Friedrich Ebert Jr.

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Friedrich Ebert Jr.
Ebert in 1961
Chairman of the State Council
1 August 1973 – 3 October 1973
Preceded byWalter Ulbricht
Succeeded byWilli Stoph
Deputy President of the Volkskammer
In office
June 1971 – 4 December 1979
Preceded byHermann Matern
Succeeded byGerald Götting
Secretary for Governmental and Legal Affairs of the Central Committee Secretariat of the Socialist Unity Party
In office
19 June 1971 – 4 December 1979
First Secretary
Preceded byGerhard Grüneberg
Succeeded byPaul Verner (1980)
Lord Mayor of East Berlin
In office
30 November 1948 – 5 July 1967
Preceded byLouise Schroeder (acting)
Succeeded byHerbert Fechner
Parliamentary constituencies
Member of the Volkskammer
In office
18 March 1948 – 4 December 1979
Preceded byConstituency established
Succeeded byGünther Skrzypek (1980)
Member of the Reichstag
for Potsdam I
In office
13 June 1928 – 31 March 1933
Preceded bymulti-member district
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Personal details
Born(1894-09-12)12 September 1894
Bremen, Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, German Empire (now Germany)
Died4 December 1979(1979-12-04) (aged 85)
East Berlin, East Germany
CitizenshipEast German
Political partySocialist Unity Party
Other political
Social Democratic Party (1913–1946)
  • Politician
  • Printer
  • Journalist
Central institution membership

Other offices held

Friedrich "Fritz" Ebert Jr. (12 September 1894 – 4 December 1979) was a German socialist and later Communist politician, the son of Germany's first president Friedrich Ebert.[1]

Ebert was originally a Social Democrat like his father before him, but is best known for his role in the origins of East Germany's ruling party, the Socialist Unity Party of Germany, in which he served in various positions.[1]

Early life[edit]

Ebert with his father and mother Louise and his siblings (from left to right) Georg and Heinrich on Christmas 1898
Ebert in 1928

Born in Bremen, Ebert underwent an apprenticeship as a printer from 1909 to 1913. In 1910, he joined the Socialist Workers' Youth and in 1913 the SPD. From 1915 to 1918, he fought in the First World War. During the Weimar Republic, he worked for various social democratic newspapers.

In 1933, Ebert was arrested for illegal political activity and detained for eight months in various concentration camps, including Oranienburg and Börgermoor. In 1939, he was conscripted into the army. In 1940, Ebert worked at the Reichsverlagsamt (publishers' office). Until 1945, he was under constant police surveillance.

Career in East Germany[edit]

After the demise of the Third Reich, Ebert was elected chairman of the SPD in the Prussian province of Brandenburg. Being the son of a former president made Ebert one of the foremost political leaders in East Germany. His role in this period can be compared with that of Jan Masaryk in post-war Czechoslovakia. Ebert was courted by the leaders of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD), who were aiming for unification of the much larger SPD with the smaller KPD. They used his father's role in the German Revolution of 1918–19, and the ensuing split in the German socialist movement, to blackmail the young Ebert into supporting for the unification.

In 1946, the unification of the two parties' branches in the Soviet Occupation Zone was carried out under Soviet pressure. After the creation of the new party, the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED), Ebert was elected to the Central Committee and from 1949 was also a member of the Politburo. He was one of the few members from the SPD half of the merger with a prominent role in the merged party. The few recalcitrant members of the SPD half were pushed out soon after the merger, leaving the SED as a renamed and enlarged KPD. He served as President of the Landtag of Brandenburg 1946–1949.

After the end of Allied cooperation and the breakup of the administration of Berlin, Ebert became mayor of East Berlin; he remained mayor until 1967. He was a member of the Deutscher Volksrat, a preliminary parliament that drew up the first constitution of the GDR, and after 1949, he also became a member of the People's Chamber, the parliament of the GDR. Between 1949 and 1971, Ebert served as the chamber's deputy president. In 1971, he was elected chairman of the SED faction in the People's Chamber. From 1960, he was also a member of the Council of State and from 1971 its deputy chairman. As such, he was acting head of state in 1973 after Walter Ulbricht's death until the election of Willi Stoph.

Ebert lived in Majakowskiring, Pankow, East Berlin. He was decorated with the Order of Karl Marx, the Patriotic Order of Merit, Star of People's Friendship and the Banner of Labor. After his resignation as mayor, the magistrate of East Berlin awarded him honorary citizenship, which was declared null and void in 1992.


  1. ^ a b Norbert Podewin [in German] & Helmut Müller-Enbergs. "Ebert, Friedrich * 12.9.1894, † 4.12.1979: Mitglied des Politbüros des ZK der SED, Oberbürgermeister von Berlin". Bundesstiftung zur Aufarbeitung der SED-Diktatur: Biographische Datenbanken. Retrieved 14 November 2014.

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