-Hitler Weimar Re¬ 
public there were a number of mixed German-Soviet com¬ 
panies on a basis of parity, such as Derunapht, Derutra and 
Deruluft. 

The position in West Germany is quite different. From West 
German sources the following particulars, which are by no 
means complete, can be learned; one quarter of all West Ger¬ 
man mining companies with an annual production of 25 mil¬ 
lion tons of coal, employing 105,000 miners, are owned by 
foreign financiers and work for their profit. These holdings 
include the Harpener Bergbau-AG, which was sold to foreign 
financiers by the war criminel and adventurer Friedrich Flick. 
Foreign financiers control large parts of the iron and steel 
industry including such important firms as the Dortmund- 
Horder-Huttenunion, the Nordwestdeutscher Hiitten- end 
Bergwerksverein, the Stahl- und Rohrenwerke Reichsholz, the 
Deutsche Edelstahlwerke, and the Rheinische Rohrenwerke. 
Nearly 30 per cent of West German raw steel production is 
controlled by foreign capital. 

30 per cent of the West German car industry is owned by 
American undertakings, such as General Motors and Ford. 

8. Why does the German Democratic Republic receive such 
generous help from the Soviet Union? 

The best answer to this question was given by Soviet Pre¬ 
mier G. M. Malenkov at a banquet held in Moscow in honour 
of the Government delegation of the German Democratic Re¬ 
public, which visited the Soviet Union from 20th to 22nd 
August 1953. Referring to the German Democratic Republic, 
Prime Minister Malenkov said: 

“The peace-loving peoples see in the German Democratic 
Republic, quite rightly, the growth of a new Germany, 
a Germany of peace and of work, of democracy and of 
progress. Just because the German Democratic Republic 
is the bulwark for the peace-loving forces of the whole 
of Germany, the Soviet Union regards it as its duty to 
extend all-round support and help.” 

9. Why does the German Democratic Republic recognise the 
Oder-Neisse-frontier between Germany und Poland? 

This question demands a full answer. The nazi-regime is 
responsible for the loss of the territory East of the Oder and 
the Neisse because of its brutal policy of conquest, directed 


178 



particularly against the peoples of Eastern Europe and the 
monstrous murder of over six million Poles. The fact may 
not be concealed that the German people themselves did not 
develop the strenght to halt in good time this criminal policy. 
The leading statesmen of all the Allied Powers participating 
in the Second World War recognised the need for security 
of the Polish people. At the Potsdam Conference the heads 
of the governments of the USA, Great Britain and the Soviet 
Union decided upon this frontier and the transfer of the Ger¬ 
man population from the territory East of the Oder-Neisse 
line. France later adhered to the Potsdam Agreement. 

The Potsdam Agreement refers to the final determination of 
the frontier in a peace treaty with Germany, but this means 
only the exact cartographical delimitation of the frontier on 
the Oder and Neisse. Any other reading of the agreement is 
impossible, since the transfer of millions of people would not 
have been undertaken with the intention of transferring them 
back again some years later. 

The former resettlers were integrated in the German Demo¬ 
cratic Republic from the very first as fully equal citizens. 
(Details are given on page 114). The resettlers constitute no 
problem in the German Democratic Republic. 

In the territory East of the Oder and Neisse, a territory which 
has been stolen from the native Slav population in the course 
of the past century, the land and the natural resources are 
to-day owned by the Polish people, who wish to live in peace 
and in friedship with all nations. The recognition of the Oder- 
Neisse frontier is a guarantee for peaceful and friendly rela¬ 
tions with our Polish neighbours, who give the German Demo¬ 
cratic Republic in the course of trade, which is to our mutual 
advantage, important raw materials like coal and coke and 
also foodstuffs. Therefore in the German Democratic Republic 
the Oder-Neisse frontier is known as the “frontier of peace”. 
Citizens of the German Democratic Republic, who used to 
live in these territories, realise that those were lost as a result 
of the criminal war of aggression of German imperialism. 
None of these resettlers wish Germany to be converted into 
a bomb-blasted desert in a futile attempt to restore to the 
junkers and the financiers the riches which they lost in these 
territories. 

10. Why does the German Democratic Republic regard itself 
as part of the camp of peace and socialism? 

In full accordance with the wishes of the population the Go¬ 
vernment of the German Democratic Republic proclaims its 


179 



friendship with all peace-loving peoples of the world, in¬ 
cluding naturally the American people, the British people and 
particularly their French neighbours. 

The German Democratic Republic maintains relations of 
hearty friendship with those states which support a policy of 
peace, disarmament, the equality of nations, and the rejection 
of colonial domination. The same cannot be said for the go¬ 
vernments of the Western Powers: the United States attemps 
to blackmail the world with atom bombs. Britain removed the 
legally elected government of British Guyana, France con¬ 
ducted a war of oppression against Vietnam. On the other 
hand, the Soviet Government and the governments of the 
Peoples' Democracies call for the banning of the atom bomb 
and other weapons of annihilation and defend in the United 
Nations the rights of all nations whose indepence is threatened. 
The German Democratic Republic has friendly relations with 
those states which are ready to conclude trade agreements on 
the basis of full equality and mutual advantage. Trade agree¬ 
ments, although still on a limited scale, have been concluded 
with some capitalist states, but this policy is hindered by the 
United States, which wishes to prevent trade between the 
German Democratic Republic and the countries of Western 
Europe, and even internal German trade. On the other hand, 
the Soviet Government and the governments of the Peoples' 
Democracies have opened to the German Democratic Republic 
on the most advantageous conditions the democratic world 
market stretching to the Pacific Ocean, with its unlimited 
supply and demand. 

The German Democratic Republic maintains the most friendly 
relations with those States which support the national struggle 
of the German people for unity, independence and democracy. 
This is obviously not the case with regard to the Western 
states, which wish to force Western Germany into the agres- 
sive North Atlantic Pact System. The Soviet Government and 
the governments of the Peoples' Democracies in Eastern Eu¬ 
rope and in Asia, on the other hand, give their full support 
to the national struggle of the German people and maintain 
normal diplomatic relations with the Government of the Ger¬ 
man Democratic Republic. 

For these reasons the German Democratic Republic regards 
itself as an integral part of the camp of peace and socialism. 

11. Does the German Democratic Republic have trade agree¬ 
ments with capitalist states? 

The German Democratic Republic has, at the moment, trade 
relations of some size with 54 different countries. Since 1950 


180 





the volume of foreign trade between the German Democratic 
Republic and capitalist countries has been more than trebled. 
The German Democratic Republic has shown its wares at 
international fairs in Paris, Milan, Utrecht, Stockholm, Am¬ 
sterdam, Kopenhagen, Li£ge, Salonika, Cairo and Helsinki. 
The German Democratic Republic lays down no special con¬ 
ditions before entering into trade relations, but is ready to 
trade and to reach payment agreements with all countries of 
the world, irrespective of different economic systems. The 
following conditions must exist, however: the recognition of 
equal rights, the guarantee of mutual advantage, the desire 
to fulfill the agreements, the recognition of the principle of 
non-intervention in internal affairs, and the recognition of 
the legal rights arising from these agreements. 

The main articles of export for the German Democratic Re¬ 
public are the products of the engineering industry. 

The German Democratic Republic is in a position to deliver 
equipment for entire factories and to provide first class tech¬ 
nical assistance in industrial development. The German De¬ 
mocratic Republic is particularly interested in opening up 
direct trade relations with the countries of origin of such im¬ 
port goods as for instance com, meat, oil, fats, coffee, cocoa, 
tea, spices, tobacco, fruit, wool, cotton, skins, wood and rubber. 
Trade agreements covering such goods have been concluded, 
for instance, with Indonesia and Uruguay. 

The German Democratic Republic is ready to increase its 
annual imports from Western European countries, particu¬ 
larly from countries of origin, by 250 million dollars. The Re¬ 
public is interested in increasing its imports of certain pro¬ 
ducts by the following figures: 

Cotton by 25,000 tons 

Wool by 10,000 tons 

Skins and Furs by 18,000 tons 

Rolling steel by hundreds of thousands cf tons 

Meat by 25,000 tons 

Butter, Oils and Fats by 20,000 tons 

Corn, particularly Fodder by hundreds of thousands of tons 
Fish by 80,000 tons 
Tobacco by 10,000 tons 

Oranges, Lemons and Bananas by 90,000 tons 
Large additional quantities of coffee, cocoa, etc. are also re¬ 
quired. 


Editorial work completed November 1954. 


181 







Contents 


Page 

The State in the German Democratic Republic.9 

The position of the worker in the German Democratic 

Republic.26 

How the worker lives in tire German Democratic Republic 

Wages.33 

Care for the workers in thie German Democratic 

Republic.42 

Activists, Emulation Contests and Heroes of Labour ... 57 
Trade and supply in the German Democratic Republic 

I. The goods available.66 

II. Prices.72 

III. What is tire consumption per head of the most 

important foodsstuffs.84 

How the peasants live in the German Democratic Republic 

The individual peasant.85 

Production cooperatives.95 

The machine and tractor stations (MTS).101 

Innovations in the villages.103 

How does the middle class live in the German Democratic 
Republic 

Craftsmen.107 

Retail trade.110 

Private industry.Ill 

What is the position of former Resettlers in the German 
Democratic Republic.114 

The position of pensioners in the German Democratic 
Republic.116 

Concerning women 

Women at work.118 

Mother and child.121 

Women in the family.124 

Women and fashions. 125 

Women and sport.126 


183 























Youth in the German Democratic Republic.127 

Youth recreation.132 

Youth and the State.134 

Schools in the German Democratic Republic 
T. Elementary and high schools.137 

II. Universities.143 

Science and art in the German Democratic Republic 

I. Science.147 

II. Graphic Arts.151 

III. Theatres and muisic.152 

IV. Films.155 

V. Literature and publishing.156 

Sport in the German Democratic Republic.162 

The political forces in the German Democratic Republic 166 
The foreign policy of the German Democratic Republic . . 170 


184 














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HX 632 Al W9 no.1673 

World communism in the 20th 
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