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Digital Archive International History Declassified

December 07, 1961


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    Detailed summary of Prestes' visit to Berlin and the GDR.
    "Report of Prestes' Stay in Berlin from 27 November to 1 December," December 07, 1961, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, SAPMO-BArch, DY 20, IV 2/20/331. Obtained for CWIHP by Jim Hershberg and translated by Sean O'Grady.
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Subj.: Visit of Cde. Prestes in Berlin from evening of 27.Nov until the morning of 1.Dec

At the last visit of Cde. Sergio Holmos, Member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Brazil, it was agreed that Central Committee members, during their trips to the Soviet Union, should always visit the ČSSR and GDR, because it is important for the Central Committee to at least inform the three Parties of these lands about the political situation in Brazil and to exchange experience.

For this reason, Cde. Prestes came to Berlin on his return trip from the 22nd Party Congress of the CPSU, wanting to study the situation here in Berlin and to acquaint himself with our measures and proposals for the solution of the West Berlin question. The reason for this was the intensified imperialist agitation against the GDR and against a peaceful solution to the West Berlin question, which was observable in the August events in Brazil.

Cde. Prestes had detailed conversations in Moscow with the entire secretariat of the Politburo of the CPSU, where Cde. Khrushchev was also present. He also had a further three-hour personal conversation with Cde. Khrushchev. At a two-day stay in Prague, he had a several hour conversation with Cde. [Antonin] Novotny. In Moscow, he conducted 20 meetings, including one at the Party College and others at similar institutions.

In Berlin he was received by Cde. Grueneberg on Monday evening [27 November 1961] at Ostbahnhof and brought to the Party guesthouse. On Tuesday morning he took part in an inspection of the anti-fascist protection wall. Prestes was accompanied by Gazzaneo, a journalist from the Brazilian party newspaper, who on Tuesday afternoon interviewed the representative of the Minister for Foreign Relations, Cde. Stab, during which time Cde. Prestes conversed with the bras. Cde. Alfredo Gerhardt, Isula Gerhardt, und Fausto Cupertino. In the evening, the Brazilian comrades visited the state opera. On Wednesday morning, we visited the memorial for socialists together with Cde. Mina Ewert, and afterwards the Trade Union College in Bernau, where Prestes spoke before the assembled students. In the afternoon, [Prestes] had a multi-hour conversation with Cde. [Peter] Florin [Director of the SED CC Department of International Relations], and Cde. [Deputy Foreign Minister Georg] Stibi. In the evening we visited the theater of the Berlin Ensemble, where “Frau Flinz” was performed. On this day he also gave a further television interview that was broadcast on Thursday evening. Thursday morning was occupied by conversations with Brazilian students, who had come to Berlin from Leipzig and Freiberg. Students from Berlin were also present at this session. On Thursday afternoon and evening Cde. Prestes visited Cde. Prof. Johann Lorenz Schmidt and the author Anna Seghers. Here again the August events were discussed in detail. Early Friday [1 December 1961] the Brazilian Comrades flew by LOT [Airlines] back to Brazil via Amsterdam - Paris.

In the conversation with Cde. Florin, Cde. Prestes requested that the books of Jorge Amado should, until further notice, not be published in the GDR and that new works from Jorge Amado should no longer be translated.

He named Cde. Helio Contreiras of Leipzig as responsible to the Brazilian Central Committee for the Brazilian students in the GDR, and Cde. Fausto Cupertino as the interim successor for Cde. Alfredo Gerhardt, who returns to Brazil on January 20th. 

P.S. On Thursday at noon, a conversation with Cde. Kiefert and Selbmann of the Berlin district leadership took place. Here, the Berlin situation was substantially and thoroughly discussed. Comrade Gazzaneo also had a discussion with a member of the federal leadership of the FDGB [Free Federation of German Trade Unions] and a conversation with two former border crossers, who now work at EAW Treptow [VEB Electrical Equipment Factory, Berlin-Treptow].