Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft/Frank Ebert

Church of the Good Samaritan

The ‘Peace Circle’ which met in the Church of the Good Samaritan was one of the best-known East German opposition groups in the 1980s. In May 1989 the group took part in a campaign to expose election fraud. The Election Coordination Group met on the church’s premises to add up the results from each polling station and compare this with the state’s official election results. 

In June 1989 opposition activists beat drums of lament in the church, in protest against the Chinese communists’ violent suppression of the democracy movement. From September 1989 various new opposition groups held events here, for example Democratic Awakening. 

The church was already well known for the work of its priest Rainer Eppelmann, who took up the plights of individuals under political pressure and voiced open criticism of the political situation in East Germany. He initiated Blues Masses, which provided a new impulse for youth and social work in the church. 

The communist single party SED (Socialist Unity Party) saw the criticism of society voiced there as a challenge to its authority. The first Blues Mass was held on 1 June 1979. It gained such an enthusiastic reaction that hundreds of young people came to the subsequent events from all over East Germany.

Drumming in protest against the massacre on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in summer 1989.
Quelle: Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft/Siegbert Schefke
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