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Weiland Alfred

Alfred Weiland

References

  • Kubina, M.: Von Utopie, Wiederstand und Kaltem Krieg. Das unzeitgemäße Leben des Berliner Rätekommunisten Alfred Weiland (1906-1978), (2000)

 

Weiland was born in 1906 in the workers' district of Berlin-Moabit and worked as a mechanic and telegraph operator. In the mid-1920s, he joined the radical left-wing Communist Workers' Party (KAP). After the Nazis had seized power, he was taken into so-called protective custody and detained at the Hohenstein concentration camp until 1934. Although he was under police surveillance after his release, he organized the illegal labour council’s communist organizations until he was drafted into the Wehrmacht in the autumn of 1944.

After the end of World War II, Weiland began to regroup the council communists in Berlin in May 1945. For tactical reasons, the majority of its members joined the KPD/SED, but just as they had been working illegally against the Nazi dictatorship, they organized a resistance against the Soviet regime. Weiland built the network of the conspiratorial "International Socialist Group" in East Germany. In the magazine "New Start," which was mimeographed illegally beginning in 1947, Weiland advocated for free socialism. Weiland also maintained contacts with anti-communist organizations including "Task Force against Inhumanity" (KgU) and the East Bureau of the SPD.

Beginning in 1946, Weiland was under surveillance by the Soviet secret police. On November 11, 1950, he was kidnapped in West Berlin and taken into the central remand prison in Berlin-Hohenschönhausen. In 1951, he was transferred from Hohenschönhausen to Berlin-Karlshorst. The Social Democrat Herbert Wehner advocated in vain for his release. Despite months of interrogations, the indictment of the charge espionage was not reached. Weiland recanted the confession previously extracted under torture, which perhaps saved his life. Instead, in August 1952, Weiland was handed over to the Ministry for State Security, which condemned him to 15 years in prison by the district court of Greifswald on the charge of the "formation of a Trotskyist group". He was later transferred to the jail in Bützow-Dreibergen, where he participated in an inmate strike, and later the penitentiary Brandenburg-Görden.

After his early release in 1958, Weiland returned to West Berlin, where he devoted himself to ending political persecution in the socialist countries. As a member of the SPD, he criticized the Extra-Parliamentary Opposition (APO) and the recognition of the communist regime by the Social Democratic Ostpolitik. Towards the end of his life, Weiland was increasingly sceptical of the left-radical ideas of his youth. Alfred Weiland died in 1978 in West Berlin.