12 17_June_1953

1953 was a challenging year with tough economic and social times, shortages of goods and electricity, a dramatic increase in emigration, a large number of political prisoners and the suppression of illegal organisations including the church.

The uprising began with a strike by 300 East Berlin construction workers on June 16 following an increase in work quotas or a reduction in wages. It turned into a widespread uprising against the German Democratic Government the next day by tens of thousands of people. The uprising was violently suppressed by tanks of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany and the Volkspolizei. In spite of the intervention by Soviet troups the wave of strikes and protests was not easily brought under control and demonstrations continued after 17 June in more than 500 towns and villages.

The number of victims is not known but estimated to have been between 55 and many hundreds, including those executed under martial law.