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Digital Archive International History Declassified

July 08, 1953

OTTO GROTEWOHL'S HANDWRITTEN NOTES ON THE SED CC POLITBURO MEETING

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    In this meeting on July 8 1953 SED Politburo discussed changes in the internal structure of the party organization.
    "Otto Grotewohl's Handwritten Notes on the SED CC Politburo Meeting," July 08, 1953, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, SAPMO-BArch IV 2/2/363. Published in Cold War International Project Bulletin no. 10 (March 1998), pp. 100-101. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/110976
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Grotewohl: reports on 2 commission sessions of the reorganization commission

Herrnstadt: refuses to take office of first secretary

Honecker: one cannot blame Ulbricht alone. It would damage the Party if U[lbricht] would resign as Gen[eral] Sec[retary] and as First Secretary. Proposal for supplementing Wandel-Winzer.

Zaisser: my suggestion [is] Herrnstadt since he was more in tune with the people than we [were]. Proposal is not an ideal solution. My argument is: W.U. is no more responsible for the wrong course (2nd Party conference) than we all are. His fault is the naked administering--wrong education of the cadres etc. That has spoiled the Party, the New Course cannot be implemented with this attitude. He therefore has to be kept at a distance from the party apparatus. [To leave] the apparatus in the hands of W.U. would be catastrophic for the New Course.

Ulbricht: The proposal by Herrnstadt + Zaisser for the elimination of the secretariat is dangerous. The proposal by Zaisser to name Herrnstadt as First Sec[retary] is the logical consequence.

Zaisser: protests against [this]. U. had agreed on the elimination of the Secretariat.

Herrnstadt: likewise

Rau: U.'s work methods inhibit the Party. Does U. have the will to change this? The past weeks have not shown this. If somebody other than Walter takes over the party organization and becomes first secretary, this would be better.

Ackermann: one also has to change the cabinet. Gr[otewohl] has to be obligated to express in [illegible] that no decisions had yet been made.


The Party has to recover but not with W.U.

Ebert: for secretaries. It would be a gain for the Party if Cde. W.U. would state himself that somebody else had to be first secretary.

E. Schmidt: I was completely frightened, welcome the free and serious presentation by Zaisser. You [Ulbricht] cannot remain any longer at the top of the party.

Matern: U. must be first secretary.

Oelssner: H[errnstadt]'s and Zaisser's appearance signifies the existence of factions. U. has considered all of us as stupid. W. has not learned his lessons. One has to work as a collective. There is no need for a first secretary. Instead collective decision-[making].

Jendretzky: W. has learned nothing.

Mückenberger: there was no central leadership for the districts. Everybody is overworked.

Gr[otewohl]: I cannot make a final statement in Moscow

W.U.: To acknowledge the criticism was correct.
My behavior [regarding the ostentatious celebration of my] birthday [was] mistaken.
I will take the stand in the C[entral] C[ommittee].
I am not of the opinion that I have to be first secr[retary]. This takes confidence which has to be renewed again.

U: Proposals by H[errnstadt] and Zai[sser] i[n] [the] committee were an experiment.
I will make a statement before the CC.

[Source: SAPMO-BArch IV 2/2/363. Published in Cold War International Project Bulletin no. 10 (March 1998), pp. 100-101.]