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Submission to the Secretariat of the Central Council of the Free German Youth: Gang Activity among Young People in Berlin (December 4, 1959)

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Examples of gang activity in the territory of the GDR.

The material is not complete. The state organs have no statistical survey of gangs.

On November 27, 1959, at around 9:45 p.m., in Dresden, about eighty youths marched through the streets howling. They were coming from the youth club house Martin-Andersen-Nexö. They shouted “We want to have our emperor back;” “We don’t want Pieck and Grotewohl and Ulbricht, we want rock ’n’ roll;” “Shut your windows, there’s going to be shooting.” Some of the youths were previously convicted of participation in the Fascist putsch in 1953.

In Leipzig, a gang that was marching through the streets with the same slogans was broken up in the middle of the year.

In Erfurt, a crowd of young people were hooting and hollering in the streets. They harassed pedestrians, were rude to girls, and committed several rapes. They smashed windows and store fronts, overturned advertising pillars and broke flower-pots.

Trashy Western literature was confiscated from them by the hundredweight.

Fourteen youths were put on trial.

The leader of this gang was eighteen year-old Peter T [ . . . ], who had twice left the Republic illegally.

In Magdeburg-Süd there was a gang of youths that “glorified” the king of rock ’n’ roll, Presley.

The organizer and brain behind the operation was a girl from Wiesbaden.

Such groups of “Presley worshippers” are also found in cities like Gera, Pößneck, Saalfeld, Lobenstein, Erfurt, Jena, Greiz, Bitterfeld, Frankfurt/Oder, Mühlhausen, Leipzig, Berlin, and Weimar. [ . . . ]

What conclusions can be drawn:

1. Gang activity and the formation of cliques in the GDR (alongside the already known influence of trashy literature and RIAS* or other Western stations) are the direct and indirect influence of individuals who returned or migrated from West Germany to the GDR or whose residence is in West Berlin or West Germany.

2. A number of individuals are working on behalf of West German and foreign secret services, especially among the youth, to prevail upon young people to leave the GDR. They were smuggled into the GDR for this purpose.

3. Young people, once the West has been described to them in tempting colors and once their natural desire for adventure has been taken advantage of, are exploited for crimes against our state. Since young people in the GDR are increasingly familiar with the actual political and economic conditions in West Germany, they are led to believe that all doors are open to them as political refugees. However, only a person who has “pulled off a political job” can be a political refugee.

Here, the opponent is relying chiefly on youths up to age 20, 21, who are mentally and politically retarded and are work shirkers or have no orderly family situation.

4. Individuals, especially young people, who move to the GDR spread the ways of life they were taught in the Adenauer state and find approval and support for their activities from a portion of the young people in the GDR. They are also able to exert their influence, especially because our organization and other social forces are not doing enough to lead the immigrants to the new life in our Socialist state. That, in turn, is one reason why a fairly large number of them leave the GDR again or commit a crime. [ . . . ]

* RIAS: Rundfunk im Amerikanischen Sektor [Radio in the American Sector].

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