Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft/Frank Ebert

St. Elisabeth’s Church

In the run-up to the Peaceful Revolution in East Germany, St. Elisabeth’s was one of the churches that provided protection for rebellious young people, political dissenters, critical artists and opposition activists. In January 1989 some of them began meeting here in a self-organised church community, called the Church from Below. The group was part of a nationwide network of social projects in the Protestant churches called Open Work. Its activists played a key role in the protest demonstrations up to the revolution and in new grassroots movements, parties and initiatives. 

On 7 May 1989 opposition activists coordinated the activities that provided proof of election rigging in the GDR on the premises of St. Elisabeth’s.

In autumn 1989 newly founded grassroots movements and parties used the church premises. The Böhlener Plattform, for example, was discussed here on 2 October 1989. A coordination group subsequently prepared the foundation of the United Left movement, which aimed to achieve a free, democratic and socialist GDR.

After the Social Democratic Party in the GDR (SDP) was founded illegally on 7 October 1989, its committee regularly met up here in the front building. On 3 December 1989 the SDP called for a united Germany and demanded rapid democratic elections in the GDR. 

The Church from Below made its first public appearance at the 1987 Protestant church congress, calling for openness and transparency in the Church and the state.
Quelle: Archiv Bundesstiftung Aufarbeitung, Fotobestand Klaus Mehner, 87_0628_REl_EvKT_Ende_03
In 1988, still without premises of its own, the opposition Church from Below announced an event in the nearby St. Sophie’s Church.
Quelle: Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft
Young people protested on the grounds of St. Elisabeth’s Church against the massacre on Tiananmen Square in Beijing in June 1989, beating drums for several days.
Quelle: BStU, Ast. Bln. Abt. XX 4917
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