top of page

Central School for Combat Groups of the GDR (ZSFK)

The fighting groups of the working class, also known as Kampfgruppen (KG) or industrial combat groups, were a paramilitary organization organized in state-owned companies and institutions. They were made up of employees from the companies, combines, state organs and their institutions. The Ministry of the Interior (MdI) and the respective district authorities of the German People's Police (BDVP) were responsible for organizing the combat groups (training, equipment, etc.). It had 210,000 members. By order of the Minister of the Interior Karl Maron, the central school of the combat group of the GDR was put into operation in 1957 in a manor house expropriated in 1945. Before a party school of the Central Committee of the SED was located in the property.

The school's staff consisted of 53 VP members and 37 civil employees. Headmaster became VP-Commander Ziegler (rank of lieutenant colonel of the people's police).

A large-scale exercise as part of national defense with the participation of the combat groups revealed their organizational and military deficits. Thereupon the qualification of commanders was determined with a directive of January 1961. Furthermore, the instructors for the combat group in the People's Police District Offices, the later VP combat group officers were trained there. The school's establishment plan rose to 225 school employees by 1965 and it received a new statute.

For the tenth anniversary of the ZSfK on May 12, 1967, the ZSfK received an honorary banner from the Central Committee of the SED and at the same time the honorary name of the Central School for Combat Groups "Ernst Thälmann". In the spring of 1968, the structure of the combat groups was transformed into security and combat units within the framework of territorial national defense. The directive of September 1971 brought the last structural change to the combat groups; this structural reform was then implemented from 1972 to 1974. These changes affected the structure of the units, the introduction of membership reserves and the possibility of women being included in the units, but armament and equipment were also changed. Since 1984 the ZSfK has also taken on the training of cadres of the people's militias in friendly developing countries. Headmaster Raschinsky was promoted to colonel and one of his deputies became Lieutenant Colonel Grade, who followed him in 1988 in the leadership position.

The basic course initially lasted two and then three months, the advanced training courses four weeks. This did not only apply to the combat group commanders and their deputies, but also to the combat group officers of the People's Police District Offices. The focus was on tactics, special training, troop and combat training, but also military policy and party work (Marxism-Leninism).

After the decision of the Council of Ministers of the GDR on the dissolution of the combat groups on December 14, 1989, the school closed its training operations. By order of the Minister of Internal Affairs of February 1990, the final dissolution of the ZSfK was ordered and it was settled by June 30, 1990. The property was supposed to be used as a central school for fire protection (fire brigades), but this was not realized. In the 1990s, unemployed people were retrained here. Later it was a home for asylum seekers. Since 2005 there has been a senior citizens' residence in part of the complex. Many parts of the building are empty.

bottom of page