Thomas Welz (born 1957 as Thomas Berndt in Bad Berka) grew up in the suburbs of Berlin. As head of the information department, he was editor and author of several illegal samizdat publications with Rainer Eppelmann of the peace circle of the East Berlin Samariterkirche (Church of the Good Samaritan) in Berlin-Friedrichshain. Many of them became the mouthpiece of the East German civil rights movement, including publications like "Shalom", "Wegzehrung" and "Wendezeit", one of the first publications, in where term "Wende" was used. During his military service in the NVA, Thomas Welz was detained for five months from October 1978 in the infamous military prison in Schwedt.
Bad Berka is a German city, situated in the south of Weimar region in the state of Thuringia. With its almost 8,000 inhabitants Bad Berka is the second biggest city in Weimarer Land district. The river flowing through the city, which is embedded in new red sandstone, is called Ilm. Since 1 December 2008, the city has incorporated the former municipality of Gutendorf.
Berlin is the capital and largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,748,148 (2018) inhabitants make it the second most populous city proper of the European Union after London. The city is one of Germany's 16 federal states. It is surrounded by the state of Brandenburg, and contiguous with its capital, Potsdam. The two cities are at the center of the Berlin-Brandenburg capital region, which is, with about six million inhabitants and an area of more than 30,000 km², Germany's third-largest metropolitan region after the Rhine-Ruhr and Rhine-Main regions.
Samizdat was a form of dissident activity across the Eastern Bloc in which individuals reproduced censored and underground publications by hand and passed the documents from reader to reader. This grassroots practice to evade official Soviet censorship was fraught with danger, as harsh punishments were meted out to people caught possessing or copying censored materials. Vladimir Bukovsky summarized it as follows: "Samizdat: I write it myself, edit it myself, censor it myself, publish it myself, distribute it myself, and spend jail time for it myself."
Welz, active in various initiatives and ad hoc groups of the East German opposition and the peace movement was co-founder of the oppositional political group Democratic Awakening in 1989. After German reunification in 1990, he was active in the Social Democratic Party of Germany. He is married and has two sons. He lives in Berlin.
The Peaceful Revolution was the process of sociopolitical change that led to the end of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) in the German Democratic Republic and the transition to a parliamentary democracy which enabled the reunification of Germany. This turning point was wholly created through the violence-free initiatives, protests, and successful demonstrations, which decisively occurred between the local elections held in May 1989 and the GDR's first free parliamentary election in March 1990.
Democratic Awakening was an East German political movement and political party that was active during the Fall of Communism and in the period leading up to the German reunification. While it was a relatively minor party, it took part in the first democratically elected government in East Germany in 1990, and is especially known because future Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel started her political career within the party.
The German reunification was the process in 1990 in which the German Democratic Republic became part of the Federal Republic of Germany to form the reunited nation of Germany, and when Berlin reunited into a single city, as provided by its then Grundgesetz (constitution) Article 23. The end of the unification process is officially referred to as German unity, celebrated on 3 October. Following German reunification, Berlin was once again designated as the capital of united Germany.
Ehrhart Neubert is a retired German Evangelical minister and theologian.
The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.
Rainer Eppelmann, is a German politician. Known for his opposition in the German Democratic Republic, he became Minister for Disarmament and Defense in the last cabinet. He is now a member of the CDU.
Theodor Hoffmann was an East German Admiral who served as the head of the People's Navy (Volksmarine) and as the last Minister of National Defense of the German Democratic Republic and head of the National People's Army.
The Scharnhorst Order was the highest medal awarded to members of the East German National People's Army (NVA). It was given for services to military or other strengthening of the German Democratic Republic (GDR). Established on 17 February 1966 by the Council of Ministers of the GDR, it was awarded until the dissolution of the GDR in 1990.
The Stiftung Ettersberg is legally established foundation, located in Weimar, Germany. It is mission is the comparative study of European dictatorships and their transition to democracy.
Siegfried Reiprich is a German human rights activist and author. He was involved in the resistance against the communist regime of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), which led to him being expelled from university and eventually banished from the GDR. In 2009, he was appointed by the Government of Saxony as the Director of the Stiftung Sächsische Gedenkstätten. In 2011, he was elected as a member of the Executive Board of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience.
Werner E. Ablaß is a German politician who was a Christian oppositionist in East Germany (GDR). Together with minister Rainer Eppelmann, Secretary of State in the Ministerium für Abrüstung und Verteidigung (MfAuV), Ablaß played a major role in the closure of the National People's Army (NVA) during the German reunification.
Wolfgang Templin – leader of the democratic opposition in Eastern Germany, publicist, concerned with the history of the GDR, the former Eastern Bloc and the German reunification, associate of many institutions of citizen education.
Ulrich Woronowicz was an East German Protestant theologian and writer.
Ilko-Sascha Kowalczuk is a German historian and author. His work is focused on the German Democratic Republic and its Ministry for State Security.
The Olof Palme Peace March was a transnational peace march/demonstration that took place in the German Democratic Republic during September 1987.
Karl Wilhelm Fricke is a German political journalist and author. He has produced several of the standard works on resistance and state repression in the German Democratic Republic (1949–1990). In 1955 he became one of several hundred kidnap victims of the East German Ministry for State Security, captured in West Berlin and taken to the east where for nearly five years he was held in state-dentention.
Bernd Eisenfeld, also known by the pseudonym Fred Werner, was an opponent of the East German dictatorship who became a writer and an historian.
Christfried Berger was a protestant theologian in the German Democratic Republic and, subsequently, in Germany following reunification. He was a leading ecumenist.
Horst Bartel was a German historian and university professor. He was involved in most of the core historiography projects undertaken in the German Democratic Republic (1949–1989). His work on the nineteenth-century German Labour movement places him firmly in the mainstream tradition of Marxist–Leninist historical interpretation.
Erika Stürmer-Alex is a German artist whose works include wall paintings, panel paintings, printed graphics, collage sculptures, polyester sculptures and installations.
Katrin Hattenhauer is a German painter and civil rights activist. In the late 1980s she was a member of the GDR-opposition movement. On 4 September 1989 she demonstrated "For an Open Country with Free People", marking the beginning of the Monday demonstrations in Leipzig. Her paintings and social sculptures have been exhibited in Europe.
Katja Havemann is a German civil rights activist and author.
Martin Böttger was a prominent civil rights activist in East Germany. He was a member of the Landtag of the Free State of Saxony from 1990 to 1994 and led the faction of Alliance '90/The Greens.