Thursday, August 20, 2015

Death of Egon Bahr

One of Germanay's giants died today.

Egon Bahr, who was Willy Brandt's right-hand man, was born in Treffurt, near Eisenach in 1922.

It was Bahr who was the brains behind Ostpolitik. With Brandt he engineered the political thaw between Germany and the Soviet Union. he made it possible for West Berliners to visit their relatives in East Berlin.

The former journalist joined the SPD in 1956.

He was Minister for Economic Cooperation between 1972 and 1976. He was later Development Minister in Helmut Schmidt's government.

Bahr served as a soldier in Hitler's army but was dismissed when it was discovered that his grandfather was a Jew. His father had been 'recommended' to divorce his wife because of her Jewish background, something he refused to do.

Willy Brandt appointed him his political adviser during his time as Mayor of West Berlin.

In the 1970s he was often criticised by the Catholic Church. Many German clerics considered him a communist, indeed, some saw him as a spy for the Soviet Union. He was also accused of being a traitor.

He married Adelheid Bonnemann-Böhner in 2011.

I have only ever been interested in ‘’Deutschlandpolitik’’. I didn’t become a Social Democrat in order to nationalise  banks. No, I became a Social Democrat because I was of the opinion that Adenauer did not really mean it [that Germany should be reunited], and that Schumacher really did mean it. I was always certain that Reunification would finally be achieved. I never lost that conviction.

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