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Mueller Kurt

Kurt Müller

References

  • Dowe, D. (Hg.): Kurt Müller (1903-1990) zum Gedenken. (1991)

Kurt Müller was one of the highest ranking communist leaders in Germany, taken into custody during Stalin's purges in the GDR. Born in Berlin in 1903, the toolmaker joined the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) in 1920 and was active both at home and abroad as a full-time functionary for the youth league. In 1932, he was dismissed as a member of an allegedly "anti-Party group" and sent as a worker to the Soviet Gorki Car Factory. After his return, Müller spearheaded the work of the illegal Communist Party in southwest Germany for several months. In 1934, he was arrested by the Secret State Police (Gestapo). Until 1945, he was held in various prisons and concentration camps, the last five years of which were spent in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

After his release, Müller became vice chairman of the KPD in West Germany and was in the first German Bundestag in 1949. In March 1950, the leadership of the Socialist Unity Party (SED) sent him to East Berlin, whereupon he was arrested in violation of his parliamentary immunity. He first went to the remand prison at Albrecht Straße in Berlin-Mitte, where he was temporarily interrogated by the then-State Secretary in the Ministry for State Security (Stasi), Erich Mielke. In August 1950, he was transferred to the central prison in Berlin-Hohenschönhausen and held in the "submarine." Eventually, in 1951, he was transferred to the new Soviet Central Prison in Berlin-Karlshorst.

After undergoing months of interrogation and various methods of torture, Müller was intended to be one of the primary accused detainees in a planned show trial in the GDR. Among other things, he was supposed to admit having been an agent of the Gestapo and at the behest of Trotzki's terrorist acts against Stalin and other Soviet leaders. He was also supposed to acknowledge that he had executed orders of Tito and the British and American secret services. The show trial was, however, not carried out in part because of Stalin's death. Instead, in 1955, a special court in Moscow sentenced Müller to 25 years in prison. In connection with the release of the last German prisoners of war and civil prisoners of the Soviet Union, Müller was able to return some time later to the Federal Republic. In an open letter dated 1956 to the former East German Prime Minister, Otto Grotewohl, Müller denounced the inhumane conditions in Berlin-Hohenschönhausen detention centre and called for the rehabilitation and punishment of those responsible, though this effort proved to be in vain. In 1957, he joined the Social Democratic Party and worked, until late in his life, as a research assistant at the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. Kurt Müller died in 1990 in Constance.