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Merker Paul

Paul Merker


  • Kießling, W.: Partner im „Narrenparadies“. Der Freundeskreis um Noel Field und Paul Merker (1994)

Born in 1894 in Oberlößnitz, he was trained as a waiter. In 1920, he joined the Communist Party (KPD) and began a career as a full-time trade union and Communist Party functionary. From 1924 to 1932, he was a member of the Prussian State Parliament and from 1927 to 1945 a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party. After the Nazis had seized power, Merker went underground and emigrated to France in 1934, where he was interned six years later. After his escape from Camp Le Vernet, he emigrated to Mexico with the help of a representative of the American Welfare Organization, Noël Field in 1942. When he returned to Germany in 1946, he again joined the former communist party leadership, namely, that of the Socialist Unity Party (SED). After the founding of the GDR in October 1949, he assumed the post of State Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture.

As a "Western emigrant," he was caught in the mills of the party's internal purges during the early 1950s. He was accused of his relationship with the alleged American agent Noël Field. In 1950, he lost all his officiary positions, including his post as Deputy of the People's Chamber and the Brandenburg State Parliament. The Central Party Control Commission of the SED excluded him from the party. Merker was banished to Luckenwalde, where he had to manage a state-owned restaurant. In December 1952, he was arrested by the Stasi and interrogated for over a year at the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen remand prison. He was supposed to be the main defendant in a planned show-trial based on the Soviet model, which as result of Stalin's death (March 5th, 1953) never happened. After more than two years of detention, the East German Judiciary sentenced him in a secret trial to eight years in prison in March 1955. In the wake of Moscow's "thaw" in February 1956, he was released from prison in July and by the same judge by whom he had previously been convicted, was acquitted and vindicated. For a while, he worked as an editor at the publishing house "Volk und Welt." Mentally and physically defeated, Merker died on May 13, 1969 in Berlin.