Social Democratic Party in the GDR

Social Democratic Party In The GDR

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Social Democratic Party in the GDR

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The Social Democratic Party in the GDR (Sozialdemokratische Partei in der DDR) was a Social Democratic Party existing during the last phase of the East German state. It eventually merged with the West German Social Democratic Party of Germany.



Early in 1989, the Protestant theologians Markus Meckel and Martin Gutzeit, took the iniative to refound a Social Democrat party in the GDR. The two made organisational preparations and in April 1989 produced the first draft of the foundation appeal. In August, the appeal was presented at the Golgathagemeinde parish in Berlin. The appeal was signed by Meckel, Gutzeit, the director and human rights advocate Ibrahim Böhme and the theologian Arndt Noack.

Calling for the foundation of a political party outside of the system of the National Front was a direct challenge to the political system of the GDR and especially to the ruling Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED), whose basis was undermined by the mere existence of a Social Democratic Party. The SED had been founded in 1946 by a merger of Communists and East German branch of the Social Democrats (which were largely coerced by the Soviet occupation authorities) and based its claim to power on being the sole representative of the working class.

On 7 October 1989, forty or fifty people, mostly from Berlin and the southern parts of the county, assembled at the vicarage of Schwante, a town near Berlin, and founded the Social Democratic Party in the GDR. The party...
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