East Germany’s Secret Walther Clone: The Pistole 1001-0

When the Allies occupied German at the end of World War Two, the Walther factory at Zella Mehlis was initially garrisoned by American soldiers (who did a pretty thorough job liberating all the guns they could find there) but eventually ended up in the Soviet occupation zone (and later East Germany). This was in Suhl, a major area of weapons production, and the DDR set up a large factory complex of its own there called the Ernst Thalmann Werke (named after a German communist martyr).

In 1947 a team of engineers started to rebuild the production line for the Walther PP from the tooling and drawings that remained at the Walther plant. The government wants to use pistol for both military, police, and security service. The factory code was 1001, and the pistol was given the designation 1001-0. It took several years to fully reconstruct the production facilities, and once it did production ran from 1953 until 1957 (when the Makarov took over), with about 20,000 produced overall.


  1. The missing safety levers on all samples makes me think that this was deliberate decision. Did the Ethiopians not understand SAFE vs FIRE? So take off all levers and have no safely to confuse folks.

    • Yes, definitely deliberate, but I doubt it was to avoid confusion. Instead it was most probably to render the pistols inoperative (for export/transport/sale?) and only capable of being restored by someone with access to replacement parts. The barrel section of the safety lever retains the firing spring and its spring and on the one Ian field stripped these were also missing. The chamber loading indicator pin and spring were visible in the video but they’re not retained by the safety lever.

  2. “(…)Ernst Thalmann Werke (named after a German communist martyr)(…)”
    Unless it is intentional show of disdain he was Thälmann.

    • Rather the lack of an “ä” on the US-ANSI keyboard. Then you normally replace ä with ae, ö with oe and ü with ue, when the specific type letter is not avaiable. Although every desktop nowadays has a pick and choose app for characters.

  3. Thanks Ian, Your video explained the origin of the “AC” and”Zella-Mehlis,Germany” markings on my 1001-0. They always struck me as somewhat out of place.

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