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Fighting Groups of the Working Class 1949-1990 (East Germany)

Kampfgruppen der Arbeiterklasse

Last modified: 2004-12-29 by
Keywords: east germany | german democratic republic | fighting groups of the working class | kampfgruppen der arbeiterklasse | disc (green) | firearm: rifle | flag (red) |
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[Fighting Groups of the Working Class (East Germany)]
by Volker Moerbitz Keith



See also:


Introduction

This para-military organization was somewhat like a National Guard but under strict control of the ruling party. Each large factory hat its own armed fighting group troops to defend the property of the people. This was a voluntary service with the benefit that members of the task forces were not drafted for army reserve drills.

Volker Moerbitz Keith, 24 January 2001

This was not Civil Defence. These Groups were some kind of paramilitary forces, which in case of an emergency would join the regular military forces and the police. Such an emergency was not meant to be any weather condition...

Dirk Schönberger, 26 January 2001

The Kampfgruppen were a voluntarily organization with a clear military task, which was to defend home territory. They were organized like infantry units and incorporated in the strategic planing of the National Defense Committee. Their most visible appearance was on August 13, 1961, when they stood in first line, when the Berlin Wall was built. As far as response to disasters is concerned, there were two other organizations, the Zivilverteidigung (Civil Defense) and the Bereitschaftspolizei (Riot Police).

Volker Moerbitz Keith, 6 February 2001


Description

A red flag with the Fighting Groups symbol in center. The symbol showed a hand, holding a rifle with a red flag attached to the barrel. The flag was shown at parades and in Fighting Groups camps. Source: German Democratic Republic propaganda website (image here).

Volker Moerbitz Keith, 24 January 2001


Service Flag

Dienstflagge

[Service Flag, Fighting Groups of the Working Class (East Germany)]
by Jens Pattke

A red flag with the Kampfgruppen symbol on the center on a khaki circle, a khaki arm, holding a brown rifle with a red flag attached to the barrel surrounded by a khaki ring with the white letters "FÜR DEN SCHUTZ DER ARBEITER UND BAUERN MACHT" ("For the protection of the power of the workers and farmers"), surrounding the ring a silver oakleaf wreath. Golden fringe.

The olive green circle in the flag is the symbol of the uniform color. In East German publications, the colour of the uniform of the Kampfgruppen was always referred to as "khaki". However it was really an olive green colour. "Light-brown" was declined to avoid comparison with the brown shirts of the German nationalsocialist movements (p.e. Sturmabteilungen) of the 1940s. In East German terminology, "khaki" refers to any colour shade from olive green to light brown (natural geological colors of the earth).

Jens Pattke, 29-30 December 2001


Platoon (Zug) Colour

Flagge einer Zugeinheit

[Platoon (Zug) Colour, Fighting Groups of the Working Class (East Germany)]
by Jens Pattke

A Zug consisted of two or several Gruppen. A red flag with the Kampfgruppen symbol on the center on a khaki circle, a khaki arm, holding a brown rifle with a red flag attached to the barrel surrounded by a khaki ring with the white letters "FÜR DEN SCHUTZ DER ARBEITER UND BAUERN MACHT" ("For the protection of the power of the workers and farmers"), surrounding the ring a silver oakleaf wreath. On the canton, the military name of the unit in yellow lettering (here, 38. Kampfgruppen-Zug Strausberg, Strausberg being a city in Brandenburg).

Jens Pattke, 29 December 2001


Group Colour

Flagge einer Gruppeneinheit

[Group Colour, Fighting Groups of the Working Class (East Germany)]
by Jens Pattke

A group unit was the smallest military unit of the Kampfgruppen. The unit consisted of the fighting workers of a factory or a cooperative. A red flag with the Kampfgruppen symbol in center: on a khaki circle, a khaki arm, holding a brown rifle with a red flag attached to the barrel.

Jens Pattke, 29 December 2001

Variant with Group Name

[Group Colour with Group Name, Fighting Groups of the Working Class (East Germany)]
by Jens Pattke

Here, Betriebskampfgruppe VEB Halbleiterwerk Frankfurt (Oder) (Fighting Group of the Factory for Microelectronics in Frankfurt (Oder)).

Jens Pattke, 29 December 2001

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