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Kampfgruppen der Arbeiterklasse

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Kampfgruppen_der_Arbeiterklasse_emblem.png
Emblem of the Kampfgruppen der Arbeiterklasse

The Kampfgruppen der Arbeiterklasse (German: Combat Groups of the Working Class) was a paramilitary organisation in East Germany, founded in 1953 and abolished in 1990.

The KdA was similar to a National Guard; however, unlike a National Guard, it was strictly controlled by the governing Socialist Unity Party of Germany.

Each large factory, along with many neighbourhoods, had their own Kampfgruppe, each made up of about 100 workers who sought to "defend the property of the people". Membership was voluntary; many chose to enlist in the KdA so as to avoid being drafted into the army. A KdA member trained with his group after work and on weekends for a total of 136 hours annually.

The KdA were organised like infantry, and were to join the military and police during political emergencies, such as protests against the government. The largest use of the KdA for this purpose was during the construction of the Berlin Wall: KdA members stood in a line in front of the Wall, with orders to shoot anyone who tried to pass through.

As they were sanctioned by the Volkspolizei, the KdA had at their disposal many of the weapons that the police would use in riot situations, such as SK-1 armoured personnel carriers, mortars, anti-aircraft guns and anti-tank guns. Very politically reliable KdA groups could be sent overseas to help train local militias, especially in countries in Africa that received military aid from East Germany. Large numbers of KdA members were sent to Brazzaville particularly.

For a certain number of years service, a KdA member could be given a medal. KdA camps were held annually, usually in the wilderness, for training purposes.

By 1989, the KdA's membership exceeded half a million, meaning that one in 36 East Germans was a member.

See also

External link

Kampfgruppen der Arbeiterklasse medals (http://www.kmkeirns.com/DDR/kampf_medals.html)

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