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georg dertinger bio

Georg Dertinger

References

  • Beckert, R.: Die erste und letzte Instanz: Schau- und Geheimprozesse vor dem Obersten Gericht der DDR (1995)
  • Buchstab, G.: Verfolgt und entrechtet. Die Ausschaltung Christlicher Demokraten unter sowjetischer Besatzung und SED-Herrschaft 1945-1961 (1998)
  • Lapp, Peter Joachim: Georg Dertinger: Journalist – Außenminister – Staatsfeind. Freiburg im Breisgau (2005)

The former foreign minister of the GDR, Georg Dertinger, was one of the highest-ranking political prisoners throughout the forty-year East German communist dictatorship.

Born in 1902 in Berlin, he studied law and political economics during the Weimar period, later working as a journalist. He was politically active in the German National People's Party until it was disbanded following the seizure of power by the Nazis in 1933. After the end of the Second World War, he joined the newly formed Christian Democratic Union (CDU), where he was appointed press officer at the party’s headquarters. In 1949, Dertinger became general secretary of the CDU in the Soviet zone of occupation, witnessing the party's developmental stages. After the founding of the GDR in October 1949, he became Minister of Foreign Affairs. Despite his high political position, he was monitored by the Ministry for State Security (Stasi) through secret informants.

In connection with the preparation of show trials against high-ranking SED functionaries and government officials in early 1953, Dertinger was arrested along with several of his employees, his wife, and his children. About 100 Stasi officials searched the East Berlin headquarters of the CDU party for suspicious documents. Dertinger was accused of, among other things, working for the French secret service. After 17 months of detention in the "submarine" in Berlin-Hohenschönhausen, the Supreme Court sentenced him to 15 years' imprisonment for alleged "espionage and conspiracy." After more than eleven years in prison, he was granted pardon in 1964 and released from the special prison Bautzen II. Until his death in January 1968, Dertinger worked as a lector for the Catholic Church in Leipzig.