Gunter Schabowski, German politician, Died at 86

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Gunter Schabowski was born on January 4, 1929, and died on November 1, 2015.

He was an official of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED), the ruling party during most of the existence of the German Democratic Republic.

Gunter gained worldwide fame in November 1989 when he improvised a slightly mistaken answer to a press conference question, raising popular expectations so rapidly that the massive crowds gathered the same night at the Berlin Wall, forcing its opening after 28 years; soon after, the entire inner German border was opened.

Gunter was born in Anklam, Pomerania (now part of the federal state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern).

He studied journalism at the Karl Marx University, Leipzig, after which he became editor of the trade union magazine, Tribüne.

In 1952, Gunter became a member of the SED.

From 1967 to 1968, he visited the party academy of the CPSU.

In 1978, he became the chief editor of the newspaper Neues Deutschland (“New Germany”), which as the official organ of the SED was considered to be the leading newspaper in the GDR.

In 1981, Gunter became a member of the SED Central Committee.

In 1985, after leaving Neues Deutschland, he became the First Secretary of the East Berlin chapter of the SED and a member of the SED Politbüro.

Gunter also served as a member of the Volkskammer from 1981 to 1990.

In 2009, famous writer Christa Wolf called Schabowski “one of the worst” East German politicians before the Wende, saying: “I remember a few appearances of him in front of the writer’s guild. You were scared of him.”

Gunter passed away at age 86 in November 2015.


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