J30. Honoring an Anti-Fascist in East Germany II

Socialistic Brigades (“sozialistische Brigade”) is an East German concept that is difficult to explain in today’s capitalistic world. Fundamentally they were clubs comprised of coworkers. For employees at worker’s collectives the Brigades formed a second home – to work, travel, and party collectively.

The items on offer are from the “Brigade Fritz Grosse”, a Brigade from Braunsdorf, East Germany that was part of an agricultural collective and responsible for the maintenance of wheat harvesting equipment. The first item is a homemade scrapbook-pamphlet with photos both of the Brigade at work (repairing combines), preparing a communal meal, children singing, etectera. The Brigade was named in honor of Fritz Grosse (1904-1957 a.k.a. Große), an Anti-Fascist resistance fighter who in 1936 was condemned by the Nazis to a life in prison. The National Socialists held him until 1945 at concentration camp Mauthausen. Grosse spent a total of 11 years in prison and concentration camps. He died in 1957 probably as a long-term effect of untreated health conditions suffered in the concentration camp. His wife was Lea Grosse (1906-1997), a German Jewish communist who was also imprisoned by the Nazis and in 1938 deported to Poland.

The Brigade Fritz Grosse traveled to East Berlin in 1978 to meet with Lea Grosse (and her daughter Irena). The documents include the typescript of a three page speech given by the Brigade in honor of Lea Grosse and her deceased husband.

An interesting insight into Socialistic Brigades and how East Germany honored anti-fascist resistance fighters.

Braunsdorf, East Germany: Brigade “Fritz Grosse”, 1978. Handmade A4 sized scrapbook; [7] pages with 12 original silver gelatin photographs of various sizes. Captions typewritten. Dated May 21, 1978. Together with [3] page A4 sized type script of a speech given in honor of Lea & Fritz Grosse on October 21, 1978. Light scuffing and yellowed paper; overall Very Good.


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