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Guest house of the GDR Council of Ministers

Since the 1950s the name Gohrisch is closely connected to a complex of buildings in which Dmitri Shostakovich lived and also composed his eighth string quartet in 1960: the guest house of the council of ministers of the GDR. Besides the visit of nameable artists and scientists in this guest house (today: "Parkhotel Albrechtshof") was political history in the making.

Originally it was an old villa area in an idyllic location on the outskirts of the municipality of Gohrisch, the buildings of which had been destroyed by a fire and which in 1953 - after the illegal expropriation of the then owners - passed into the administration of the Dresden district. In order to use the attractive building land adequately, the decision was first made to build a holiday home for the politically correct intelligentsia of the newly founded GDR, which was put into operation in 1958 as the "House of Intelligentsia".

The beautiful location in the center of Saxon Switzerland, the remoteness and yet proximity to the well-known resort municipality of Gohrisch made the property more and more popular in the following years and caught the attention of the GDR government, which from then on claimed it for itself. Under the aegis of the GDR Council of Ministers, the complex was expanded and modernized to meet the needs of future GDR state guests, to whom it should be available from now on.

In addition to GDR political prominence around the then head of state Walter Ulbricht, politicians from friendly countries such as Grenada's Prime Minister Maurice Bishop, or the North Korean Head of State Kim Il Sung visited the guest house as state guests. Important internal and foreign policy conferences were moved to Gohrisch, such as in 1968 a council meeting of all member states of the Warsaw Treaty (Warsaw Pact), in which the entry of military troops into the CSSR was presumably decided to suppress the Czech reform movement "Prague Spring".

Above all, however, it was well-known artists and scientists from GDR and abroad who could spend a relaxing holiday here. In addition to Dmitri Shostakovich, who stayed here twice, the violinist David Oistrach, the Soviet avant-garde writer Konstantin Fedin and the Nobel Prize for Literature winner Mikhail Sholokhov also stayed in the Gohrisch guest house. From the 1970s, interest in the once attractive showpiece of socialist interior and exterior architecture ebbed away. The new leadership around Erich Honecker, the new GDR Head of State appointed in 1976, was not drawn here anymore. The venue lost its former splendor in the following years - but not its aura as a place of eventful GDR state history.

It is therefore not surprising that in the autumn of political transformation in 1989 a Citizens Committee of Gohrisch occupied the symbolic building in order to demonstrate for political reforms, freedom of the press and freedom of expression. After the peaceful revolution and the end of the GDR, Saxony became a Free State again in 1990. The first closed meeting on the drafting of a new State constitution took place in the same year in the rooms of the former guest house in Gohrisch and was incorporated in the current constitution of the Free State of Saxony as the "Gohrisch draft constitution".

Since 1990, the property has been run by changing operators under different names as a hotel and currently operates as "Parkhotel Albrechtshof" of a Berlin operating company.

As a testimony to a past socio-political era, the history of the guest house, which is now a listed building, is still waiting for an appropriate historical review.