Documents on Ethiopia

The photos show victims of the Dergue regime in Ethiopia. They hang in the Red Terror Martyrs’ Memorial Museum in Addis Ababa. The museum’s Documentation and Research Center collects records on persecution under the Marxist military junta. Printed matter and historical records are held in the National Archives. Due to the close cooperation between the GDR and Ethiopia, documents are also found in German archives, in particular in the German Federal Archives and the Stasi Records Archive.

Documents and Photos in the German Federal Archives

The Ethiopian dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam maintained close relations with the Soviet Union and the GDR. He attended the opening of the SED’s 11th party congress in April 1986 and is seen standing in the front row.

Few foreign politicians were allowed to get so close to those in power in the GDR: At the SED party congress in East Berlin, Mengistu is standing right next to Horst Sindermann, the president of the GDR People’s Assembly. Continuing from right to left: SED Secretary General Erich Honecker, Secretary General of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev and Chairman of the GDR Council of Ministers Willi Stoph. At the far right stands Honecker’s “crown prince” Egon Krenz.

Mengistu is also present as the SED politburo examines an FDJ procession at the end of the party congress. He is standing next to the GDR head of government Willi Stoph. Erich Honecker, head of the SED, is seen waving in front, next the Minister of State Security Erich Mielke, who is looking straight ahead with a surly expression (in a black coat).

These and other photos reflecting the working relationship between the GDR and Ethiopia are found in the German Federal Archives. The archive’s search engine also lists many related documents.



Former website of the Ethiopian National Archives and Library Agency

Holdings search in the German Federal Archive (German)


After the Dictatorship. Instruments of Transitional Justice in Former Authoritarian Systems – An International Comparison

A project at the Department of Modern History at the University of Würzburg

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