“People Prompts discussion about the new military service law” stands on the leaflets that come up in the night of 22 April 23, 1982 in Dresden and several districts of East Berlin. The leaflets stuck in phone booths and advertising columns, they hang on trees, located in garage entrances, doorways, on the road and in mailboxes.

State security and public police are alerted. In their eyes, these leaflets are an attack on socialism, manufactured by “hostile negative forces”. The Ministry for State Security (Stasi), is immediately sure that the initiators can be found in church circles. For the Stasi it is also clear that the action of the Federal Republic of is controlled to the GDR and thus harming the “peace state”. However, as we see later, the young activists are not controlled by the West, nor do they belong to the Church. And so the investigation of the Stasi first go in the wrong direction.

Risky leaflet campaign against the amendment

The young people involved want to provoke the state aware and challenge him. They are taking a significant risk, because in the case of arrest they face imprisonment. But they want to take their rights guaranteed in the GDR constitution, exercise rights and discuss laws – especially about the military service law.

In the spring of 1982, the GDR parliament passed a new and in some ways tougher military service law. Here tougher regulations in relation to the pre-military training for youth and the introduction of military service for women are enshrined in the defense case. The innovations evoke in the peace movement in the GDR outrage and resistance, as the People’s Chamber adopted the new paragraph in a hurry. For a discussion, as prescribed by the Constitution of the GDR in Article 65, paragraph 3, in such cases, it is not. Not even pro forma, as usual.

The two 24-year-old Tom Sello and Thomas Vetter want to do something against this unconstitutional and against the amendment. Triggered the idea to get in touch with leaflets to speak, is an article in the SED Journal Berliner Zeitung, which refers to the upcoming legislative amendment.

With commercial Abreibbuchstaben they bring the text of the leaflet on a postcard-sized cardboard. John Bittner and W. Schröter photograph it or making prints. The leaflets they distribute in Berlin and Dresden in previously discussed and associated areas. In Dresden Uwe Bastian takes over the distribution.

Perfectly planned: The “debaters” remain undetected

The Promotion is about 15 people are involved. You work in the production and distribution of leaflets with gloves to avoid fingerprints. Most participants know nothing of each other, so they can not tell when a possible arrest. After the action avoid those who know, a long time any contact.

The whole action is associated with considerable risks for young people, it offers one of the omnipotence of the SED State in question. In case of arrest they face a conviction for “public denigration” under Section 220 of the Penal Code and punishable by imprisonment of up to three years.

The state security registers all localities of the leaflets carefully. She leads a complex forensic investigations to identify the manufacturer. Operating a process called “debaters” is created in which all knowledge is collected. But the great human and material cost remains inconclusive: The Stasi not get out, who are the “debaters”.

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