The German Communist Party (German: Deutsche Kommunistische Partei, DKP) is a minor communist party in Germany. The DKP supports far-left positions and was an observer member of the European Left. At the end of February 2016 it left the European party.
German Communist Party
Deutsche Kommunistische Partei
|Headquarters||Hoffnungstraße 18, 45127 Essen|
|Youth wing||Socialist German Workers Youth|
|European Parliament group||No MEPs|
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The DKP considered itself a reconstitution of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD), which had been banned by the Federal Constitutional Court in 1956 for its aggressively militant opposition to the West German constitution. The new party was formed in 1968 by former KPD functionaries in close cooperation with East Germany's ruling party, the Socialist Unity Party (SED), from which the DKP received both political directives and – through covert transfers – most of its funds.
The foundation was preceded by talks between former KPD functionaries and Gustav Heinemann, the West German minister of justice, who explained to them that while a refounding of a banned party was not legally possible, Communists were free to form an entirely new party. Even though the close links to the banned KPD made the new party liable to be declared illegal, no such declaration was requested by the German government as West German authorities were liberalizing the attitude towards the communist bloc and East Germany in particular.
The DKP remained on the political fringe, never winning more than 0.3% of the total votes in federal elections. It had relatively greater local support in the 1970s: it achieved up to 2.2% of the vote in Hamburg, 3.1% in Bremen and 2.7% in the Saarland. Following German reunification, the DKP entered a steady decline.
The DKP received national public attention in early 2008 when Christel Wegner, elected to the state parliament of Lower Saxony on the list of the Left Party as the first DKP member of a state parliament, allegedly endorsed the Berlin Wall, the Stasi and other aspects of the East German state in an interview. This caused embarrassment to the national Left Party leadership. Despite denying that she made the controversial statements (at least in the form that was reported) she was expelled from the Left Party faction a few days later.
The party operates a weekly newspaper, unsere zeit.
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Christel Wegner (born November 16, 1947 in Hamburg) is a German Communist politician. In 2008, she was elected to the assembly of Lower Saxony for Die Linke, although she is a member of the German Communist Party (DKP), which until now has cooperated closely with that party. Shortly after her election, she gained widespread attention when it was claimed by a TV program that she had called for the return of the Stasi and justified the construction of the Berlin Wall, also voicing her support for Margot Honecker. The Left party distanced itself from her and on February 18, 2008 she was expelled from The Left Party parliamentary group.Christian von Ditfurth
Wolf-Christian von Ditfurth (born March 14, 1953) is a German author and historian. He was a member of the German Communist Party from 1973 to 1983. In January 1998, he joined the SPD, remaining a member for two years. During the twenty-first century he has not joined a political party.
As a journalist, Ditfurth has published numerous articles in Der Spiegel. Since 1999 also been a writer of sensational and detective novels.
A member of the Ditfurth family, his father Hoimar von Ditfurth was a journalist, doctor, popular television presenter and writer, while his sister, Jutta Ditfurth, is a journalist and politician.Emil Carlebach
Emil Carlebach (10 July 1914, Frankfurt, Hesse-Nassau - 9 April 2001) was a Hessian Landtag member, a writer, and a journalist. He was born and died in Frankfurt am Main.Franz Josef Degenhardt
Franz Josef Degenhardt (3 December 1931 – 14 November 2011) was a German poet, satirist, novelist, and – first and foremost – a folksinger/songwriter (Liedermacher) with decidedly left-wing politics. He was also a lawyer, bearing the academic degree of Doctor of Law.Degenhardt was born in Schwelm, Westphalia. After studying law from 1952 to 1956 in Cologne and Freiburg, he passed the first German state bar examination in 1956 and the second in 1960. In 1961, he worked for the Europa-Institut of the University at Saarbrücken, where he obtained his doctorate in 1966. Degenhardt joined the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) in 1961, but was forced out in 1971 because of his support for the German Communist Party (DKP), which he joined in 1978.
From the early 1960s onward, in addition to practicing law, Degenhardt was also performing and releasing recordings. He is perhaps most famous for his song (and the album of the same name) Spiel nicht mit den Schmuddelkindern ("Don't Play With the Grubby Children," 1965), but has released close to 50 albums, starting with Zwischen Null Uhr und Mitternacht ("Between 00:00 and Midnight," 1963), renamed Rumpelstilzchen (original title: Zwischen Null Uhr Null und Mitternacht); his most recent albums Krieg gegen den Krieg ("War against the War") and Dämmerung ("twilight") came out in 2003 and 2006. In 1968, Degenhardt was involved in trials of members of the German student movement, principally defending social democrats and communists. At the same time, he was – in his capacity as a singer-songwriter – one of the major voices of the 1968 student movement. In 1972 he translated the song "Here's to You" under the title Sacco und Vanzetti with five new verses. On his 1977 album Wildledermantelmann he criticized many of his former comrades from that era for what he saw as their betrayal of socialist ideals and shift towards a social-liberal orientation. The album's title (roughly, "man with velour coat") mocks the style of clothing they had supposedly adopted.
Notably, the songs on Degenhardt's 1986 album Junge Paare auf Bänken ("Young Couples on the Benches"), along with the song Vorsicht Gorilla! ("Beware of Gorilla") on the 1985 album of the same name, are his translations into German of chansons by the French singer-songwriter Georges Brassens, spiritually perhaps one of his closest musical allies.
Degenhardt has also written several novels, most in a rather autobiographical vein, among others: Zündschnüre ("Slow Matches", 1972), Brandstellen ("Scenes of Fires", 1974), Der Liedermacher (1982) and Für ewig und drei Tage ("For Ever and Three Days", 1999).
He was a cousin of the Catholic Archbishop of Paderborn, Johannes Joachim Degenhardt, who died in 2002. He is also the brother-in-law of the American-born illustrator Gertrude Degenhardt, who has designed many of his album covers for him. Degenhardt lived, till his death in 2011, in Quickborn, Kreis Pinneberg, in Schleswig-Holstein.Gabriele Zimmer
Gabriele "Gabi" Zimmer (born 7 May 1955) is a German politician and Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Germany. She is a member of The Left, part of the European United Left–Nordic Green Left.
She has been a member of the East German communist party, the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) and its successors, continuously since 1981. The party was renamed SED-PDS in 1989, PDS in 1990 and Die Linkspartei.PDS in 2005. In 2007 it merged with WASG to form Die Linke. She was chairwoman of then-PDS from 2000 to 2003. From 1990 to 1998, she was chairwoman of the PDS at the regional level in Thuringia. From October 1990 until July 2004 she served as a member of the Landtag of Thuringia.
Other political functions:
1990-1998 Chairperson of PDS in Thuringia
Since 1995 Member of the PDS Executive Board
1996–2000 Vice Chairwoman of PDS
1999–2000 Chairwoman of PDS in the Thuringian Parliament
2000–03 Chairwoman of PDS
2004- Member of the European Parliament
2012- Chair of Confederal Group of the European United Left–Nordic Green LeftGisela Elsner
Gisela Elsner (2 May 1937, Nuremberg, Middle Franconia - May 13, 1992, Munich) was a German writer. She won the Prix Formentor in 1964 for her novel Die Riesenzwerge (The Dwarf Giant, Rowohlt, (Gallimard), 1961).Gisela Kessler
Gisela Kessler (June 3, 1935–May 14, 2014) was a German trade unionist.Grugahalle
Grugahalle is a multi-purpose indoor arena located at the edge of the Botanischer Garten Grugapark in Essen, Germany. Opened on 25 October 1958, its seating capacity is about 7,700 people and about 10,000 for unseated events. The building was heritage-listed in 2000.The Grugahalle is the venue for concerts, sport events, political rallies, annual general meetings of large companies, and live screenings of significant sport events. Notable past events include the concert of Bill Haley and accompanying riots three days after the hall's opening. The Essener Jazztage (Essen Jazz Days) from 1959 to 1961 brought international performers like Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, and the Dave Brubeck Quartet to the city. Later, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, Led Zeppelin, The Who,
Rush, The Grateful Dead and many other groups included the Grugahalle in their tours. Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention gave their first concert in Germany there in front of an audience of 13,000 during the Internationale Essener Songtage in 1968. This was followed in 1969 by the Internationales Essener Pop & Blues Festival which included Fleetwood Mac, Yes, Free, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Muddy Waters, Champion Jack Dupree, the Pretty Things and Tangerine Dream.In September 1971, the Grugahalle was the venue for most of the games of the 1971 European basketball championship. In November 1987, the World Judo Championships were conducted there. Several handball clubs, including TUSEM Essen, used the hall for their home games from 1970 to 2005.
The Grugahalle was the main venue for the 82nd Katholikentag in September 1968, and in 1969 for the convention of the German Communist Party. Later that year, Willy Brandt, Helmut Schmidt, and Franz Josef Strauss held rallies for the 1969 West German federal election. In 1994 the European Council summit convened there.Hannes Heer
Hans Georg Heer (known as Hannes) (born 16 March 1941 in Wissen, Rhine Province) is a German historian, chiefly known for the "Wehrmachtsausstellung" (German Army Exhibition) in the 1990s. While highly controversial at that time, the exhibition is nowadays widely credited with opening the eyes of the German public to the war crimes of the Wehrmacht committed on the East Front during World War II. While having been suspended in 1999, the exhibit reopened in 2001 under the name "Crimes of the German Wehrmacht: Dimensions of a War of Annihilation 1941-1944".Hannes Wader
Hannes Wader (born Hans Eckard Wader on 23 June 1942) is a German singer-songwriter ("Liedermacher"). He has been an important figure in German leftist circles since the 1970s, with his songs covering such themes as socialist and communist resistance to oppression in Europe and other places like Latin America. He both wrote new songs and played versions of older historical works.Heinz Kessler
Heinz Kessler or Heinz Keßler (26 January 1920 – 2 May 2017) was a German communist politician and military officer in East Germany.
In East Germany, he held the rank of Armeegeneral in the National People's Army (Nationale Volksarmee) and was Minister of Defense of the GDR, a member of the Politbüro of the Central Committee of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED), and a deputy of the GDR's Volkskammer (parliament).
Convicted for his role in the deaths of defectors along the Berlin wall, he was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison after German reunification, and served his sentence in Hakenfelde Prison. He was released from prison in 1998 after serving only two years.Herbert Mies
Herbert Mies (23 February 1929 – 14 January 2017) was a German politician. He joined the Communist Party of Germany in 1945. Mies was elected chairman of the (West) German Communist Party in 1973. He was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize in 1985/1986. Mies resigned from his position as party chairman in October 1989.Mies died on 14 January 2017 in his hometown of Mannheim at the age of 87.Jens Scheer
Jens Scheer (30 May 1935 – 18 July 1994), was a physicist, professor of nuclear physics at the University of Bremen and one of Germany's best-known anti-nuclear activists.
Scheer was member of the Communist Party of Germany party (KPD). For reason of his KPD-membership and his political activities, Scheer was threatened in 1975 with the loss of his academic position at the University of Bremen and an interdiction of enacting his profession, as membership in the KPD and his position as university professor were considered incompatible. The legal proceedings lasted for about five years, after which the final verdict was the payment of a fine.One of Scheer's main research interests was low-level radiation and its effects on human beings. He claimed that radiation exposure at critical moments in life weakens the immune system, thus leading to a higher susceptibility to infectious diseases. After the Chernobyl disaster of 1986, he invested considerable efforts in attempting to determine the extent of damage caused in the longer term by this disaster.
In an article, Scheer claimed that low-level radiation had caused the death of millions, when all direct and indirect effects of radiation are taken together. His view was criticized as unfounded.Scheer also published on several stochastic models proposed in the context of quantum theory, in particular those advanced by Jean-Pierre Vigier and by J.C. Aron, and he criticized a prevalence of positivism in quantum physics.In 1994, Scheer died of heart failure.Karl-Eduard von Schnitzler
Karl-Eduard von Schnitzler (April 28, 1918 – September 20, 2001) was an East German communist propagandist and host of the television show Der schwarze Kanal (German: The Black Channel) from March 21, 1960, to October 30, 1989.Lina Haag
Lina Haag née Jäger (18 January 1907 – 18 June 2012) was a German anti-Fascist activist.Max Reimann
Max Reimann (31 October 1898 – 18 January 1977) was a German communist Politician and member of the German Bundestag.Socialist Unity Party of Germany
The Socialist Unity Party of Germany (German: Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands, SED), established in April 1946, was the governing Marxist–Leninist political party of the German Democratic Republic from the country's foundation in October 1949 until its dissolution after the Peaceful Revolution in 1989.
The GDR was a one-party state but other institutional popular front parties were permitted to exist in alliance with the SED, these parties being the Christian Democratic Union, the Liberal Democratic Party, the Democratic Farmers' Party, and the National Democratic Party. The SED made the teaching of Marxism-Leninism and the Russian language compulsory in schools. In the 1980s, the SED rejected the liberalisation policies of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, such as perestroika and glasnost, which would lead to the GDR's isolation from the restructuring USSR and the party's downfall in the autumn of 1989.
The party's dominant figure from 1950 to 1971, and effective leader of East Germany, was Walter Ulbricht. In 1953, an uprising against the Party was met with violent suppression by the Ministry of State Security and the Soviet Army. In 1971, Ulbricht was succeeded by Erich Honecker who presided over a stable period in the development of the GDR until he was forced to step down during the 1989 revolution. The party's last leader, Egon Krenz, was unsuccessful in his attempt to retain the SED's hold on political governance of the GDR and was imprisoned after German reunification.
The SED's long-suppressed reform wing took over the party in the fall of 1989. In hopes of changing its image, on 16 December it renamed itself the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS), abandoning Marxism–Leninism and becoming a mainstream democratic socialist party. It received 16.4% of the vote in the 1990 parliamentary elections. In 2007, the PDS merged with Labour and Social Justice (WASG) into The Left (Die Linke), the fifth largest party in the German parliament following the 2017 federal election.Uwe Timm
Uwe Timm (born 30 March 1940 in Hamburg) is a German writer.