Archive for September 11th, 2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Obituary: Bärbel Bohley, 1945 – 2010

Bärbel Bohley was born in Berlin in 1945, two weeks and a half after the end of World War 2, studied arts, became a painter, and worked with Katja Havemann in the “Women for Peace” Group, founded in 1982. In 1988, she took part in demonstrations commemorating Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, and was arrested. After a prison term, she was expelled, went to England, but was back in East Germany six months later. In 1989, she co-founded the New Forum.

She played a leading role in bringing the collapse of the East German regime about, but viewed German unification with scepticism. “We wanted justice”, she once said, expressing disappointment about how unified Germany came to terms with human rights violations in East Germany, “and we got the rule of law” (“Wir wollten Gerechtigkeit und bekamen den Rechtsstaat”). And: “I know no political party that would breed responsible citizens (“Ich kenne keine Partei, die mündige Bürger hervorbringt”). In 1996, Bohley said that what had been achieved in Germany since reunification was “less than what we dreamed.”

“But it is far more than what we had before.”

Bärbel Bohley died of lung cancer this morning, aged 65.

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Related
Human Rights and the Isolation Factor, July 5, 2008

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