What do Soviet parade uniforms look like

: Trial in Berlin: In NVA uniforms to the Soviet memorial

Video lesson in the district court. A monitor in room 101 shows how around 40 men and a woman in uniforms of the National People's Army (NVA) of the GDR march across the grounds of the Soviet memorial in Treptow and lay a wreath. From the off you can hear at the end: “Men, wonderful! Super! ”They are recordings from May 9, 2013, the 68th anniversary of the Red Army's victory over the Wehrmacht.

On Tuesday, four men had to answer for this appearance at the Tiergarten district court, a fifth defendant was unable to travel and did not appear. The public prosecutor's office accused Hans-Jürgen M., Wilfried R., Wolfgang S. and Andreas L., four gentlemen between 54 and 69 years of age, of violating the right of assembly. The defendants are members of the traditional association of the National People's Army. In its statutes it is stated that one sees itself as an association "for all members of the NVA, the border troops and the other armed organs of the GDR to maintain their traditions and in this sense as an anti-fascist, anti-militarist and solidary organization".

Ten house searches

You have to know that neither the traditional association nor the NVA itself are forbidden, nor is the wearing of NVA uniforms. Nevertheless, the public prosecutor's office investigated. After the march, 120 police officers searched the apartments and rooms of ten suspects at the request of the prosecution. The videos that the association had made themselves were found. On the occasion, the weapons that the club members carried in Treptow were examined for violations of the War Weapons Control Act - sabers and two Kalashnikovs were on display. The machine guns turned out to be dummies, and the sabers were ultimately not included in the prosecution.

At first sight, the court only had the right of assembly in mind, which prohibits the wearing of uniforms in general. In fact, however, political and historical questions also arose: 25 years after the accession of the GDR, is it permitted to wear such weapons (including dummies) and (real) uniforms in public? Does it matter that this happens on a date that is considered to be the day of victory against the Nazi regime - and the day of honor for the millions of Soviet soldiers who died for it? Or was it an appearance by people of yesterday who, 25 years later, mourn the GDR and its army?

"Don't fight the cold war"

For the defense lawyers, the matter was very clear: Mirko Röder, who represents Andreas L., said he thought it was unwise to "fight the Cold War here". He advises calmness. Incidentally, wearing the NVA uniform reveals nothing about the political views of his client and the other defendants. They did not demonstrate, but rather wore their uniforms because "as soldiers of a peace army they wanted to honor those soldiers and officers who gave their lives in the fight against Hitler's fascism". For this reason alone, the term carnival is prohibited.

His colleague Steffen Tzschoppe considers the entire process to be "downright silly" and the work of the public prosecutor, whose indictment is "politically motivated in style", as "disproportionate". Tzschoppe dismissed the discussion about uniforms with the argument that the wearing of the drillichs of former concentration camp inmates from Sachsenhausen or Buchenwald to commemorative events would have to be forbidden. "That's absurd," he said.

In the end, the judge dropped the case on the grounds of minority. "Neither punishment nor acquittal would have been the right signal here," he said.