Commemorative Coins for Communists

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Germany's national postal service has been forced to stop selling a coin commemorating former East Germany's Communist Party in the face of protests.

The silver disc, included in a new 36-piece collection called 60 German Years, attracted fierce criticism from politicians due to its celebration of the union of two political parties into the grouping that ruled East Germany with an iron grip.

The Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) was formed on April 22, 1946, from the merger of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and the Communist Party of Germany (KPD).

The Soviet occupation authorities are widely believed to have applied great pressure on the SPD to force the parties to join. The repressive SED ruled East Germany for the next four decades but eventually lost power with the fall of communism in 1989.

SPD cabinet member Wolfgang Tiefensee, responsible for the eastern states, expressed outrage that the coin appeared to commemorate what he described as a forced union which led to many Social Democrats being thrown in jail.

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