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Free German Youth

Free German Youth
Freie Deutsche Jugend
Chairman Ringo Ehlert (2002–2007)
Founded January 1936 (1936-01)
Merger of Young Communist League of Germany, Socialist Youth League of Germany, Socialist Workers Youth
Headquarters Karl-Liebknecht-Haus, Berlin
Ideology Socialism
Mother party Currently none, formerly Socialist Unity Party of Germany
International affiliation World Federation of Democratic Youth
National affiliation Formerly National Front of the German Democratic Republic
Newspaper Formerly Junge Welt

The Free German Youth, also known as the FDJ (German: Freie Deutsche Jugend), is a socialist youth movement in Germany. Formerly it was the official youth movement of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and the Socialist Unity Party of Germany.[1]

The organization was meant for young people, both male and female, between the ages of 14 and 25 and comprised about 75% of the young population of former East Germany.[2] In 1981-1982, this meant 2.3 million members.[3] After being a member of the Thälmann Pioneers, which was for schoolchildren ages 6 to 14, East German youths would usually join the FDJ.[4]

The FDJ was intended to be the "reliable assistant and fighting reserve of the Worker's Party", or Socialist Unity Party of Germany, was a member of the

  • Official website

External links

  1. ^ "East Germany". Retrieved 2013-02-09. 
  2. ^ "Free German Youth 1949-1990 (East Germany)". Retrieved 2013-02-09. 
  3. ^ Dirk Jurich, Staatssozialismus und gesellschaftliche Differenzierung: eine empirische Studie, p.32. LIT Verlag Münster, 2006, ISBN 3825898938
  4. ^ "The Rules of the Thälmann Pioneers". Retrieved 2013-02-09. 
  5. ^ "young pioneers : East Germany". Retrieved 2013-02-09. 
  6. ^ a b "Encyclopaedia: Freie Deutsche Jugend, FDJ (Free German Youth Organisation) - Chronik der Wende". Retrieved 2013-02-09. 
  7. ^ a b c d e "young pioneers : East Germany". Retrieved 2013-02-09. 
  8. ^ Langkau-Alex, Ursula. Geschichte des Ausschusses zur Vorbereitung einer Deutschen Volksfront. Berlin: Akad.-Verl, 2004. p. 119
  9. ^ Arno Gräf: Die Freie Deutsche Jugend in Schottland 1942 bis 1946, in: Jahrbuch für Forschungen zur Geschichte der Arbeiterbewegung, No. I/2009 (German language).
  10. ^ Horst Klein: Philipp Müller - Erinnerungen an den ersten Demonstrationstoten der BRD im kalten Krieg, in:   p.444
  11. ^ (automated translation into English: [2])
  12. ^ Sebetsyen, Victor (2009). Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire. New York City:  
  13. ^ "FDJ - History". 1951-06-26. Retrieved 2013-02-09. 
  14. ^ "Scouting for Communists: East German Youth Organization Returns - SPIEGEL ONLINE". Retrieved 2013-02-09. 


See also

  • Adolf "Call" Buchholz (8 May 1938–March 1942, in Prague/London)
  • Horst Brasch (12 April 1942–end 1945)
  • Alfred Kleeberg (late 1945–summer 1946)
  • Erich Honecker (7 March 1946 – 27 May 1955)
  • Karl Namokel (1955–1959)
  • Horst Schumann (1959–1967)
  • Guenther Jahn (1967–1974)
  • Egon Krenz (1974–1983)
  • Eberhard Aurich (1983–1989)
  • Jens Rücker (around 1991)
  • Andrea Grimm (around 2000)
  • Ringo Ehlert (2002–2007)


In 2007, the organization was reported to be canvassing for new members . The German domestic intelligence agency - the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution - which tracks "extremist" behavior, holds the FDJ's activities and movements under observation.[14]

[13] Between 1989 and the

Members of the FDJ took part in the gala celebrations of East Germany's 40th anniversary on 7 October 1989. However, at a torchlight parade to cap off the festivities, many began chanting, "Gorby, help us! Gorby, save us!" within earshot of all the Communist dignitaries gathered to watch. This came as a rude shock to the SED establishment, since the FDJ was supposed to be the party's future.[12]

The FDJ's official newspaper, Junge Welt, at one time was the largest-circulation paper in East Germany. It continues publication as of 2015 on a smaller scale without FDJ affiliation.[11]

In 1952, Phillip Müller, a member of the FDJ, was shot by the North Rhine-Westphalia Police during a demonstration in Essen against West German re-armament. Afterwards, large numbers of the FDJ's membership were imprisoned.[10]

The West German government treated the FDJ with suspicion because of its pro-communist orientation and of its links to East Germany. In 1951 the government of Konrad Adenauer banned the FDJ.[7] After a protracted legal battle, the ban came into effect in 1954 when the FDJ's appeal was rejected by the West Germany's constitutional court.

When Germany was partitioned into the eastern German Democratic Republic and the western Federal Republic of Germany, supported by the Soviet Union and the United States respectively, the FDJ assumed a role in the GDR which resembled that of the Soviet Komsomol. It was recognized as part of the World Federation of Democratic Youth at its annual meeting in Otwock, Poland, on August 21, 1948.[7]

[6] After the defeat of Hitler and the Nazi Party, the FDJ headquarters moved to the

[9] The FDJ was founded in January 1936 through the merger of the

FDJ members digging ditches in May 1959
Foundation of the FDJ in Berlin, November 1947



  • History 1
  • Chairman 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

While the movement was intended to promote Marxist–Leninist ideology among East Germany's young people, it did not concentrate on this to the exclusion of other activities. It arranged thousands of holidays for young people through its Jugendtourist agency, and ran discos and open-air rock concerts.[7] The Festival of Political Songs was an officially sponsored event from 1970 to 1990.


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