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Federal Constitutional Court Verdict Banning the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) and the Concluding Justification (August 17, 1956)

On August 17, 1956, the Federal Constitutional Court issued a verdict banning the Communist Party of Germany. The verdict spelled an end to the proceedings against the KPD, which had begun five years earlier when the Federal Government submitted a petition requesting a ban on the KPD on the grounds that it was unconstitutional. The present verdict makes reference to the court’s verdict of October 23, 1952, which banned the neo-Nazi Socialist Reich Party (SRP) on the grounds of its unconstitutionality.

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I. Verdict of the Federal Constitutional Court Banning the KPD (August 17, 1956)

In the Name of the People!

In the proceedings regarding the petition by the Federal Government to establish the unconstitutionality of the Communist Party of Germany, the Federal Constitutional Court – First Senate – on the basis of hearings conducted from November 23, 1954, to July 14, 1955, has ruled by verdict that:

I. 1. The Communist Party of Germany is unconstitutional.
2. The Communist Party of Germany will be dissolved.
3. Creating substitute organizations for the Communist Party of Germany or continuing existing organizations as substitute organizations is prohibited.
4. The assets of the Communist Party of Germany will be confiscated for the benefit of the Federal Republic of Germany for purposes of the common good.

II. In the federal states [Länder], the ministers (senators) of the interior are entrusted with carrying out the decision under I. 2. and 3.; in this respect they have immediate authority to issue directives to police authorities.
The confiscation of assets is entrusted to the Federal Minister of the Interior, who may call on the states’ ministers (senators) of the interior for assistance.

III. Deliberate violation of this decision or of measures taken in executing this decision is punishable with at least 6 months in prison, according to §§ 47, 42 of the Law on the Federal Constitutional Court.

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