DDR: International Workers’ Day

DDR: International Workers’ Day

The International Workers’ Day celebration is very important all over the World with roots in the 19th century. It was very important in communists and socialist countries, so today we’ll commemorate this date with a few stamps from DDR.


Haymarket affair

One of the events that led to May 1 celebrations was the protest held in Chicago and many other cities in the USA in 1886. Protesters demanded “Eight-hour day with no cut in pay.” and the date when this should be implemented was May 1, 1886. While this might sound like something we’re very used to today, in these years, it was a pretty radical demand and there was no intention to fulfill these demands.


The 60th Anniversary of the 1st.of May Celebrations

Copyright© 1950 Deutsche Post. All Rights Reserved.

The 60th Anniversary of the 1st.of May Celebrations


Denomination: 30 pfennigs


As this usually goes when a ruling class doesn’t want to fulfill requirements of the people, the police is used to suppress demonstrations. That led to violence and the death of the few police officers in an event known as the Haymarket affair. Business owners used that opportunity to provide financial support to the police that took many actions against union leaders and immigrant communities, mostly Germans and Bohemians.


International Socialist Congress, Amsterdam 1904

On the other side of the political spectrum are socialist and communists. The Sixt Conference of the Second International called “all Social Democratic Party organizations and trade unions of all countries to demonstrate energetically on the First of May for the legal establishment of the 8-hour day, for the class demands of the proletariat, and for universal peace.”


National Reconstruction Program

Copyright© 1952 Deutsche Post. All Rights Reserved.

National Reconstruction Program

Clearing Land, Bricklaying, Carpentry, and Inspecting Reconstruction Plans


Denomination: 12+3, 24+6, 30+10, and 50+10 pfennigs


You might like or don’t like socialism and communism, but the fact remains that these demands led to 8-hour work day. Even some capitalist countries decided to implement some of these demands in order to avoid the rise of the popularity of socialist and communist ideas among its’ citizens.



DDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik or East Germany) existed as a country from 1949 to 1990 and, of course, issued stamps during this period. After WWII Germany was divided into four occupation zones: American, British, France, and Soviet.

West Germany (BDR) was formed in 1949 out of American, British, and France zones, while Soviet occupation zone became East Germany. Since DDR was part of the communist bloc and Soviet influence, it was workers’ and peasants’ state”. Therefore, workers’ rights and important work leaders were the part of the whole society and numerous stamps were devoted to them.


Work Leaders

One such series was the Work Leaders series was issued on 1955/06/20 and the Copyright© goes to 1952 Deutsche Post. This series presents 7 leaders that were important in the history of German workers’ movement.


Karl Liebknecht

Karl Liebknecht (1871-1919) – politician and co-founder of the KPD

5 pfennigs


August Bebe

August Bebel (1840-1913) – German politician and co-founder of the SPD

10 pfennigs


Franz Mehring

Franz Mehring (1846-1919) – politician, historian, publicist and socialist theorist

15 pfennigs


Ernst Thälmann

Ernst Thälmann (1886-1944) – KPD leader

20 pfennigs


Clara Zetkin

Clara Zetkin (1857-1933) – German KPD politician

25 pfennigs


Wilhelm Liebknecht

Wilhelm Liebknecht (1826-1900) – German politician, father of Karl Liebknecht

40 pfennigs


Rosa Luxemburg

Rosa Luxemburg (1870-1919) – politician – co-founder of the KPD

60 pfennigs


No matter who you are and what you believe in – Happy International Workers’ Day!


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