From December 11–13, 1981, Helmut Schmidt and Erich Honecker met at Schloss Hubertusstock on Lake Werbellin for discussions on German-German relations and the international situation in general. After the official talks, the two traveled to the town of Güstrow in Mecklenburg, where they visited the former home of sculptor Ernst Barlach (1870–1938). The impetus for the excursion was Schmidt’s great fondness for Expressionist art and his interest in the work of Barlach, whom the National Socialists had defamed as “degenerate.” During Schmidt’s visit, the town of Güstrow was completely sealed off by state security forces and the GDR People’s Police. This action, which took place under the code name “Operation Dialogue,” aimed to prevent a similar show of support that had occurred during Willy Brandt’s visit to Erfurt in 1970. Numerous GDR citizens were placed under house arrest, imprisoned, or intimidated.

Güstrow during Helmut Schmidt’s Visit (December 13, 1981)

  • Klaus Lehnartz


Source: A massive contingent of People’s Police [Volkspolizisten] in Güstrow is deployed to prevent any applause or show of approval for Helmut Schmidt during his visit to the town. December 13, 1981. Image 1 of 3. Photo: Klaus Lehnartz.
bpk-Bildagentur, image number 30008531. For rights inquiries, please contact Art Resource at requests@artres.com (North America) or bpk-Bildagentur at kontakt@bpk-bildagentur.de (for all other countries).

© bpk / Klaus Lehnartz