"Ostberlin. Demonstration zu Ehren von Karl Liebknecht und Rosa Luxemburg. 15.1.1961"
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Picture 27: The participants in the parade are carrying portraits of the East German state leaders: in the middle of the front row Walter Ulbricht, the most powerful man in the state (formally he was "First secretary of the Central Committee of the Socialist Union Party" and "Head of the People's Chamber"). To his left Otto Grotewohl ("Head of the Council of Ministers"), to his right Wilhelm Pieck ("President" - but this was actually not the most powerful position in the state), who had died in 1960. At first sight it may be surprising to see workers carry portraits of state leaders as if they were holy pictures in a religious procession, in a strictly atheist regime. Also, it may appear contradictory to the regime’s declaration that it embodied the power of the working class to make workers render homage to their rulers in this way. Also, the contradiction between the propagated rule of the working class and the actual rule of party bureaucrats was obvious to many contemporaries and probably noticed by East Germans themselves. However, this contradiction was addressed by public protest for the first time in 1989, when demonstrators shouted "we are the people", declaring that the people, not the bureaucrats, should have the power.