From the outset, the East German government blamed Western “provocateurs” for the workers’ uprising on June 17, 1953. This article, published a few days later in Neues Deutschland, listed a number of concrete misdeeds allegedly committed during the uprising by West German youth with the “American way of life.”

“This is the Face of the Fascist Spawn of Adenauer, Ollenhauer, Kaiser, and Reuter!” (June 21, 1953)


“This is the Face of the Fascist Spawn of Adenauer, Ollenhauer, Kaiser, and Reuter!”

Below is a picture of a member of a group of West Berlin provocateurs who were arrested by our security forces during riots against public order and peace in the city of Erfurt. Texas shirt with a cowboy on it, Western tie with a picture of naked women, Texas haircut, face of a criminal – these are the knights of “Western culture,” the typical representatives of the American way of life. This bandit, a low-class element from Erfurt, came to Berlin some time ago after a short stint in several jobs in the Republic because gangsterism suited him better than honest work. The statements of the bandits who were arrested while openly resisting our authorities suggest that the entire group was given the Texas shirts for free at meeting places in West Berlin. And they were told in West Berlin: Ernst Reuter is paying for all of this! Trained in sabotage and diversion in the agent centers of the Fascist BDJ [League of German Youth or Bund Deutscher Jugend], “tested” in terrorist attacks on West Berlin fighters for peace, this entire gang of Fascist provocateurs was smuggled from West Berlin to Erfurt between June 15 and 17 to provoke an uprising in Erfurt on “Day X,” that is, June 17. The entire gang, without exception, was arrested on June 17 through the energetic intervention of our state authorities and through active help from class-conscious Erfurt workers.

The criminals will receive their just punishment.

This is how the Fascist bandits raged

In Halle, too, Fascist subjects directed from West Berlin sought to stir up confusion among our population with provocations on June 17. Armed with brass knuckles and other instruments of murder, they made their way through the city rampaging and plundering and committing nefarious acts of terror. A few examples will suffice to make it clear to every working person that one has to respond to these elements without mercy.

For example, Kurt Hugo, born in 1934, together with a group of provocateurs, broke into the Saale district office of the DFD [Democratic Women’s Federation of Germany or Demokratischer Frauenbund Deutschlands] on Klement-Gottwald-Straße, mistreated the DFD women, smashed the furnishings, and rampaged like a vandal. Then he stole what he could get his hands on and took a typewriter and other items back to his apartment.

An equally evil fellow is Werner Reuter of Dessauer Straße, who has already repeatedly attracted attention through criminal offenses. Together with a group of provocateurs, he assaulted Superintendent J. of the VP [People’s Police or Volkspolizei]. The latter was knocked to the ground, kicked, and severely abused. He was robbed of everything. J’s revolver was then used to shoot at the fire fighters who tried to extinguish the fires set by the provocateurs.

Another group of provocateurs assaulted the female police officer B as she was leaving her apartment block. The gang of provocateurs knocked her down and inflicted serious internal injuries with kicks to her head and body. Only a few reasonable passers-by helped the officer and took her to a hospital. Because of the seriousness of the injuries, her life is in danger.

A real thug is the building contractor Nyssen, who resides in Turmstraße at the corner of Bernhardystraße. With a mob of provocateurs, he invaded the home of the Volkspolizei constable T. and harassed his wife and in-laws. In the process, contractor Nyssen pulled a 15-inch knife from his sleeve; he was carrying a rope in the other hand and was shouting: “Blood must flow today, I’m going to cut T’s throat.”

In the evening from June 17 to 18, Hermann Thieme and Winfried Leetzsch assaulted the Volkspolizei chief constable D. and his group of voluntary helpers, who were tasked with guarding a consumer retail store. The two Fascist subjects Thieme and Leetzsch tried to plunder, steal, and murder. They were overpowered, and a search of their home found three pistols with 90 rounds of ammunition, a carbine, a Tesching [a type of handgun], along with a portable telephone and other equipment.

Source:“So sieht die faschistische Brut der Adenauer, Ollenhauer, Kaiser und Reuter aus!”, Neues Deutschland, June 21, 1953.

Translation: Thomas Dunlap