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Karl von Orb - Artist in Berlin, Germany









500+ Toy rabbits

Photo Credit

Klaus Roters


The SED secured special rights to hunt in specially designated areas known as state hunting areas, diplomatic hunting areas and so-called wildlife research areas. These were only available to exclusive groups of people, such as high-ranking military officers and state security personnel. Among other things, the SED organized diplomatic hunts and elaborate hunting events with industry delegations, for example in the Schorfheide. The way of working in the state and diplomatic hunting grounds and their elaborate infrastructure (own roads, exclusively equipped hunting lodges and vehicle fleets), was specially designed for the high-ranking guests and permanent hunting guests.

Special hunting grounds for the Nomenklatura had already been designated in Lenin’s Soviet Union. The Romanian dictator Ceausescu, among others, had been honored as a trophy hunter by the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC). The Yugoslavian ruler Tito was also a passionate hunter. Prominent hunters from the West also made use of the eastern game reserves, such as the long-time Bavarian Prime Minister and CSU chairman Franz Josef Strauß, who combined his hunting visits with informal state visits.

With the transfer of power from Walter Ulbricht to Erich Honecker, hunting was further popularized in the Politbüro. Immediately after taking office, Honecker established the “Inspektion Staatsjagd,” a working group that centrally handled construction projects and briefings for hunting guests in the state hunting and diplomatic hunting areas. Honecker’s hunting passion was in effort and practice in a system-wide tradition.

The photo shows the last Staatsjagd (state hunt) in 1989, which ended with a speech by Honecker thanking the guests and helpers for their hunting discipline. (Photo Copyright by Thüringer Allgemeine. Used with kind permission.)