On the birthday of Reuniting, left-wing extremists in blue shirts seemed to protest the “annexation”: “30 years is enough,” says the FDJ. The former youth organization SED has not wanted to disappear for 30 years.
Hartmut Richter feared: victims of the GDR regime should not let themselves be provoked by those who call reunification an “annexation”. On Karl-Marx-Allee in the center of Berlin, several dozen people in the blue shirts of the “Free German Youth” (FDJ) went to Alexanderplatz to sing battle songs. It is the anniversary of German unity – the annexation of the GDR, say the FDJers. You can see recordings of their bizarre demonstration in the video or above here.
March in Berlin: On the former Stalin-Allee, several dozen FDJ supporters in blue shirts and flags marched to Alexanderplatz and later to the Brandenburg Gate. The political sect has been visible again in recent months, but has never disappeared since reunification. (Source: Image Images)
Photo series with 19 photos
For 30 years now, the FDJ has surprised the public with the fact that it somehow still exists. West German communists in particular keep them alive today, dream of Soviet relations and declare virtually everyone but themselves as fascists. Chillreport was looking for traces of what has become the “SED battle reserve” and is officially under the umbrella of the Left Party headquarters in Berlin.
The advance of blue shirts with shawms and flags is a nuisance for Richter, a former refugee from the republic. For some former GDR citizens, who have faced solitary confinement and worse, the elevator is very difficult to carry: “It tears up painful memories.”
You can also read here how a Stasi victim describes the horror in the “House of Silence”.
In 1995 the “sponsor group for the FDJ” was founded
Richter was sentenced to 15 years in prison in the GDR as an escape aide for “subversive human trafficking”, spent a long time in solitary confinement in the infamous Bautzen II prison and today passes on his experiences as a modern-day witness on guided tours. “It is necessary to further educate about the injustice of the GDR, so that people do not experience this symbolism as folklore.” Richter is also the man who unsuccessfully addressed two petitions to the Bundestag to ban GDR symbols.
Former prisoner: As a contemporary witness, Hartmut Richter leads people through the Lindenstrasse monument in Potsdam. “It is necessary to continue to clear up the GDR injustice,” he says. FDJ badges are not folklore. (Source: Image Images)
But perhaps no one today would praise communism with the sign of the rising sun – symbol of the FDJ – if in 1995 mainly older men had not come up with a “group of sponsors of the Free German Youth”.
The problems for the FDJ had worsened with the turnaround and in the years that followed: you no longer had to be a member like in the dictatorship to achieve anything. Already in the first year after the fall of the Wall, the number of members had fallen sharply: of more than 2.3 million, only a good 20,000 remained loyal to the almost apolitical mass organization. The contraction continued; in the mid-1990s, there were only a few hundred. There were also money concerns, the assets were frozen and finally withdrawn in 1996.
That was already foreseeable when in the summer of 1995 some communists from the West and some old officials pushed the sponsor group. GDR cycling legend Gustav “Täve” Schur was one of them, as was Hans Modrow, the last chairman of the GDR council of ministers and honorary chairman of the left-wing predecessor PDS. The goal according to the statutes: “To pass on the knowledge and life experience of contemporary witnesses to the youth”.
As early as 1994: “What’s the old shit?”
That is the focus, emphasizes Martina Holzinger of the board of the sponsor group today. His financial support is far from securing funding for the work of the FDJ. The FDJ must take care of that itself. This cannot be verified, nor can the claim that membership is “developing very positively, especially in the current year”. In 2015 Holzinger himself advertised for donations for the FDJ in a magazine of an association of former state security and people’s police.
Holzinger headed the FDJ in the 1990s, when he was in his early thirties. She had moved from Munich to Berlin to take an active part in their “struggle”. In the street the amazement about the FDJ-Wessis was clearly already great: ‘You didn’t even see it’, the ‘Focus’ quoted onlookers in 1994 at a meeting in Berlin. “Got a boob, why are you digging up that old shit?” The magazine headlined, “The FDJ Practices Resurrection – With Help from the West.”
Blue-Red Sea: FDJ members at a parade in honor of the 40th anniversary of the GDR on October 7, 1989. The FDJ had 2.3 million members before the collapse of the GDR. (Source: Pemax / image images)
Nevertheless, it was only a “small bunch of steadfast people” who, according to “Welt”, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the GDR FDJ on March 7, 1996. Holzinger was at the time the deputy of the FDJ after the reunification. It comes from an illustrious organization that no one in the East knows, but which has significance for the history of the current FDJ: the “Workers’ Union for the Reconstruction of the KPD”.
It is an organization that wanted to bring communist youth in the Federal Republic together in an association like the FDJ after it was finally banned in the West in 1954. The young Adenauer republic had reacted very sensitively to and against the communists: preliminary proceedings against 35,198 alleged members, 1012 years imprisonment was imposed until 1954, according to the FDJ.
You will not receive numbers for today’s membership. “Strong enough,” they say. It was enough to show at least one banner recently with a handful of activists: “The capitalists are well organized. When do we organize their overthrow?” For 30 years they have believed that the working youth will gather. But capitalism probably won’t have to fear the FDJ for years to come either.
After all, there are figures from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Bavaria on the “Workers Union for the Reconstruction of the KPD”, which is affiliated with the FDJ. The revolutionary Marxist organization has 80 members there. The focus is not on the activists of the Arbeiterbund and FDJ, they have not been assigned to violent left-wing extremism, therefore only relevant individual findings are collected and recorded, said Bavaria’s constitutional protector.
Regensburg: stronghold of the FDJ
Where the workers’ union appears, there are usually groups from the FDJ: Nuremberg, Munich, Ingolstadt, Regensburg. Jan Haas, the press spokesperson for the FDJ, is from Regensburg. He shortly canceled a video interview with Chillreport.
A few weeks ago, in July, he said powerful words in cameras: the goal of the FDJ is “the overthrow of the government and sooner or later in the struggle, in the strike, in the organization of the creation of a socialist Soviet state”. He said this during an FDJ march in Jena, and several broadcasters reported. “Glorification of the GDR: the FDJ is back”, headlines the BR, “The return of the FDJ” der Spiegel.
For years, Haas was active in the “Socialist Youth of Germany – Die Falken” in Lower Bavaria, planning protests with FDJ members in the face of a “republic emergency” and was already sitting with them on their couch. He has now switched to the FDJ, like most active “Falken” in Regensburg since a group was founded there in October 2019. The FDJ can even report something like a success.
The Regensburgers are one of the FDJ’s trump cards: at a demonstration in March in Zwickau, Saxony, a Regensburg woman was the applicant. Two other Regensburg residents at the demonstration have now been accused of trespassing for helping two women with ladders on the balcony of the town hall.
On the balcony of the town hall: After the Zwickau action in March, charges were filed against FDJ activists from Regensburg, Nuremberg and Bremen. Western communists have taken over the Eastern Association. (Source: Facebook / Campaign Office)
These women, one from Nuremberg and one from Bremen, are accused of trespassing. Activists from West Germany, where the FDJ is still banned today, are heading East for rallies. There, the GDR association with the treaties for reunification was not prohibited and therefore permitted, but it no longer has a basis. The strange legal situation repeatedly led to bizarre situations: investigations against blue shirts for allegedly using symbols of the unconstitutional organization FDJ-West, which in turn declared it to be the identical badge of the FDJ-Ost.
In Bremen on the Daimler works council
The Bremen FDJ activists regularly take an old GDR truck, type W50, as an eye-catcher and stage, and it was also in the entourage on the day of the German reunification. Bremen has been one of the most important locations for the FDJ for years. Green politician Henrike Müller, parliamentary deputy for citizenship of Bremen, sent a request to the Senate when she suddenly saw stickers of the FDJ in many corners of the city in 2019. Müller comes from the East, she experienced the GDR as an unjust state and “always notes how little knowledge there was in Bremen about the situation at that time”.
She is pleased with the Senate’s response: “The answer shows that these people are on the radar.” The Senate wrote to her that the goals of the FDJ were incompatible with the basic free-democratic order, “because they consider it correct in their publications that political goals can be pursued by force”. Unlike violent autonomous groups, there is no immediate danger.
The Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania state government responded dryly to an AfD request: the motto and campaign showed that the group “continues to pursue the ideological goals of the GDR mass organization. Against this background, the state government does not count. greater campaign response. “
In the FDJ stronghold of Bremen, some are especially surprised by an alleged contradiction: how is it possible that people who want to abolish the system also work at Daimler? “Many in the workforce find this strange”, says Michael Peters, chairman of the Daimler Works Council in Bremen. The FDJ has been represented there for years.
“Revolution & Socialism”: The FDJ with a banner for their “30 years is enough” campaign, protesting for months against the “annexation” during the reunification. According to their own statements, this has brought in some new members to the “Friends of the Free German Youth”. (Source: Facebook / FDJ Nürnberg)
One of the most active FDJ women is currently a member of the works council, at least one comrade was available for election and the views of the FDJ and works council consistently appear on flyers together. The popularity of communist positions among the workforce is low and declining, Peters says. After all, there have been no successes of right-wing extremist union members such as in the south of Germany in Bremen.
When she was 13, the federal chairman wrote a letter to pastors
The current federal chairman Kattrin Kammrad is also from the Hanseatic city and was enthusiastic about the FDJ as a child. She wrote to her predecessor Ringo Ehlert in 2003, “I’m only 13 years old so I didn’t notice much of the fall of the wall and all, but I still think you made the only right decision.”
It was about a decision by Ehlert to completely refuse military service and community service. He would serve in the National People’s Army, he said. But not in the “army of occupation” in the area of ”the annexed GDR”. Ehlert’s uncompromising attitude made him an icon for Ostalgiker.
Under him as chairman, the FDJ became more visible again. “A second attempt at FDJ” is the headline of the 2005 Lausitzer Rundschau. And in 2007 there was excitement in Berlin about why Ehlert had received approval for an action at Alexanderplatz. The BZ wrote about a “scary show”. “The FDJ is back,” noted the “Berliner Morgenpost”, analyzing: Your activists mingled again among the German people, “gaining sympathy, new members, and strength.”
It was then that Ehlert announced, “We have found our way back to our roots”, we are no longer a harmless “nostalgic association” with West German structures. As a result, members in FDJ shirts also presented themselves for an event to commemorate those who died in the wall. And in 2020, press spokesman Haas told a journalist that the criticism of the GDR transfiguration was “boring.”
Information about the GDR: the then president of the FDJ Ringo Ehlert at an exhibition at Alexanderplatz on the occasion of the 58th anniversary of the founding of the GDR. The Berlin media called it a “horror show”. Before October 3, 2020, he and his association “Undiscovered Land” planned to take a similar action there – as the FDJ demonstration led to. (Source: Bernd Friedel / Image Images)
But back to 2002, when Ringo Ehlert was on the verge of trial for desertion, excitement and media coverage was high, even when the negotiation was eventually canceled. He had not only received support from 13-year-old Kattrin from Bremen. The last GDR secret service chief Markus Wolf and former Bundestag members Dietmar Bartsch and Ulla Jelpke also sent public messages of solidarity.
In 2020, Jelpke will be on the left in the Bundestag. She does not belong to the circle of sponsors of the FDJ and has no contact with responsible officials, she explains. But she has no problem with it when the FDJ speaks of the ‘annexation of the GDR’, which has produced a ‘Greater German Empire’, ‘which is a murderous enemy of the liberation of the peoples of this earth and now for once. and be defeated and defeated forever. must”.
It’s “a bit cheeky”, “but not bad in terms of content”. United and re-sovereign Germany, in contrast to divided Germany, is at war again. Press spokesman Haas also mentions the Kosovo war as his key moment.
Jelpke goes on to say that under the “takeover of the GDR by the FRG,” numerous East Germans “still suffered as second-class citizens with lower wages, lower pension rights and a state-sponsored de-legitimation of GDR biographies,” the resident said. from Hamburg.
Ramelow: “Another sect”
On the one hand, many on the left share the criticism and see the FDJ much more critical. When blue shirts marched through Jena in the summer, Thuringia’s left-wing prime minister Bodo Ramelow said, “Another sect at the start.” The local left party opposed it with the SPD, Greens, CDU and FDP. “This march deserves opposition on party lines,” said a joint statement. “Neither your nervous view of history nor the analysis of our society today are correct.”
The federal party cannot make such a commitment. A spokeswoman said there was “no relationship” with the FDJ. As a result, there is no explicit position of the party. It has long had another youth association, the Left Youth [‘solid]. And he has “no interest in a relationship with the FDJ,” said federal manager Janis Walter. “We live in 2020.”
Irritated questions keep coming up, for example about meeting at a common address: If you look for the contact details of the Free German Youth, you will come across the Karl-Liebknecht-Haus in Berlin. There, the Central Council of the FDJ and the party headquarters of the left have been under one roof since the 1990s. The phone number differs from the left extension numbers only in the last three digits.
That is another part of the building and the party is not the landlord, the party spokeswoman explains. The building is owned by Linken’s own Vulkan Gesellschaft für Grundbesitz mbH. But even their director does not answer whether the FDJ has a room or whether pure mailbox addresses are rented. The FDJ does not even respond to questions via e-mail. Actually, she doesn’t need the address on the left. According to “Cicero” she has an office in a different location: in the building of “New Germany”, the old SED party newspaper, dreams are made about the old GDR and the end of the Federal Republic.