The story of a re-establishment

In the early 20. In the 19th century, the ASB was represented by more than 500 Samaritan columns in eastern and central Germany. After being banned by the National Socialists in 1933, the ASB was only allowed to re-establish itself in the western occupation zones after the end of the war. But it's been at it again for 25 years: the ASB in eastern and central Germany.

The story of a re-establishment

The beginnings of the ASB

On the "battlefield of work die at the end of the 19th century. Countless people in the twenty-first century. However, the care of the injured and injured is poor and primitive. Ambulance columns formed for wartime use are open only to middle-classes; workers are excluded.

Finally the workers decide to help themselves. Thus, on the 20. November 1888 in the Berlin Volksblatt an advertisement with the "Invitation to a training course on first aid in accidents" published. True to the motto "Help yourself, or no one will help you" workers organize first-aid training on their own and now take care of securing medical care for injured people after work accidents themselves. In addition, they develop new occupational safety and accident regulations and ensure the improvement of hygienic conditions in workers' dwellings and hospitals. The first doctors involved in first aid courses for workers develop curricula and their own textbooks. They call the courses "Samaritan courses.

Ascent of the ASB

Around 20 years after the founding of the first ASB column, Samaritan columns from all over Germany meet in Magdeburg at Easter 1909: The ASB Federal Association is founded. The headquarters of the federal association is Berlin, Emil Stein is elected as the first federal chairman. The main task is defined as ". To train workers in first aid in the event of accidents and sudden illnesses, and to educate the workforce on how to avoid accidents". In 1914, the ASB already records medical columns in 108 cities with 6.000 members, around 21.000 assistance services and revenues amounting to 24.488.50 Marks.

The story of a re-establishment

Troubled times

In 1920, the number of ASB columns is 191 columns with 13.627 members increased. But the 1920s prove to be turbulent for the ASB. Putsch attempts and street riots challenge the Samaritans throughout Germany. Again and again they get caught between the fronts, are arrested, denounced or even killed in action.

In 1921, the Communists call on the Samaritans to join them. The Federal Executive Board rejects this and excludes individual ASB members, who then form the "Proletarian Health Service" (PGD) found.

All attempts at reestablishment in the Soviet Occupation Zone (SBZ) fail. Initially, the medical service is taken over by the health departments of the Free German Trade Union Federation (FDGB). The GDR, founded in 1949, adopts the rejectionist attitude of the Soviet military administration toward the ASB and, by decree of the Council of Ministers of 23. October 1952 the DRK of the GDR. All former Samaritans are invited to join there.

In the mid-1980s, the DRK of the GDR invites the ASB to visit the DRK presidium in Dresden. The return visit to the Federal Republic of Germany takes place from 22. to 26. August 1988 takes place. Representatives of the two organizations agree to further intensify contacts by exchanging experts in training, ambulance services, rescue services, disaster prevention and youth work.

Back again: the ASB in eastern and central Germany

In the wake of the upheavals in the Soviet Union brought about by Gorbachev's "glasnost" and "Perestroika In the spring and summer of 1989, there are already mass escapes from the GDR. On 30. September 1989, thousands of refugees holding out in the German Embassy in Prague receive their exit permit to the Federal Republic of Germany. The ASB branches launch a major aid campaign: they distribute food, set up soup kitchens and provide the first overnight accommodations. Camps are set up as emergency reception centers, residential ships are rented, and field camp beds are set up in gymnasiums, rescue stations and ASB homes. Apartments and workplaces are being procured.

When the wall was built on 9. November 1989 finally falls, a total of more than 200.000 resettlers from the GDR come to the Federal Republic of Germany.

The Iron Curtain falls

"The Wall will remain as long as the conditions that led to its erection are not changed. It will still exist in 50 years and even in 100 years, if the reasons for it have not yet been eliminated" the GDR's head of state and SED leader says at a meeting of the Thomas Muntzer Committee in East Berlin.

As is well known, things turn out differently: after 28 years of separation, Gunter Schabowski opens the door to the GDR on the evening of 9. November 1989, the wall was almost casually. Tens of thousands of people set off for the various Berlin border crossings, full of disbelief and hope. Then the barriers open and people from East and West cheer and celebrate. German division is history. In the Bundestag in Bonn, Annemarie Renger, then vice president of the Bundestag and ASB president, announces the opening during a Bundestag session. The deputies spontaneously sing the Deutschlandlied.

The Wall is gone

On the morning of the 10. November 1989, it is clear to everyone in Germany, East and West, that a new era is now beginning. The GDR is undergoing a revolutionary but peaceful upheaval. It is not yet clear that reunification is imminent, but it is now certain that it will soon be possible to re-establish ASB branches in the old home of the ASB in central and eastern Germany.

First, however, the Western ASB branches face enormous challenges: Streams of visitors from the GDR had to be looked after and fed, and help had to be provided with one problem or another.

The first steps toward reestablishment

In December 1989, all ASB branches are asked by the federal office to use their contacts to re-establish ASB branches in the GDR. That's not really necessary: The ASB branches take action spontaneously and independently. Visitors from the GDR get to know the ASB in the Federal Republic of Germany. Many contacts also take place within the framework of the inner-German city partnerships. An advertisement of the federal association in all GDR daily newspapers, in which the foundation of local associations is promoted, is also helpful.

The ASB national office becomes the coordination center, arranges partner and sponsorship relationships, and immediately provides the latest overview of requirements and inquiries from the GDR, provides investment assistance and supplies goods and equipment. In addition, the federal office provides a starter package for new local associations – with guidelines as a working aid, with sample statutes, guidelines, important laws and financing options.

ASB special fund for the reestablishment

The Federal Executive Board gives the highest priority to the reestablishment of ASB branches in the GDR. Already on 3. February 1990, the Federal Executive Board decides on a special fund in the amount of 500.000 DM. On 5. May 1990 the fund is increased to 950.000 DM increased. At a closed-door meeting on 31. August 1990, the federal manager has to report that this amount has also been exceeded again.

To the Federal Committee on 13. October 1990 the request is made to increase the fund to two million DM. By the end of 1990, DM 3.5 million are used up. The approval of funds is always unanimous. Start-up aid for new GDR local associations is also provided for start-up financing and for the hiring of personnel and payment of wages for those doing civilian service. Orders can be placed without payment with the goods dispatch department of the federal office.

The first ASB local association in East Germany

On 27. January 1990, the first ASB local association in the GDR is founded: In Gustrow, 16 women and men take their seats at a table made up of three tables in the apartment of Sybille and Jurgen Wangerin. It is a motley group: bricklayers, carpenters, administrative employees, two kindergarten teachers, a self-employed master craftsman and a student from the GDR as well as a tax official, ASB paramedics, volunteers including the managing director from Bad Oldesloe and Schleswig-Holstein's Minister of Justice Dr. Klaus Klinger, President of the ASB in Schleswig-Holstein, travel to the German-German meeting in Gustrow. From now on, new ASB branches are founded almost weekly.

The first special motor vehicles arrive

The appeal of the federal association to provide special motor vehicles for the new GDR local branches elicits an enormous response. At the federal headquarters, Axel Theil, head of the procurement department, is busy around the clock organizing and collecting special vehicles from all over Western Europe. Used special vehicles for a rescue organization are not available for purchase on demand, but have to be painstakingly found. In the first half of the re-foundation, until May 1990, the ASB delivers 62 motor vehicles: 12 ambulances for the disabled (BTW), 29 ambulances (KTW), 13 ambulances (RTW), 6 emergency ambulances (NEF), two cars for meals on wheels (NEF).

SMH and ASB become partners

One of the first institutions to turn to the ASB for help and cooperation is Schnelle Medizinische Hilfe (SMH) with its senior doctors. Since 1976, mobile emergency medical care in the GDR has been provided by the SMH. The ASB provides all 181 SMH headquarters with material on the history and achievements of the ASB, resulting in numerous invitations to talks in the GDR.

The SMH director of the Halle district, Dr. Wilfried Movius, spontaneously invites the ASB federal managing director Wilhelm Muller and the ASB federal physician Dr. Friedhelm Bartels moved to Karl-Marx-Stadt (Chemnitz) to the SMH service center. A meeting is held there on 10. April 1990 the SMH directors and the SMH problem circle. Many of those present there still found the ASB in the course of 1990 at their place or. arrange for its founding. 29 ambulances, 13 rescue vehicles and six emergency ambulances of the ASB drive for the SMH within the scope of the REttungsdienst.

First aid training for driver's license applicants

In order to generate the first income, the GDR local associations, in addition to transporting people with disabilities in special vehicles, also run first aid courses for driving license applicants. Due to a verbal recommendation of the Council of Ministers, organizations other than the DRK of the GDR are now able to provide this training as well.

Civilian service begins

On 20 February 1990, the Volkskammer. February 1990, the People's Chamber passes the "Ordinance on Civilian Service in the GDR as a replacement via the provisions on "alternative military service as a construction soldier.

The first community service workers are hired by the ASB in the GDR from 7. May 1990 in Gorlitz active. Seven community service workers are assigned to ASB motor vehicles there, which are in use for Rapid Medical Help (SMH).

The early commitment to civilian service in the GDR has a positive impact after reunification: In 1992, ASB is awarded the contract to build a civilian service school in Barth, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Initially, 50 civilians are trained each month.

At the ceremony marking the opening of the civilian service school on 6. May 1992 the then Federal Minister for Women and Youth, Angela Merkel, is present and gives the go-ahead for an extension building with 160 places. The ASB Federal Association has to make building investments amounting to 12 million DM.

It is a pilot project. The ASB civilian service school in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania is the first school in Germany to prepare young men for environmental protection work. There are 2.000 places for unqualified community service workers to work for the environment. The former civilian service school becomes a school for the Federal Volunteer Service in 2011.

Systematic structure

In May 1990, the ASB sets up a full-time office in East Berlin. Two offices are rented in the Medical Care Center in East Berlin. This care center in the Strabe der Befreiung was previously the headquarters of the Stasi district administration for Berlin East. Most of the new aid and welfare organizations are now housed there. The ASB forms a joint office with the Paritatischer Wohlfahrtsverband (Parity Welfare Association) and is now able to make all appointments with the GDR government in East Berlin and provide more intensive support for the founding of new local associations. One of the most important tasks is to obtain an ambulance transport license for.

The D-Mark arrives

As a result of the state treaty between the Federal Republic of Germany and the GDR of 18. May 1990 The creation of a monetary, economic and social union brings about the most drastic changes for the citizens of the GDR and the new ASB local associations.

The ASB branches with their patient transport services now receive legal security. With the directive of the Minister of Health and the Acting Director of the Social Security Administration on the financing of inpatient and outpatient health care facilities of 19. June 1990, decisions are made on changes in financing and decentralization. However, transitionally until 31.12.1990, this only applies to government entities such as SMH. The ASB branches can now settle their expenses through the SMH.

At the time of the monetary union, 8.500 members from the GDR are registered in the membership administration of the federal office. Due to the unified currency area FRG/GDR, the ASB in Cologne is now in a position, from 1. July 1990 the membership fees are collected centrally without cash. By the end of 1990, the number of ASB members in East and Central Germany increases to 18.188.

ASB is the first all-German welfare association

On 22. July 1990, five new states are formed from the 15 GDR districts. East Berlin is united with West Berlin. From 15. By 30. September 1990, the ASB regional associations are founded. 10.500 ASB members are organized in 70 local associations at this time.

On 13. October 1990, the new state chairmen and their deputies are already present at the meeting of the federal committee in Cologne. On the agenda is the "admission of five new state associations to the ASB". According to ยง 4 (3) of the ASB federal statutes this is necessary – the admission takes place unanimously. ASB Federal Chairman Martin Ehmer and ASB President Annemarie Renger can proudly announce that the ASB is the first all-German welfare organization.

Reunification of Germany

The unification of the two German states takes place rapidly following the state treaty on monetary, economic and social union. In the context of the "Two-plus-Four-Conferences" of the four victorious powers and the two German states, initially existing psychological and economic reservations of England and France against reunification are dispelled. The Soviet Union agrees to the complete withdrawal of Soviet troops from East Germany. With the election resulting from the early Volkskammer election on 18. After the coalition government of the GDR under Lothar de Maiziere emerged on March 3, 1990, the federal government concludes the second state treaty, which provides for the GDR's accession to the Federal Republic in accordance with Article 23 of the Basic Law for the third millennium. October 1990 provides. The contract is signed on 20. The reunification treaty of September 1990 is adopted by the East German People's Chamber with only a few dissenting votes and passed by the Bundestag on the same day. After the 3. October 1990 the GDR is history and has ceased to exist.

The ASB in the new states

Still on 13. September 1990 the GDR People's Chamber passes the "Rescue Service Law of the GDR" after many deliberations with the participation of the ASB decided. It takes into account the wishes of the ASB. Its investments since spring 1990 in 29 KTW, 13 RTW and six NEF from its own funds have paid off. On the basis of a list of requirements that the ASB had already submitted on 30. April 1990, 20 emergency ambulances worth DM 2.2 million are handed over to the ASB branches. Immediately after reunification, the counties and municipalities reorganize the rescue service under their own responsibility and involve the ASB depending on its capabilities.

SMH is replaced

The existing Rapid Medical Help (SMH) service is maintained until a fully functioning new rescue service is installed. The cost regulation stipulates that personnel and operating costs are to be financed with the help of user fees by the health insurance funds that are being set up. Negotiations are conducted by the rescue service providers, municipalities and counties. The latter make advance payments to the commissioned rescue service organizations.

Establishment of the transport service

A special transport service for wheelchair users did not exist in the GDR. This is why the ASB's commitment to people with disabilities meets with a great response. The ASB federal association immediately provides 21 special ambulances for transporting people with disabilities.

By the end of 1991, the ASB has established 53 driving service stations. From there, in one year 393.322 people with disabilities and wheelchair users transported and cared for. As part of the inclusion work, the ASB opens workshops for people with disabilities in Konigs Wusterhausen and in Hermsdorf.

All-German federal conferences in Hamburg and Leipzig

The reunification of Germany is the main reason for the 13. ASB Federal Conference of 16. to 18. November 1990 in Hamburg. For the first time in 57 years, delegates from Central and Eastern Germany are again present, and with full voting rights, as they are now equal members of the all-German ASB.

New challenge for the ASB

The ASB is still being built up at full speed, but a new challenge arises that requires the full strength of the ASB organizations. In the fall of 1990, the Soviet Union experiences a catastrophic supply situation. The German government reacts immediately to the request of the Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and offers its help. One speaks of the most successful solidarity action in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany.

On 8. November 1990, the Hamburg Relief Campaign for Leningrad (St. Petersburg), Hamburg's twin city. The ASB takes over the collection of the donations in kind and food packages and brings them to Leningrad. The value amounts to more than 10 million DM until January 1991.

At the turn of the year 1990/91, ASB had thus provided over 5.100 tons of aid are delivered to the regions of Leningrad, Minsk, Kiev, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Smolensk, Riasan, Yaroslavl, Oryol and Uzgorod.

Establishment of welfare stations

Since the spring of 1990, the German government has intended to redesign the existing outpatient care system as part of its program to improve health care for the population in East Germany.

The Paritatische adopts the proposal and model of ASB, VS and VDK for a joint "Paritatische Sozialstation". The ASB federal association is responsible for the central handling of the program, i.e. procurement of the equipment, and bears the responsibility for correct use of funds and accounting.

DM 2.8 million in federal funding is available for 80 social welfare centers. A massive procurement program is now underway at the federal office under the direction of Axel Theil. Everything has to be delivered quickly, and everything still has to be delivered in 1990, which works out without a hitch with the support of the ASB local associations in Worms, Bad Oldesloe, Taunusstein and Berlin, which take over delivery in the individual German states.

In 1991, the German government provided an additional. DM was made available to the welfare associations to build up further welfare stations and to supplement existing ones with materials and equipment. The ASB is able to increase its 82 social stations (end of 1990) to 104 by the end of 1991.

Development of the disaster management system

With reunification, the Federal German Civil Defense Act and the Act on the Extension of Civil Protection also apply to the territory of the former GDR. As early as September 1990, the GDR government abandoned the hitherto military structure of civil defense in the GDR and assigned this area of responsibility to the Minister of the Interior.

In a first step, the Federal Minister of the Interior provides 80 ambulance platoons in the territory of the former GDR, of which the ASB receives 18 platoons. A platoon consists of four minibuses, seven large-capacity ambulances and one motorcycle each. The management funds are also made available for this purpose. From 1992 onwards, a further 80 ambulance trains are set up.

Inpatient after-work care

In 1990, there are about 1.350 so-called after-work homes with about 141.000 places. In the state-run homes, about 57.000 people, 60 percent of whom have specialist qualifications. The homes are mainly run by specially trained health and social care economists, as well as welfare workers and nurses with additional qualifications. Nevertheless, the situation of the building foundations remains unsatisfactory, because about 25 percent of the places are still located in buildings that were built before 1919 and were not intended for the current use. The lack of elevators, heating systems and modern sanitary installations impairs the living and care conditions just as much as high repair costs and restrictions from the protection of historical monuments.

After reunification, many municipalities are overburdened with the operation of after-work homes and are looking for new operators. Many facilities are now offered to the ASB for takeover. Where these services do not exist, the individual ASB local associations take the initiative to take over the homes that are still under municipal ownership.

The ASB takes over the first after-work homes at the beginning of 1991 in Gustrow (30 places), Chemnitz (350 places), Senftenberg (419 places), Boizenburg (45 places), Erfurt (181 places), Gorlitz (234 places), Halle (45 places), Leipzig (444 places). By the end of 1991, there are 23 nursing homes with 3.147 beds and 1.832 full-time nursing staff.

Due to the generous support programs of the federal government within the framework of the "Gemeinschaftswerk Aufschwung Ost" ("Community Work for Upswing in the East") 5 billion DM are available to the federal states for 1991 / 1992. In 1991, the ASB local chapters are able to pay for renovations to the after-work homes 1.336.000 DM in grants. In addition, there is the "Emergency Aid Program for Facilities for the Elderly in the New Federal States". This DM 15 million program is available to the welfare associations alone for investments of up to DM 150,000 per facility.000 DM per facility.

Since the takeover of the first Feierabendheim, it was the strategy of the ASB federal association to transfer the ownership and management of the homes to the local associations. In addition to taking over 23 Feierabend homes and renovating and modernizing them, the local associations have been able to build 43 new inpatient care facilities over the years and now operate 68 care homes with 6.255 beds (as of 2014).


The approximately 600 polyclinics were the most important outpatient facilities of the state health care system in the GDR. They bundled various medical specialties under one roof. The doctors were state employees. They replaced the privately run practice of a registered physician.

At the end of 1990, ASB becomes an advisor to the Brandenburg Ministry of Social Affairs and develops the model of a privately run health center and medical center based on a non-profit limited liability company (GmbH). It is known as the "Brandenburg model known. It is a model project that combines the advantages of the old GDR health care system with the new Western conditions and is intended to serve as a model for the 600 or so polyclinics between the Elbe and Oder rivers that are struggling to survive.

In the future, the doctors will work as employees of the ASB and receive a fixed salary – regardless of the number of sick notes completed. The former polyclinic is then affiliated with an association that also includes social stations, patient transport and the ASB's driving service. By the end of 1991, six polyclinics are transformed into ASB health centers for 66.000 patients converted.

ASB became a specialist organization for children and youth services

Creches for children up to the age of three and kindergartens for three- to six-year-olds were a natural part of family life in the GDR. Until 1989, the GDR had the densest network of creches in Europe: 80 percent of all children up to the age of three had a place in a creche.

In the course of the reunification, kindergartens, day nurseries and creches are now also being transferred by the municipalities to the welfare associations for further operation. The new ASB local associations immediately dedicate themselves to this new challenge. Also the first youth groups of the worker Samariter youth are now brought into being.

Previously predominantly involved in senior care, the organization is now starting to provide child and youth care. By the end of 1991, ASB was already supporting 20 children's facilities with 1.366 places, plus two children's hotels and four children's homes. Today, ASB operates 303 daycare facilities in eastern and central Germany: Kindergartens, creches and day nurseries (as of 2014).


The assets of the ASB were confiscated in 1933 on the basis of the Law on the Confiscation of Assets Hostile to the People and the State of 14. July 1933 confiscated. It was increased to 60 million. Reichsmark estimated. In the Federal Republic, after years of effort, the ASB received, on the basis of the Federal Reimbursement Act of 19. July 1957, an indemnity in the amount of 2.5 million. DM.

By letter of 5. July 1990 the ASB reports its claims to the GDR Prime Minister Lothar de Maiziere. In subsequent years of legal battles with the federal government, the starting in 3. October 1990 responsible "Federal Office for the Settlement of Open Property Issues, it is becoming apparent that only a retransfer of real estate will take place. A lump-sum compensation beyond this is out of the question.

The ASB is now able to successfully obtain the retransfer of former ASB real estate, including the former federal headquarters in Chemnitz, Ludwig-Kirsch-Str. 23, which was approved by order of the city of Chemnitz on 22. January 1996 is transferred back to the ASB federal association. The ASB Chemnitz now operates an assisted living facility for the elderly in this building.

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