German Propaganda Archive Calvin College

 

Background: This is the text of a booklet published in 1958 to provide material for factory celebrations in honor of the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of Germany. It is a good example of the pseudo-religious material produced by the GDR’s propagandists. The publisher was the FDGB, the official East German trade union.

The source: Feierstunde zum 40. Jahrestag der Gründung der Kommunistischen Partei Deutschlands (Berlin: Zentralvorstand der Gewerkschaft Unterricht und Erziehung, FDGB, 1958).


Celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Founding of the Communist Party of Germany


After the 40th anniversary of the Great Socialist October Revolution, many union groups and factory organizations asked the central office to provide similar material for other celebrations.

We meet the requests with these materials for a Celebration of the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of Germany.

Organizers should determine whether to expand on what is provided here, or to use excerpts. We repeat the advice that in any event the artistic word should have the primary weight, though certainly songs or musical pieces, using perhaps records or tapes, can make the celebration more effective.

Recitation 1: Long Live the Party

Look! The face of the world is changing.
The working people are realizing their dreams.
The person of today is not the person of yesterday.
He knows the way, the goal is clear.
 
Ask one with a burning heart,
One not deceived by war’s alarms,
How it is that he knows the way to the future,
And he will surely say: The party teaches me.
 
It knows of our longings, our pain
Since the days of the Spartacus movement [A German Marxist group]
It has led the battle.
It gave us Thälmann’s strong fighting heart
And gave us courage while in prison.

It led us out of blackened ruins,
When all there was was hope, nothing to eat,
And where we felt its helping hand
There vanished injustice and need.
 
It threw the lords out of their mansions
And gave the farmers land,
It sent machines out to the fields
And taught us how to think for the benefit of all.
 
It taught us how to farm the land
And run huge turbines,
Never losing its head in hard times
And standing firm through all the storms.
 
It steeled the fighters for a new age
And guided our course from start to finish.
He who loved it found ever help,
But woe to him who betrayed it.
 
It does not rest till every foe is vanquished.
It has often paid dearly,
Paid for the victory of socialism
And for our lasting happiness.
 
Look, the face of the world is changing
Friendship stretches from Rostock to Shanghai.
The working people do their duty.
People are awake. Long live the party!

Recitation 2: We are the Party

But who is the party?
Is it a building with telephones?
Are its thoughts secret, its decisions unknown?
Who is it?

Another Speaker:

It is us.
You and I and we — all of us.
It is inside you, comrade.
It thinks in your mind.
My home is its home, and where you fight,
It fights.
 
 
Show us the way we should go
And we will go along with you, but
Do not go without us down the right path,
For without us it is
The wrong way.
Do not leave us!
We might err and you may be right, so
Do not leave us!
 
No one denies
That the shorter way is better than the long one,
But when someone knows it
But does not show us, of what good is
His wisdom?
Be wise with us!
Do not go your own way!

Speaker 3:

“It is us.
You and I and we — all of us.”
That is how Brecht answered a question about the party —
This month the German and international working class, millions
of peace-loving people, celebrate the 40th anniversary of the founding of the
Communist Party of Germany. Heeding the lessons of the past,
the best sons of the German working class joined on 31 December 1918 to
form a revolutionary Marxist fighting party.
Because...

Recitation 3:

The party
Is a gathering of powerful forces,
Of united voices,
Friendly and cheerful.
It shatters
The walls and towers of the enemy
As cannon fire
Overcomes the sound of drums.
Lay down the weapons, enemy,
In the face of greater strength!
The party —
It is a hand with a million fingers,
Forming one great fist.
The party —
It is millions of shoulders
Close together,
Joining their strength.
The party —
Helps buildings rise to the heavens.
The party —
Is the backbone of the working class.
The party —
Is the immorality of our mission.
The party —
Is the only assurance.
The mind of the class,
The meaning of the class,
The strength of the class,
The glory of the class —
That is the party.

Speaker:

Oh, so you are not a comrade. You do not come from the working class. You are a teacher, a professional. What does this have to do with you? Listen to what Erich Weinert said in 1931 to those like you. And you teachers and educators in West Germany, listen too! The past for the workers and farmers in our state is as real as ever for you today.

Recitation 4: For professionals:

What should happen, you professional?
What will be your fate?
You know things can’t go on like this!
And resignation accomplishes nothing.
 
You have been educated, gone to the university,
You have your Ph.D.,
You are a gifted artist,
You have worked hard,
You are a gifted and trained expert,
You are a teacher, a technician,
You are a major writer,
You are a scientist,
You are a specialist,
You are really someone
That the society needs.
But — no one needs you!
The work of half a lifetime,
All the sacrifice, all the learning are in vain!
You ask why?
Who are you?
 
Do you think you are better than the rest
Because you are educated,
Because you are an intellectual
And speak in elevated ways?
 
Have you still not seen
What your misery means?
You are as much exploited
As the worker on the assembly line!
You think you belong to a different class
Than the hourly wage earner?
Well, what are you?
don’t you have to go to work?
Doesn’t the state pay you?
don’t you need to go shopping?
Isn’t your only possession your labor?
If you realize that, know this:
Your work is nothing but a good,
A good whose price is determined not by him who gives it,
But by him who pays for it!
That is the capitalist
For whom you are no different
Than the worker:
A way to make money!
 
When you at the university
Speak in high language
Behind the lectern
About the superior value
Of capitalism,
You are only widening the gap
Between you and the workers.
 
But we keep asking, giving you no rest:
Who are you?
You are like stale beer!
There is no need for you any longer.
You may of course work,
But you won’t get paid for it!
Look at the capitalist misery,
It is everywhere.
How long will you be blind?
Once again the question: Who are you?
 
Then the workers will say to you:
You are a worker. don’t you see that?
And the workers in days to come
Will transform world history.
 
The worker speaks:
You are a worker, come with us!
Your language is different, you do not know us.
But soon we will understand each other.
The worker speaks: You must march with him!
We have one goal.
You will only gain, not lose;
To be a worker means much.
A professional who marches
Has lost his class!
Use your knowledge and your strength!
Only in the new world, never in the old
Can the mind be used to its full!
 
Professional, why do you hesitate,
Why are you on the other side of the barricade?
Leap over it! A hand reaches out to you,
The hand of your working comrades!

Speaker:

Back then there were too many who closed their ears to the Party’s warning voice. Fascism was the result. Fritz Hampel — nicknamed Slang — was a comrade, teacher and publicist. He wrote the following poem in 1932 for the “Rote Fahne” [Then the paper of the German Communist Party]:

Recitation 5: A Social Democrat father’s bad advice to his son:

“Father, today I saw the Fascists.
They attacked a working girl.
She could not stand or escape.
Father, I want — “ “Nonsense, Go play!”
 
“Father, today I saw the brown bandits.
They have loaded their revolvers.
They want to go after the workers.
Father, I would like —” “Shut up. Go swimming!”
 
“Father, today I saw the cowardly murderers.
They were shooting at workers’ apartments.
Father, we must join the anti-Fascists!” —
“Are you crazy — Close the windows!”
 
The old man quieted the young one down.
And now he is resting. His eyes are closed.
He came home from playing and swimming.
They shot him through that closed window...

Speaker:

Theo Neubauer, Ernst Schneller and other teachers found the way to the party of the working class, making the cause of the fighting proletariat their own, remaining true and sacrificing their lives in the underground struggle against Fascism and war.
 

Recitation 6: In praise of the Underground

How wonderful it is
To speak on the side of class struggle.
To loudly call the masses to battle.
To battle the oppressors, to free the oppressed
 
 
The daily work is hard but vital,
To weave the net of the Party
Under the gun barrels of the factory owners:
To speak,
But to conceal the speaker.
To win, but
To hide the winner.
To die, but
To conceal death.
People do much for fame, but who
Does it when the reward is silence?
Fame asks in vain
Who did those great deeds.
Come forward
For a moment
You unknown and hidden faces, and have
Our thanks!

Speaker:

The peoples of the Soviet Union, bearing the red flag of the working class, brought us our freedom in May 1945. Under the red flag the Party led the workers of our republic to new successes, to the victory of socialism. Peter Nell dedicated these lines in 1953 to the red flag, the symbol of the struggle and the victory of the proletariat:

Recitation 7: The red flag:

Do you remember? When once the tread
Of the gray columns thundered,
Our red flag marched always with.
Its red was always victorious!
The Fascists and the police fired at it. —
We buried then our dead —
It led us onward, it was there,
That flag, that red flag...
 
 
The time came when we were beaten down.
We had to hide the flags.
Bestial murder made many silent...
Yet invisibly over the coffins
The flag flew through the long night.
It burned in our hearts and minds
Until the glimmerings of a new morning
Shone in the East.
 
Then we planted our flags anew,
The old one, the red one, comrades!
We accepted the challenges of a new beginning
And worked untiringly.
Workers and farmers have the power now.
They are building a better life.
He who gets in the way or commits sabotage
Should hear this answer:
 
He who shows dirty claws
Who joins Western gangster bands
To sully our workers’ flags,
Him we will toss out the door!
We will not waver in the storm,
We are determined as a class.
The red flag will fly from the tower,
The symbol, comrades, of our victory!

Recitation 8: The song of the party (excerpts)

The party —
It has given us everything.
Sun and wind. It has never been stingy.
Where it was, there was life. We are what we are
Through it.

Speaker: The party — It teaches us how to use power.

Recitation 9: Be aware

You know what it means
To sweat one’s whole life long.
You know what it means
Not to know why.
The homeland was in ruins,
We could not find our home...
He who forgers that time
Will himself be forgotten.
You know how it happened,
You know it did not have to be that way.
Are we forever
Lost and damned?
Our hearts were full of shame,
We knew not what to do.
We looked far and wide
For the way out.
 
 
You know what it means
To go the difficult way.
The dead lay
Along the way.
But know you this:
We must rise up again!
A free German land
Was the goal of our longing.
 
See what great things are happening!
The people are building their life.
Although the way was hard
They were joyous.
Know the power!
That power given to you
Must never, never again
Leave your hands.

Speaker: The party teaches us the way from I to we.

Recitation 10: The song of the pronouns

My land, my grain,
My boots, my spade,
Everything I have is better than what you have.
I am a career man,
I am moving upward.
Good luck to me, and none to you.
 
That is how people talked.
They knew only I and my.
The words our and we
Were foreign to them.
 
Come pull my plow,
Come fill my jug,
Come work to earn me a mark.
I’ll pay you a pfennig,
That is enough for you.
I’ll get rich, I’ll get strong.
 
That is how people talked.
The knew only
The big I, the big mine.
The words our and we
Were foreign to them.
 
We have changed
The world,
Using different pronouns.
Ours and we
Please us better.
No one is out only for himself.
 
No one is out only
For himself now,
For the big I and the big mine.
Now he lives with you and me,
For the greater us and we.
 
What’s yours is yours.
But the word is written small,
And ours and we are in big letters.
When the hail
Threatens your harvest,
We all pitch in to help.
 
No one is out only
For himself now,
The I is in small letters, as is the mine.
Now we all work together
For the great ours and we.

Speaker: The party of the working class — It teaches us victory!

Recitation 11: Victory is certain

The proletariat does not need wisdom of inferior quality,
It needs the wisdom of Marx.
Lenin’s words give wings and a sword,
And the class takes action.
 
To the right a swamp, to the left the sand,
Keep going straight ahead, comrade!
The class marches on, the goal it knows;
Victory is certain.
 
Some trapped in the middle class
Rest in their ease and comforts.
But the holy belly satisfies
Only when times are quiet.
The drums are sounding, the class is marching!
Join the drumbeats, comrades!
Beat the drums so that no more time is lost;
Victory is sure!

Speaker:

17 August 1956: At the command of the industrial barons of the Rhine and the Ruhr, Pferdemenge, Thyssen, Krupp, Speidel and Heusinger, the war criminals and Fascists, the Federal Court in Karlsruhe banned the Communist Party of Germany. And that in a land that proudly hails itself as “the freest of the free world.”
 
Erich Weinert exposed this “freedom” already in 1932:

Recitation 12: With the exception of the communists

Class comrades, wherever you may stand:
Have not the words of the government
Given you reason to think:
 
 
“All parties are permitted
To use the radio for election propaganda —
With the exception of the communists!”
Once again — Listen carefully:
“All — With the exception of the communists!”
 
Do you know what that means?
Do you realize what they have said?
All of the parties support the government’s
“God-ordained conduct of affairs.”
“All — With the exception of the communists!”
 
All of the parties support the rule
Of the Church, of Capital, and the removal of the people’s rights.
“All — With the exception of the communists!”
 
 
Yes, class comrades, that is the truth!
The government has spoken the truth this time!
 
The government is the fortress of profits.
It will strangle the words of anyone
Who tries to set their castle aflame.
 
Do not the Social Democrats say:
We will bring down capitalism?!
Comrades, do you believe that if that were so,
Do you believe that if the government did not know
That was nothing but empty air,
Do you believe they would allow Social Democrats
To speak on the radio?
Comrades, wherever you may stand:
Here is the proof,
Provided by Reaction itself:
They know but one enemy —
The communists!
 
They think they have insulted us,
They have not realized
How much they have honored us!

Speaker:

You know that they have aimed atomic cannons at you and your child. You ask what you can do to prevent an atomic war?

Recitation 12: A little question

You say that you are fighting for peace.
I do not want to put a damper
On your plan.
But tell me concretely: What is your plan?
What did you do this morning in the streetcar
As that fat guy praised the Nazi era
And you kept silent,
Though inside you were angry?
You have signed a resolution —
Quite a few of them?
Very good.
Do you also have the courage
To fight for your pledge —
In the factory, on the street, in a restaurant ...
At every opportunity?
Are you afraid?
Do you fear unpleasantness?
Do not be afraid.
You are not alone.
No one keeps a record
Of whether you are true.
No, wait, someone does.
Someone who gives you no peace,
Who cannot be deceived,
It is you yourself.
You may not deceive yourself.

Speaker: And if you are unsure, go to him, the faithful comrade.

Recitation: The song of the faithful comrade

It is not all that long ago
That we had little to eat.
Our stomachs growled, the work was hard,
I’d eaten all I had.
Then he gave me his bread,
He gave me his bread,
He gave me half of his bread
And said “My friend, you need it!”
 
 
The people went to the village
To beg from the farmers.
Only he did not go.
They mocked him:
“He can’t do it, he is a party member.”
 
It is not all that long ago
When we had little clothing.
There were holes in the sleeves, the shops were empty,
They held it against him.
He wove more cloth.
He wove more cloth.
He showed me what he had done
And said: “My friend, it is still not enough!”
 
When the people wove
Only what they had woven before
And he wanted to see more,
They complained:
“He has to. He is a party member!”
 
It is not all that long ago
When someone wanted to make trouble for him.
It was the owner’s minion.
He struck back.
He struck back.
And called out for help
And said “Protect what is yours!”
 
The people heard
The call.
And when he came by
They said:
“Look at him. He is a comrade!”
 
Things went that way for a year, then another,
And some began to understand him.
No matter how strong the wind, he was at peace,
Rarely was he unsure.
He kept going.
He kept going.
And if I made a mistake and was unsure
He said “My friend, keep going!”
 
 
And if people
Had a hard question
He was there.
They could not miss it.
“He knows, for he is a comrade!”
 
Now he is 60, but he still goes along,
Whether dancing, or building, or shooting.
What our party says is important for him.
He who will rise can’t sit still.
So sees he each day.
So sees he each day,
And sees yet more days to come
And says: “I will see the day of victory!”
 
Now people come
To give him honor.
He cannot stand it,
He steps back.
“Go,” he says, “to the good comrades!”

Recitation 14: “To a child”

You have fine hair
And eyes
That know only light and play.
 
 
Outside the window
The birches rustle
And whisper
And hint
Of many things.
 
 
You have a father
And mother, young lad.
You are fortunate.
You have a goal.
 
Outside the window
The flag waves
Red and bright and free.
You are fortunate.
A great party
Guards your little dreams.

[Page copyright © 1999 by Randall L. Bytwerk. No unauthorized reproduction. My e-mail address is available on the FAQ page.]


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