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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June 19, 1953


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    The Czechoslovak Communist Party reports the reaction of the Czechoslovak public to the recent East German Uprising. Regional and demographic differences are discussed.
    "CPCz Information Bulletin on Czechoslovak Reaction to the Events in East Germany," June 19, 1953, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Archiv ÚV KSC, fond 014/12, sveka 11, ar. i 182, listo 8. Obtained and translated by Oldrich Tuma
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Informational Bulletin #44/53

Contents: Reception of the resolution of the government of the GDR and the events in Berlin.

Reaction to the resolution of the government of the GDR and the events in Berlin.

The reports on the GDR government measures and the events in Berlin attracted much attention in our country. Many people, party members and other workers, understand the significance of the GDR government measures for the unification of Germany and the conclusion of a peace accord. The general public is considering the events with restraint, and awaiting commentaries to the reports to be printed in the papers. However, reactionary elements from the ranks of former merchants, entrepreneurs, et al. are springing into action and are openly voicing their conviction that their time has come, and that now their enterprises will be returned to them. They are working in tandem with the arguments of the “Voice of Free Europe” and are disseminating the most senseless speeches. The first reports are already revealing where these elements are to be found--in the commercial network, construction projects, etc.

Many alarming reports about the new currency reform and others have cropped up.

There are reports from the countryside in which rumors about the liquidation of the JZD [Standard Farming Cooperative] and the transition to private enterprise are being spread; kulaks especially are striving for this.

Regional and district Party organs are on alert, are following the reaction, instructing party functionaries, and reporting on the development of the situation to the CPCz CC.

Dissemination of reports on the events in the GDR.

Comrades in Prague [District] I are stating that rumors of a revolution in Germany have been spread among the people. Several members and functionaries of the party are saying that last night they were listening to foreign broadcasts and heard that comrade Grotewohl and comrade Walter Ulbricht were calling all parties to action in the GDR and were mobilizing the entire country for further measures.

Comrade Ctibor, who is on a business trip to Berlin, called the Koospol factory in Prague VII and said that Berlin is under a state of martial law. He literally told the comrade whom he called that he had to close the window because tanks are riding by and making noise below. This was repeated among the other employees.

In the Místek region, various reactionary opinions are being spread among the population, such as, for example, those enterprises that are not fulfilling the plan should be returned to the industrialists, as in the GDR. Contributing to the dissemination of these opinions is the fact that the GDR government’s resolution was published without commentary.

The workers in Ustecek are generally not informed about what is going on; they point out that our broadcasts do not state anything and that in many places, as in Ústí, Litomerice and Teplice, reports from foreign broadcasts are being spread.

In the Ceské Budejovice region the events in Berlin are known only in individual cases--in Krumlov, Vimperk, Strakonice and Trebon. In Krumlov and Vimperk there is talk of these events primarily among citizens of German nationality. It is not clear how to explain the SED reaction. Speculation is spreading in the region that the Soviet Union and the USA have agreed not to continue socialization in Germany and other People’s Democratic countries and that there will be a return to private enterprise.

Which measures are being undertaken by the KV (Regional Committee), OV (District Committee) and the basic party organizations.

The municipal council of the CPCz in Prague called the chief secretaries of the district committees of the party to the regional secretariat and discussed with them the contents of the teleprint from the CPCz CC. At the same time, it was arranged for a letter from the regional committee to be sent by car personally to the first secretaries of all the town party councils.

In the Mladá Boleslav region, the comrades want to do a presentation on the resolution of the GDR government. They request that this presentation be introduced first in the regional center and in the reading-room in Prague.

In the Nové Strasecí region, the comrades announced that, on the basis of the letter received from the regional CPCz council, the duty in the factories is ascertained. The comrades are confirming information about worker opinion of the events in the GDR. Security measures were discussed with the comrades in important districts.

In the regional committee of the CPCz in Prague-South, the comrades state that on Thursday, 18 June, they will discuss the contents of the CPCz CC teleprint at the regional CPCz committee meeting and will charge individual regional committee members with pertinent tasks in the factories in the area. On Friday they will submit a report on the general situation in the district.

In VZKG, the wire works, CSD [Czechoslovak State Railways] and the chemical factory in Bohumín, all chairmen of party organizations were summoned, and the situation in the GDR as well as their duties in the workplace were explained to them.

In the Ostrava-center region, contact was made with trustworthy comrades-functionaries in management, distribution and offices. They will observe the situation within their sphere of influence and report on it.

In all regional committees of the CPS in the Banská Bystrica region, measures were undertaken based on instructions received from the CPCz CC.

In the Olomouc region, the first secretaries of the regional committees confirmed, through the most trustworthy workers in the area, the research [that has been done] in several important factories and villages. In the regional committee of the CPCz and in all the regional committees, night shifts have been confirmed.

Reception of the GDR government resolution in the factories.

In the Czechoslovak army’s power station in Karviná, word went around that there was a general strike in Berlin. In the power stations in Suchá and Dukla, rumors were spread that tanks were used in the struggle in Berlin.

In the Válcovny pipe factory in Svinov, Mariánské Hory district, Ostrava region, it was also rumored that martial law was in effect in Berlin and that the Red Army is keeping order.

In the factory of the CKD [Kolben-Danek Machinery Works] Modrany, it was said that there are demonstrations in Berlin.

In the cement factory in Hranice, where there are fitters from the GDR who listen to the broadcasts, they say that there are strikes and martial law in Berlin, that tanks were used and that a lot of people fled from East to West. This can be heard only from the fitters from the GDR; otherwise, no one talks of this.

Reaction in the villages.

The secretary of the regional committee of the CPCz in Mladá Boleslav, comrade Pospísil, states that in the villages, especially in the JZD, rumors are being spread saying that the members of cooperatives will farm together until the harvest, then everyone will work on their own. Reports on the situation in the GDR in some cases take advantage of the kulaks for their own purposes.

In Pochválov and Kozojedy in the district of Nová Strasecí, there is talk that the dissolution of the JZD will occur and that individual farmsteads will be handed over to private persons. In the village of Citoliby, Louny region, the evacuated kulak Václav Vakr was visiting and spreading reports that before long, he will be sowing fields all by himself again.

In the Ceské Budejovice region, the kulaks and merchants, in isolated cases until now, are spreading rumors that there will be no more cooperatives in our country, and that the kulaks and those who were deprived of their property will get their enterprises and businesses back.

During a meeting in Horosedly, Písek region, Comrade Hasková stood up and said that there will also be a revision of the party line in our country, that in any case the JZD could not ensure a sufficient quantity of products, that kulaks are being supported in the German Democratic Republic, and that they will also be supported here. In answer to the question about where she obtained such reports, she replied that she heard it from officials in positions higher than those in the district, but she did not name anybody. Seventeen members were present from the JZD in Horosedly who said that they will once again farm privately and that they will receive more support from the state.

In the Jesenice region in the district of Bernartice, Bílý Potok and in the ONV (District National Committee), there emerged a concern that the Germans will return to the border regions.

In the Bruntál in the Moravský Kocov and Staré Mesto districts, the farmers announced that they will wait to herd their livestock back to the barns until they see that what is happening in Germany will not happen here. The regional committee of the CPCz called a public meeting for tomorrow in these regions to clarify all uncertainties.

In the district of Pnovice in the Litovel region, one farmer stated that in the GDR they had to move away from hard line politics, and that even here it is impossible to punish the farmers so harshly for not fulfilling supply demands.

Jan Hudec from Slovenské Klaciany, the former owner of a blacksmith business as well as a landowner, stated that they are returning land in the GDR because the farmers were so impoverished that the communists could not resolve the situation in any other way. He stated further that it is to be expected that our JZDs will also begin to break down. He himself is [as?] a member of the JZD intends to withdraw from it.

Arguments of the reaction.

In the Stavoprojekt factory in Prague VII, former entrepreneurs are rejoicing over the situation and say that if what is happening in Germany will also happen here, they will get their property back. Similar tendencies are manifesting themselves mainly in privileged societies.

Also in Prague VII, businessmen spoke about getting their businesses back and are thus inciting the workers.

In Prague I in the field of gardening, the farmers and reactionary elements are happy that things will come out in their favor here and are delighted that things are worsening in Germany.

In the Children’s House in Prague Na Príkopec, in the confectionery department, the former farmers are happy that the store will once again belong to them, and one of the employees—Boucek--announced that if it got to that point, he would not be afraid to do business again even though he is 60 years old.

Discussions about the GDR government measures are especially lively among the farmers in Prostejov. In the Agrostroj they talk about the shooting in Berlin and how the Russians are burning factories. Half a million workers are allegedly on strike and have banners that say: “Away with the Red Army.”

Pavel Valach, miller in the Cervenany district in the Modrý Kámen region, expressed his opinion that the communist regime is collapsing, that the communists in the GDR are making concessions so they can save themselves for at least a short time.

Dr. Pauliny in the Stavoindustri of Banská Bystrica said that the GDR government had to carry out these measures because the workers were constantly on strike.

The brothers Kaukolikov, former factory workers in Banská Bystrica, reacted to the affair with the feeling that it would be good if a similar situation were to take place in the CSR.

Various findings.

In the factories of Prague XII, the discussion is mostly about paid vacations. People are saying that half of the vacation will be paid 1:50 and the other half 1:5.

The chief secretary of the D[istrict] C[ommittee] CPCz in Kladno indicates that the employees of the State Bank in Kladno and the branches in Bustehrad are spreading reports that in three months there will be a new monetary reform and everyone will start from zero. The emptying of bank accounts is particularly strong here.

Comrade Silhácek indicates that he was notified by the regional STB [State Security] wing in Kladno that on Friday, 19 June, wages are supposed to be paid in the SONP, Kladno. Since on the last payday the amount of money paid was high, this one will be smaller, and the state security is warning that there may be unrest.

In the Sverma mine in the Mariánské Hory district in the Ostrava region, there was unrest during the night of the 17th to the 18th of June because wages will be paid only on the 24th of June. On Thursday morning miners swore at Comrade Chairman Dvorák that state discipline, as Comrade Zápotocký discussed it, by all accounts does not apply to combines.

In a series of mines in Slezská Ostrava, there is also talk of late payments scheduled for 24 June, and the employees are dissatisfied.

According to the reports of the head of the STB in Ostrava, Comrade Král, there is a rumor being spread in the region that they will print money and there will be passbooks.

In the factory OZ 02 in Prostejov, they are saying that in the GDR they are in the first phase of the NEP; party members cannot understand it and demand that the party submit an explanation.

In the factories in Olomouc, they also demand that the resolution of the SED and the GDR government be more clearly explained.