Berlin-Lichtenberg – It’s an irony of history. During the GDR era, the State Security Service wanted to tear down the Hans-Zoschke Stadium, which was adjacent to the MfS headquarters in Lichtenberg. Now the arena of the Lichtenberg 47 association is to be expanded and given a roof with the millions from the former SED assets.
The Senate has now made a total of more than twelve million euros out of the financial legacy of the GDR state party and distributed it to the districts. The money is intended to support important projects and construction projects in the neighborhoods. 500,000 euros of this will go to the Hans-Zoschke-Stadion on Normannenstrasse.
The money is urgently expected there for the planned construction of a partial roof. And not only so that it will be possible for the fans “in the future to be able to cheer for Lichtenberg 47 even in the dry”, as the Lichtenberg MP Sebastian Schluesselburg (left) says.
Money from the SED assets makes the stadium suitable for a league
The partial roofing is necessary for the stadium (almost 10,000 seats) to be licensed for regional league games. Because in 2019 SV Lichtenberg 47 rose to the fourth regional league northeast. In the new season, legendary teams such as 1. FC Lok Leipzig, Carl-Zeiss Jena or Energie Cottbus will be guests in the Hans-Zoschke Stadium. But the arena does not yet meet all the requirements for games at this level. Andreas Prüfer, President of the Lichtenberg 47 Association, is happy that 500,000 euros from the former SED assets are now flowing into the stadium expansion. “With the funds now acquired for a grandstand roof, the stadium will be future-proof,” he says.
The Lichtenberg district had applied for the money from the Senate. “I am very pleased that the Zoschke Stadium has now received the necessary funds for the expansion,” says District Mayor Michael Grunst (left). “The stadium not only has historical value, it is also a real piece of Lichtenberg. If you still want to experience honest football in a family atmosphere, you should go to the Hans-Zoschke-Stadion. “
Stasi chief Erich Mielke: Here he celebrates the GDR championship title (1987) with his BFC stars. A decade before that, he wanted to demolish the arena of the Lichtenberg 47 football club.
The arena should actually no longer exist today. In 1952, the sports field was built on the occasion of the World Youth Festival, which took place a year later in east Berlin. The stadium was named after the Lichtenberg footballer and resistance fighter Hans Zoschke, who was executed by the Nazis in 1944. However, that hardly bothered Stasi chief Erich Mielke, who wanted to demolish the Hans-Zoschke-Stadion in 1972 in order to be able to expand the neighboring MfS headquarters.
Protest prevented the demolition that Mielke was planning
But there was a hail of protest. With the help of the committee of anti-fascist resistance fighters and Zoschke’s widow Elfriede Zoschke, the demolition was prevented. The fact that the arena is now being made suitable for a league with money from the former GDR rulers is remarkable when you consider that the Stasi has kept an eye on the site for its expansion plans, says Member of Parliament Schlüsselburg.
According to experts, the SED is said to have been one of the richest parties in Europe at the end of the GDR. Her fortune was estimated at 6.1 billion GDR marks, of which 3.3 billion in funds and real estate. Part of the money of the state party and other mass organizations was transferred to banks in Switzerland via bogus companies. After years of legal disputes against various financial institutions, an action was taken to have these assets surrendered.
A total of over 1.6 billion euros are said to have been secured. The money is now being used in the East German federal states for economic restructuring or for social, cultural or sports projects.