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Gordon Craig

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE NVA AFTER 2 OCTOBER 1990?

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WHAT HAPPENED TO THE NVA AFTER 2 OCTOBER 1990?
This is a question that I have often wondered about. Here we have a complete, well trained army and they can not just disappear upon Unification. Torsten has told us about the offer made to the officer cadets to take an early release from the officers school but what happened to the serving officers, NCOs and enlisted men? They couldn’t have been demobilized ON 2 October 1990. The economy could not have absorbed all those unemployed people at once.
Well, quite by accident I discovered what happened to at least some of the serving NVA military after 2 Oct. I was researching a West German Army breast badge for Jäegerbataillon 581 when I came across the following;
On the 7th of October 1990 Bundeswehr Jäger Battalion 581 was formed in Berlin. The Initial cadre of the battalion was formed from the staff of the dissolved Guards Regiment Friedrich Engels and Guards Regiment Hugo Eberlein of the National People's Army (NVA) and the Bundeswehr Training Support Staff (West) {Ausbildungsunterstützungspersonal (West)}. They came under operational control of the 42nd Tank Brigade “Brandenburg” (formerly Territorial Brigade 42) {Panzerbrigade 42 “Brandenburg” (ehemals Heimatschutzbrigade 42)}. Territorial Brigades are reserve units in the BW.
On 14 November 1991 at the barracks at Treptow Park , (which had been occupied by Telegraph Battalion No. 1 during the imperial era of the Prussian army) Jäger Battalion 581 was called-up for the awarding of the troop flag and the first solemn vow .
In the autumn 1992 the battalion with about 750 soldiers moved to Berlin Kladow in the former Montgomery Barracks of the British Berlin Infantry Brigade. It was the only armed BW organization in the federal capital at this time. No shooting exercises were performed in Berlin. This took place at Truppenübungsplatz Doberitz. On 14 September 1993, the barracks was renamed the Blücher Barracks
But the story does not end here for;
My research indicates that Panzerbrigade 42, the parent unit of JB 581, was formed by at least part of the1. Motorisierten Schützendivision (First Motorized Rifle Division), of the dissolved National People's Army of the GDR.
So there you have at least part of the answer. Other research indicates that not all of the members of the NVA wished to stayed in the armed forces of the BRD and they were released to civilian life. Others were not allowed to stay in the BW. For example, all General Officers of the NVA were retired prior to 2 October 1990 with the exception of one General in the medical service.
Here is the breast badge worn on the right breast pocket of the dress uniform of JB 581. Also shown is what is supposed to be the cloth arm badge of JB 581. I have no proof at this time that this cloth badge was ever worn on the uniforms of JB 581. If it was worn, it would have been on the left arm between the elbow and the shoulder.
Regards,
Gordon

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I think you will find that they were initially absorbed into the Bundeswehr, with slight changes to uniforms and insignia, and after a while the NVA was dissolved in 1990/91.

and yes they joined the unemployment line

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Attached a link to a video, (U-Tube) showing the hand-over from NVA to Bundeswehr

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Alex,

Very interesting video. Really adds to the thread. Thanks very much for posting it.

Regards,

Gordon

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I wonder how long it took the military of the former DDR to change over to the NATO equipment and Bundeswehr uniforms. It must have been a logistical nightmare.

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Paul R,

Yes it must have. There must have been some planning by the BW before hand as evidenced by the reforming of BW units from reserve to full time using the staff etc of former NVA units. It is worth noting that the NA units I mentioned above are three of the premier units of the NVA.

Not only uniforms needed to be changed but new thought patterns, drill, organizational charts etc. Despite my title for this thread I have studied the transition from NVA to BW for some time. Some people have been kind enough to share their research with me but I can not post it here as I do not have their permission for use beyond my personal research. There were several short courses, some a few weeks in length while others lasted a few months after a former NVA soldier had been accepted, on a provisional basis, and assigned to a BW unit for training. This unit would have assessed the former NVA soldier for retention in the BW beyond the two year provisional enlistment. It must have been difficult to unlearn almost everything you had been taught and to basically start all over again.

Regards,

Gordon

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This is a really interesting part of our military history! There is a good documentary about it on youtube, but its in german only.
They mention a cool story in it, how the change appeared in some NVA units:

A former Stabsfeldwebel of the NVA, today he is an Oberstabsfeldwebel in the Bundeswehr, was member of an NVA Air Force radar team working in a bunker. On the day, as the NVA stopped to exist, they went into their bunker for their nightshift with two (!) sets of uniforms! The NVA one they were wearing, and a set from the former "Klassenfeind" Bundeswehr. Exactly a 0:00 o'clock the order came: Change uniforms! In the morning they left the bunker as Bundeswehr soldiers.

Edited by JensF.

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If I remember right, no NVA officers were to be accepted into the Bundeswehr. Career NCOs were acceptable on a trial basis.

The West German general officer charged with organizing the transition wrote a book about it. I saw it in English. Things were happening very fast. The West Germans were conscious of what they wanted to happen, and that it might not be the exact same way as their NATO allies might suggest being done.

This general seemed kind of bourgeouis. Always remarking on the protocol being observed, how many higher rank officials came to meet with him, and what the furniture looked like.

This officer thought that the NVA officers were more concerned with their loss of economic security (read privilege) than anything else. They would fairly beg for jobs or special favor. He was rather scornful of them. Maybe he thought they should just start a business or something, but you know--unemployment can be pretty scary.

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Paul R,

Yes it must have. There must have been some planning by the BW before hand as evidenced by the reforming of BW units from reserve to full time using the staff etc of former NVA units. It is worth noting that the NA units I mentioned above are three of the premier units of the NVA.

Not only uniforms needed to be changed but new thought patterns, drill, organizational charts etc. Despite my title for this thread I have studied the transition from NVA to BW for some time. Some people have been kind enough to share their research with me but I can not post it here as I do not have their permission for use beyond my personal research. There were several short courses, some a few weeks in length while others lasted a few months after a former NVA soldier had been accepted, on a provisional basis, and assigned to a BW unit for training. This unit would have assessed the former NVA soldier for retention in the BW beyond the two year provisional enlistment. It must have been difficult to unlearn almost everything you had been taught and to basically start all over again.

Regards,

Gordon

So I am sure that most senior officers(Captain and above) and enlisted NCOs were not employed for long after the transition.

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Hi,

some comments are really interesting.

"If I remember right, no NVA officers were to be accepted into the Bundeswehr. Career NCOs were acceptable on a trial basis."

"So I am sure that most senior officers(Captain and above) and enlisted NCOs were not employed for long after the transition."

Please see here:

http://www.bundeswehr.de/portal/a/bwde/!ut/p/c4/NYyxDsIwDET_KG6GFsRWhEAsMCEoW5qY1CJNKtelCx9PMnAnveWdDp6QG82HvBFK0QR4QGdp16-qXx2qWRhJ3mzwJag8L9EF4zEqj7MdyA6CcC8feWtTRCkUjEKZno0kVlNiCcUszNkoctBV-rDXm-of_W1Ot7bZ1rU-X45XmMax_QFvDqck/

"Ende 1998 waren noch etwa 9300 Soldaten der Bundeswehr mit Vordienstzeiten in der NVA im Dienst."

Google Translator: End of 1998 were about 9300 soldiers of the Armed Forces with prior service in the NVA in the service.

Officers and NCO's, see the table above.

It is correct, that several former NVA soldiers had been reduced in the rank in the Bw, according to the ranks West German soldiers had in the Bw, based on the age, the civilian education, the military training and the time of service.

I know a former NVA Oberst, he had been three times an Oberstleutnant!

- NVA Major to Oberstleutnant (1)

- NVA Oberstleutnant to Oberst

- Bw Oberst to Oberstleutnant (2)

- Bw Oberstleutnant to Major

- Bw Major to Oberstleutnant (3)

I know a NVA Oberstleutnant (Dipl.-Ing.), he had the same rank Oberstleutnant (Dipl.-Ing.) in the Bw, no reduction.

And I know a former Oberstleutnant (Politoffizier). He thought, that he could stay in the Bw. But Politoffiziere had no chance, as Generals or Admirals had no chance.

But: "Fünf Generale/Admirale wurden nach dem 3. Oktober 1990 als "Berater in Zivil" weiterbeschäftigt."

Babylon Translator: Five generals/admirals were further-employed after 3 October 1990 as 'advisors in civilian clothes'.

Uwe

Edited by speedytop

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Uwe,

Thanks for adding this important information. It confirms what my research over the years has told me. Below you will find the name of the NVA Medical General, reduced in rank to Colonel, who was retained by the BW. Also, the Generals and the Admiral who were retained as civilian advisers to specific General officers in the BW.

Regards,

Gordon

"Only one former NVA general was accepted for active service in the Bundeswehr:
Generalmajor Dr. sc. Med., Obermedizinalrat, Dipl.-Med. Eberhard Beyer entered the Bundeswehr on 3 October 1990 with the rank of Oberstarzt. He had served from 1987-1990 as Chief of the Medical Service in the Ministry for National Defense.
After separating from military service, four former NVA generals and one admiral were selected to serve as advisors, in a civilian role, with the Bundeswehr-Kommando Ost. Commanded by Generalleutnant Jörg Schönbohm from October 1990-June 1991, this command was responsible for dissolving the NVA, maintaining control of equipment/munitions and absorbing former members of the NVA into the Bundeswehr.
1. Generalleutnant Dipl.-Mil. Klaus-Jürgen Baarß (separated from the NVA on 30 September 1990) – advisor to Generalmajor Werner von Scheven, the deputy commander of Bundeswehr-Kommando Ost, and responsible for all questions regarding general military duties and training.
2. Generalleutnant Dipl.-Mil. Rolf Berger (separated from the NVA on 2 October 1990) – air force advisor to Generalmajor Bernhard Mende, head of the Luftwaffe division of Bundeswehr-Kommando Ost (based at Eggersdorf).
3. Vizeadmiral Dipl.-Mil. Hendrik Born (separated from the NVA on 2 October 1990) – naval advisor to Flottillenadmiral Dirk Horten, head of the naval department of Bundeswehr-Kommando Ost (based at Rostock).
4. Generalmajor Dipl.-Mil. Lothar Engelhardt (separated from the NVA on 2 October 1990) – advisor of the Bundeswehr liaison group headed by Generalmajor Foertsch to the Western Group of Soviet Forces and responsible for all general questions relating to the army.
5. Generalmajor Dipl.-Mil. Michael Schlothauer (separated from the NVA on 2 October 1990) – advisor to Brigadegeneral Peter Jacobs, the chief of staff of Bundeswehr-Kommando Ost.

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Very interesting. Are retired DDR officers still drawing a pension from the BW? Did the DDR and BW military members receive about the same pay? Are DDR retirees getting the same pay rates as their current BW comrades?

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Very interesting. Are retired DDR officers still drawing a pension from the BW? Did the DDR and BW military members receive about the same pay? Are DDR retirees getting the same pay rates as their current BW comrades?

Paul,

Sorry that I did not reply to this sooner. I had meant to but it slipped my mind. NVA officers are still drawing pensions from the BRD but they receive considerably less in their pensions than do BW officers. This was a real bone of contention at the time of unification and is probably as bad 15 years later. Here is a link to a book that discusses this point very well.

Regards,

Gordon

http://books.google.ca/books?id=sELghp1BIbgC&pg=PA145&lpg=PA145&dq=what+pensions+did+NVA+officers+receive+from+the+West+German+government&source=bl&ots=vjO98u1qB-&sig=pNhTDwtPAhcKfPQLXIGf7v7fhJA&hl=en&sa=X&ei=4kKjUt3HL4LsqQHCjIHADw&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=what%20pensions%20did%20NVA%20officers%20receive%20from%20the%20West%20German%20government&f=false

Edited by Gordon Craig

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