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It almost seemed that schoolchildren were born into the Ernst Thälmann Pioneer Organisation. Dressed in pioneer uniforms, they had to take a vow from the first to the seventh grade, promising to act according to the laws of the Thälmann pioneers. Anyone who refused to be “always ready for peace and socialism” was seen as a dissident. The faithful and exemplary were set upon such rebels. Armed with pre-phrased questions: “Why don’t you do things according to Ernst Thälmann’s legacy, as a socialist patriot and proletarian internationalist?” Or: “Why won’t you raise your hand above your head in the pioneer’s salute? You should know that the five fingers of your hand stand for the five continents where people are being oppressed.” Recommendations taken from the Young Agitator’s Course for exemplary eleven-year-old pioneers.

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