Virtual Sightseeing Tour "Kiel Mutiny" Nov. 1918

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No. 09: Town Hall – The workers’ council supervises the administration starting Tuesday, 5 November 1918

On Tuesday, 5 November the workers in Kiel launch a general strike. In the early morning hours, a workers' council is formed. Gustav Garbe, (M)SPD becomes chairman. From 10:00 hrs. onwards the council controls the municipality, whose heads are not exchanged, but get associates (Beigeordnete) from the workers’ council. Only the alimentation department is taken over directly by the workers' council because of the particularly difficult situation.


Present day map Former map

Größere Kartenansicht
Stadtplan historisch
  A map from 1938, excerpt from a folding map of the Pharos-Verlag, taken from (2009)
Present day view Former view
Foto Rathaus Opernhaus 2009 Foto Rathaus Schwertträgerbrunnen 1914
In the foreground: Opera House, behind town hall. Photo Wikipedia, 2009. Postcard ca. 1914. The former town hall at the old market had become too small for the administration of the fast growing population of Kiel and was replaced in 1911 by the new town hall.

Further information:
Against 10:00 hrs. the city councilor Eduard (Ede) Adler, MSPD came to the town hall and presented the Lord Mayor Paul Lindemann a handwritten note:
"On behalf of the workers 'council, I determine that the municipality, except for the revision of the food situation, has to work as before autonomously under the workers’ and soldiers' council. As associate (Beigeordneter) for the Lord Mayor functions deputy city council director Adler. Kiel, 5 November 1918, signed, Garbe." (See Dirk Dähnhardt, Revolution in Kiel, Wachholtz Verlag, 1978, p. 94 f. The note is kept in the Kiel town archive.)

The work of Eduard Adler (*20 April 1861 in Berlin, + unknown) during and after World War I was described and evaluated in 1986 by Karl Rickers in an article for the Schleswig-Holstein Beirat für Geschichte: Eduard Adlers Friedenspolitik 1914 - Der Vorabend des Ersten Weltkriegs in den Leitartikeln der schleswig-holsteinischen Volkszeitung (Eduard Adler's peace policy, 1914 - The eve of the First World War in the editorials of the Schleswig-Holstein Volkszeitung). Adler was editor of the Volkszeitung until 1917. The article is also available in pdf format (6.3 MB) on the internet >>

Besides the Lord Mayor also other key departments (including police and post office) had to work under associates (Beigeordnete) from the workers' council. These associates were either members of the MSPD or the USPD. Dähnhardt wrote: "... the forced supervision of the associates [brought] no major problems [...], as there was also no apparent resistance on the part of the authorities and departments against the new associates."

In September 1919, further pay for the workers’ council was rejected by Lord Mayor Lindemann.

The virtual sightseeing tour at a glance:

  1. Holtenau viaduct and locks >>
  2. Large drillground (Großer Exerzierplatz) >>
  3. Karlstraße / Langer Segen >>
  4. Torpedo workshop Friedrichsort, Germania shipyard Kiel-Gaarden >>
  5. Barracks (Kasernen) in Kiel-Wik >>
  6. Marinestation Ostsee >>
  7. Arrestanstalt (military prison >>
  8. Trade union house (Gewerkschaftshaus) >>
  9. Town hall (Rathaus) >>
  10. "Schloßhof" >>
  11. Station (Bahnhof) >>
  12. Graves of the killed revolutionaries and soldiers >>

Real, guided tours on this subject are offered by:
- Geo-Step-by-Step >>
- Ernst Mühlenbrink, via Society for Kiel's Town History (Gesellschaft für Kieler Stadtgeschichte) >>
- AKENS, Asche Arbeitskreis >>


Last modified: 13 Nov. 2011


Sailors' Revolt / Kiel Mutiny November 1918 - here you'll find the following further information:

  • Interview with one of the leaders of the mutiny: Lothar Popp >>
  • CV Lothar Popp >>
  • Recollection of the other leader of the mutiny: Karl Artelt >>
  • CV Karl Artelt >>
  • Additional contemporary witnesses (Riedl, Bredenbek, Preßler, Pump; diary of an engineer, Jung, Völcker, ...) >>
  • Videofilm with contemporary witnesses: "Kiel schreibt Geschichte - Matrosenaufstand im November 1918" >>
  • Evaluations of the incidents in Kiel (Dähnhardt, Wette, ...) >>
  • Detailed timeline with documents >>
  • Virtual sightseeing tour >>
  • Commentary >>