Thursday, 13 December 2018

immer bereit

Named in tribute to the former leader of the Communist party of Germany Ernst Thälmann who was murdered at Buchenwald concentration camp, the East German youth organisation, modelled on the international scouting movement, die Jungpioniere and die Pioniere, was officially founded on this day in 1948.


Margot Feist—the future Missus Erich Honecker—became chairwoman of the group the next year and remained its leader until its dissolution in 1990—at the endpoint, nearly two million pupils, ninety-eight percent of all schoolchildren in East Germany. H was a member, and I have seen his old uniform, at least the blue neckerchief (Halstuch). The pioneers’ slogan and greeting was usually shortened to the call from the leader to “Be ready!” with the response from the group saluting “Always ready!” from the motto—Für Frieden und Sozialismus seid bereit—immer bereit, For Peace and Socialism, be ready—always ready! Matriculation ceremonies for new members took place on the anniversary (Pioniergeburtstag) of the organisation’s establishment.