60 Years Later, Germany Recalls Its Anti-Soviet Revolt

Germans cast stones at Soviet tanks in East Berlin on June 17, 1953.

New York Times, By Alison Smale,

Published: June 17, 2013

BERLIN — The German president recalls it as an electrifying moment. One of Berlin’s most resplendent avenues is named simply the “Street of June 17” in remembrance. But the heady, short-lived uprising by hundreds of thousands of East Germans 60 years ago on Monday has never lived in history as the more famous anti-Communist revolts that followed — in Hungary and Poland in 1956, in Prague in 1968 and in Poland again in 1980-81.

Joachim Gauck, the first Easterner to be president of the reunited Germany, was 13 at the time, living in the Baltic port of Rostock, he told Parliament in a quietly emotional speech on Friday. “But I remember very clearly the sense of euphoria that the dockworkers were on strike,” Mr. Gauck said. “I was sure that something new was under way.”

It took 36 more years before East Germans rose up en masse again, and the Berlin Wall fell. And now, almost 24 years after that, Mr. Gauck sits in Bellevue Palace, and Angela Merkel, another Easterner, in the Chancellery. So commemorations of the 60th anniversary were infused not just by Germans’ penchant for marking round dates but also by a sense of putting the 1953 uprising on more of a pedestal.

As Ms. Merkel noted Monday, the revolt was the forerunner to 1989. Norbert Lammert, the president of Parliament’s lower house, wryly lauded the event’s place in the “the not-so-rich history” of Germans fighting for liberation.

The uprising actually began on June 16, 1953, when construction workers in East Berlin marched down what was then Stalinallee to the seat of the Communist government, demanding that it rescind an increase in work hours and calling for a general strike the next day.

That call to strike was broadcast by RIAS — Radio in the American Sector, in West Berlin — and picked up throughout East Germany. As historians now know, from studying archives after Communism’s fall, more than one million people in about 700 cities, towns and villages heeded the summons to strike and demonstrate on June 17.

But the revolt — the first uprising against the Soviet rule imposed on Eastern Europe after 1945 — was swiftly put down. The Soviet high commissioner, Vladimir Semyonov, declared a state of emergency and sent Soviet tanks into the streets in several cities, said Manfred Wilke, a prominent historian who specializes in East Germany.

Professor Wilke noted that the uprising originated in Moscow. In 1952, he said, Stalin decreed a tightening of Communist rule in the Soviet zone of Germany: collectivization of agriculture, attacks on the middle class and the Evangelical Church, the raising of a 300,000-strong army.

Loyal East German Communists embarked on the harsh course, but after Stalin died in March 1953, his successors in Moscow reversed it, in part because of their alarm that 500,000 East Germans had fled to the West in the months after Stalin’s 1952 decrees (the Berlin Wall had not yet been built). East Germany’s Communist leaders were told of the new Moscow line on June 4, 1953, and after much wrangling they issued a decree that admitted “the party has made mistakes,” Professor Wilke said.

That admission, combined with the lengthening of the workday, prompted the workers’ march down Stalinallee, the professor added in a telephone interview.

Lutz Rackow, now 81, was one of the few journalists to chronicle that march. Invited to lunch with a dozen or so other witnesses at the presidential palace on Monday, he expressed joy. “This is historically overdue,” Mr. Rackow said. “I love what is now happening.”

Several hundred yards away, on the Street of June 17, which pierces the park between Brandenburg Gate and old West Berlin, Karin Netzband, 70, has run a snack stand for more than 40 years. She was only 10 when the uprising happened, but she said she clearly remembered the Soviet tanks and the stone-throwing. Ms. Netzband drew parallels — as did more official speakers, like Mr. Lammert — with what is happening in Turkey today. In East Berlin, she said, it started with workers’ demands; in Istanbul, “it all started with a park, and now they’ve begun demanding more freedoms and democracy too.”

Continue reading here

But there is more to the story….

The picture below is the protest against the Soviets in front of the still burnt out Reichstag in 1948.

Berlin protest 1948

So, here is proof that Germans do not just “go along to get along”!

But what do they not tell us in the New York Times article? They don’t tell you is that there had also been strikes and mass protests in western occupied Germany after the war against the so-called “liberators” who were deliberately starving the Germans, until former President Hoover intervened as I mentioned in another recent post.

The picture below is from the Winter of Hunger Demonstration in  Krefeld, 1947

Krefeld, Hungerwinter, Demonstration

The sign says “We want coal and we want bread!” (‘Kohle’ means coal but is also a slang term for money, so it is unclear if coal for heating or money is meant in this context. It could be either).

Please note that there was never any such mass dissatisfaction and no such mass revolts against the NS government of Hitler….EVER!  Why not?  Because there was no need for it. Hitler delivered them from slavery and misery. He delivered what he had promised: work, food and a better life for everyone!

Yes, there were Marxist dissenters and agitators who did not want to do their part for the German recovery effort, who were working instead against the will of the German people (as expressed through the legitimate NS govt). THEY got sent to labour camps until they figured out what was expected and required of them in the new Germany.

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8 Responses to 60 Years Later, Germany Recalls Its Anti-Soviet Revolt

  1. Markus says:

    “Norbert Lammert, the president of Parliament’s lower house, wryly lauded the event’s place in the “the not-so-rich history” of Germans fighting for liberation.”

    WTH? Germany’s history is one single struggle for freedom and sovereignty since its birth in 800, and even much earlier when the Germans lived their ancient way of life and worshipped Odin.

    The revolt against the Weimar “good for nothings” by the NSDAP uprising patriots was the zenit of this triumph against oppression in recent history. This Lammert is such a bum. Nationalsozialismus rallied against the “Marxist phenomenon” in Germany in the 1920’s and ’30 already. This didn’t start on June 17, 1953.

    • elentari98 says:

      Thanks for your clarifying remark Markus.

      Is it true that Angela Merkel is Jewish?

      • Butterkeks says:

        It has been speculated.
        However, solid proven facts are, she was an agitation and propaganda officer in GDR’s “FDJ”, the stalinist youth organization, and spied on the dissidents.
        Her Stasi cover name was “IM Erika”.
        He husband already worked in GDR times for US biotech firm, and was privileged enough to leave the soviet prison. He likely wrote her dissertation too which has been made disappear..

        And there is the rumor that she is the illegitimate child of Helmut Kohl, who is a cryto jew. as all FRG chancellor post 1945 have been jewish or collaborated with them.

        Anyway, Merkel has a principally corrupt policy, and everybody who pays enough will get it. In fact, Deutsche Bank(only in the name still German) make FRG laws and policies.
        I call the FRG the Federal Ruse of Goldmann and Sachs.

      • Butterkeks says:


        I don’t know if you read German, but excellent article.

        I may find some time to translate it.

      • Butterkeks says:

        Btw, since jewish NY times mentioned “President” Gauck…. his Stasi cover name was “IM Larve”.
        And to make things worse, “Defense Minister” De Maiziere is considered to become new NATO chief.
        His brother was last GDR chief, Stasi, who participated in the ‘reunification’ scam,

        In fact, the FRG firm is headed by 3 former Stasi spies.
        Sad, for what have we been on the streets in 1989?

  2. Markus says:

    Regarding the uprising in the Western occupation zone in 1948, I only refer to Hitler’s expression “Die Marxistischen Parteien” The Marxist parties or “Die Kommunistische Partei und ihre Demokratischen Verbündeten” The Communist party and its Democratic Allies.

    The German NPD calls them now the bloc parties (Social Democrats, Christian Democrats/Socialists, Communist Socialists, Free Democrats and Greens). They can’t unite on anything other than being united against the NPD (which resembles the NSDAP in some ways).

    Interesting is also Die Deutsche Partei in West Germany after 1945 in this context.


  3. Netzband says:

    The poster from 1947 meant “coal”, there wasn’t enough there of anything needed for living and the towns in ruins. I think at first in 45 one couldn’t buy much with money. It took years to rebuild factories and schools. It’s hard to imagine how life was at that time, I wonder but things began to work again, like the railways, despite so much being destructed and taken away by the occupying armies still in that time.
    This president of the Bundestag is a frontman Zionist and guilt-preacher like all of them selected politicians. They are obliged by the “treaty” 1954 (I think: Ueberleitungsvertrag) and again by an addition in 1990 to the 4+2 “treaty” to respect the rulings of the Nuremberg military tribunals – but they never admit that. This can be read at:
    (from his book: Schultze Rhonhof: 1939) – so the modern politicians tell total lies, as You said, Germans defendet ourselves against Bolshewism in the 20ies as in second worldwar of course and the people in the soviet zone in many ways resisted the Bolsevism. Good to remember 17. of June.

    • netzband says:

      If you have got that book by Schultze Rhonhof, the quote must be somewhere at the beginning, first chapters. The book is an objective, sober and rational investigation of history, the causes, diplomacy, economics.. which led to the war against Poland 39 from “Bagdad-railway”, Versailles on… as you would exspect from a general,retired, that he is.

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