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Günter Schabowski

Günter Schabowski (born January 4, 1929, Anklam, Mecklenburg, Germany) was an official of the SED party in East Germany, formally known as the German Democratic Republic (GDR).


Studied journalism in Leipzig, after which he became editor of the Union magazine, Tribüne. In 1952 he became a member of the East German Socialist Unity Party (SED). In 1978 he became the chief editor of the newspaper Neues Deutschland ("New Germany"), considered to be the most popular newspaper in the GDR. In 1981 he became a member of the Central Committee of the SED. In 1985 he became the "First Secretary" of the Berlin SED and a member of the SED Politburo. After the German Reunification, Schabowski was thrown out of the SED, which now exists as the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS). In 1989 he was awarded the "Karl Marx" medal.

On November 9th, 1989, after a misunderstanding, Günter Schabowski announced in a live-broadcast international press conference that the border crossing between West and East Berlin had been opened. Tens of thousands of people immediately went to the Berlin Wall where the border guards opened access points and allowed them through.


"What impresses me the most is that I was an accountable representative of a system under which people suffered, also under which repression was aimed at individuals, who were persecuted because of their oppositional stance. Their position was the right one. My position was the wrong one. We were not capable of democracy, but rather tried in the abscence of better arguments to get rid of the other opinion with direct violence."