‘Aufarbeitung von Geschichte und Folgen
der SED-Diktatur in Deutschland’
What was the first EnqueteKommission on working through
the history and consequences of
the SED dictatorship in Germany?
After the Wall:
http://afterthewall.bangor.ac.uk
Presentation outline
• What is an Enquete-Kommission?
• The basics of the first Enquete-Kommission
• The aims of the first Enquete-Kommission
• Outcomes of the first Enquete-Kommission
After the Wall:
http://afterthewall.bangor.ac.uk
What is an Enquete-Kommission?
• Working groups set up by national or regional
government.
• Aim to come up with solutions for long-term social
problems or issues.
• The working group should come to a collective
agreement about the issue in question.
• This should represent the majority of the population,
including the interests of marginalised groups.
After the Wall:
http://afterthewall.bangor.ac.uk
The basics of the first Enquete-Kommission
• The first Enquete-Kommission began in 1992 and lasted
for two years.
• Its overarching aim was to work through the history and
consequences of the SED dictatorship in Germany.
• The Enquete-Kommission consisted of members of the
Bundestag, political specialists, eye-witnesses and
academics.
After the Wall:
http://afterthewall.bangor.ac.uk
The aims of the first Enquete-Kommission (1)
The Enquete-Kommission had five aims:
1. To ensure that the dictatorial powers which
oppressed people in the GDR were never given a
political chance in unified Germany.
2. To provide the victims of the regime with ‘historical
justice’ by redressing the injustice of the SED.
3. To contribute to the inner unity of Germany by
increasing awareness about how the SED regime
impacted upon the lives of every person in the GDR
as well as on west German society and politics.
After the Wall:
http://afterthewall.bangor.ac.uk
The aims of the first Enquete-Kommission (2)
4. To contribute to the affirmation of the ‘fundamental
democratic consensus’ in unified Germany by
working through the history and consequences of
the SED dictatorship.
5. To guide the legislative body with regard to
continuing to eliminate the consequences of the
SED regime in Germany.
After the Wall:
http://afterthewall.bangor.ac.uk
Outcomes of the first Enquete-Kommission (1)
1.
Learning through remembering: Germans must
learn from each other’s life experiences. In order to
work through the consequences of the SED regime, it
is necessary to understand how different people lived
within it.
2.
The term ‘dictatorship’: The SED regime should be
known as a dictatorship as it provided no democratic
voting system for the GDR population.
After the Wall:
http://afterthewall.bangor.ac.uk
Outcomes of the first Enquete-Kommission (2)
3.
Continuing to work through the GDR past:
Germany must continue to work intensively through
the history of the SED dictatorship as part of a
democratic political culture.
4.
Duties of research: It is crucial that Germany takes
on the task of researching the SED dictatorship on a
national level. This should include access to the files of
political parties, mass organisations, the judiciary and
the Stasi. The research should also feed into
appropriate learning materials for schools.
After the Wall:
http://afterthewall.bangor.ac.uk
Outcomes of the first Enquete-Kommission (3)
5.
Towards political and moral responsibility: The
perpetrators of the SED regime must be made
responsible for their actions. This will pave the way
towards reconciliation between the perpetrators and
the victims of the regime.
6.
The comparability of totalitarian systems:
Identifying the similarities and differences between the
SED and National Socialist dictatorships contributes to
political self-awareness and democratic culture.
After the Wall:
http://afterthewall.bangor.ac.uk
Outcomes of the first Enquete-Kommission (4)
7.
Working through the past and shaping the future:
As well as working through the consequences of the
SED dictatorship, Germany should remember the
presence of solidarity and resistance in the GDR,
which led to the democratic revolution of 1989. This is
an important part of unified Germany’s identity.
After the Wall:
http://afterthewall.bangor.ac.uk
Useful sources
• A full version of the report can be found at:
http://dipbt.bundestag.de/dip21/btd/12/078/1207820.pdf.
This presentation has focused primarily on the
information outlined on pp. 5-6 and 279-283 of the
report.
After the Wall:
http://afterthewall.bangor.ac.uk
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Aufarbeitung von Geschichte und Folgen der SED