National Prize of East Germany

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Nationalpreis der DDR / DDR National Prize

The National Prize of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) (German: Nationalpreis der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik) was an award of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) given out in three different classes for scientific, artistic, and other meritorious achievement. With scientific achievements, it was often given to entire research groups rather than individual scientists.


The National Prize was awarded on 7 October, "Republic Day" every year since 1949. It was given for "outstanding creative work in the fields of science and technology, important mathematical and scientific discoveries and technological inventions, the introduction of new working and production methods" and "outstanding works and achievements in the areas of art and literature." This coveted award could be given to East German citizens, groups, and even foreigners provided they made crucial contributions to socialist culture and science.

The National Prize was awarded in three classes, with corresponding monetary awards for each class. First class was 100,000 marks, second class was 50,000 marks and third class was 25,000 marks

The medal is round, gold-plated, 26mm in diameter with a portrait of Goethe circled by the words "German Democratic Republic" (German: Deutsche Demokratische Republik) on the obverse side. On the reverse are the words "National Award" (German: National-preis) circled by a pair of laurel wreaths. The ribbon bar consisted of the vertical bars consisting of the national colors of black, red and gold with a gold medal GDR state symbol attached to the center of the ribbon. The medal was worn on the upper right side of the chest.

Notable recipients[edit]


  • Dietrich Herfurth (2006). Der Nationalpreis der DDR. Zur Geschichte einer deutschen Auszeichnung. Mit allen Preisträgern, Titeln und Tätigkeitsgebieten (in German). Selbstverl., Berlin. 
  • Taschenlexikon Orden und Medaillen Staatliche Auszeichnungen der DDR (in German). VEB Bibliographisches Institute Leipzig. 1983.