At the RotFuchs organization’s event on Jan. 25, 2020, a vital part of the history of the German Democratic Republic (GDR or East Germany, 1949-90) was both subjected to a historical examination under the title, “We and the Russians” − the same name as the book by Egon Krenz − and also related to current politics.
Our Rostock regional group once again hosted Egon Krenz, the last chairperson of the GDR's Council of State. This was due not only to his residing nearby, but because of our friendly relationship with him for many years.
Although our invited speaker Egon Krenz has already held many readings about his book, which has become a bsetseller, every book reading is different. This is due not primarily to the audience, but also because Krenz always updates his speeches with current political events.
In any case, Krenz's statements have a special value because every word spoken not only reflects his inner emotions, but also conveys his political convictions to the listener in a natural way. That Krenz is always able to substantiate all the facts he has mentioned is an important indication for the guests present, but it did not require an additional mention, since Egon Krenz's honest and self-critical approach is appreciated worldwide, even by those who do not always share his political convictions.
That Krenz sees this book, which was published in 2019, as his historical contribution to the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, also indicates his responsible reappraisal. Due to the publication of much of Egon Krenz's autobiography in this book, it is also clear that, as he says himself, he has been closely connected with the Russians for his whole life up to the present.
To begin his introduction, Krenz read the Communist Party of Germany’s (KPD's) appeal of June 11, 1945. He did this partly because just one month after liberation from fascism and the end of the Second World War, the KPD presented in a very short time a clear analysis that detailed the causes for the fascists' seizure of power in Germany as well as their supporters. This analysis also self-critically analyzed the failure to form a united front in the fight against the fascists.
That Krenz chose this beginning is particularly important considering the current events in the Federal Republic of Germany (BRD), in Europe and worldwide, because everywhere fascist organizations of different strengths have developed and are being politically courted [by the capitalists]. Meanwhile it is important to conclude from history how we can avoid making the same mistakes.
The fact that Egon Krenz also spoke on the NATO maneuver "Defender 2020," the largest NATO maneuver since 1945, is logical for various reasons. One reason is that this maneuver is to be held at the Russian border and represents a gross provocation of Russia, because just now is the 75th anniversary of the liberation from fascism and it puts German troops once again at the Russian border.
In his remarks, Egon Krenz repeatedly clarifies the importance of a policy of good cooperation with Russia, cooperation that is indispensable for maintaining peace overall and especially in Europe. In this context, he criticizes the EU decision of Sept. 18, 2019, which aims to rewrite history. This decision classifies anticommunism as state doctrine by equating the dictatorship of fascism with the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Equally essential is the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party congress resolution of 2019, which demands that the military expenditure of the FRG be increased to 2% of the gross domestic product (GDP), which would currently mean 85 billion euros ($94 billion) annually.
In the very broad discussion it was pointed out, among other things, that the GDR leadership had told the Soviet leadership several times that the Soviet model of socialism could not simply be transferred to the GDR. That the Soviets did not see things this way is now well known.
He also dealt with other topics, such as how former Soviet Ambassador Falin* to the FRG stood to Egon Krenz or the relationship of Gorbachev to Krenz. He also discussed the complicated relationship of Poland to Russia and Putin's current appearance in Israel to commemorate the liberation of Auschwitz 75 years ago, where he inaugurated a corresponding monument.
In the discussion it was made clear, especially in connection with the crimes committed against the Jews, that Israel has a right to exist, just as the Palestinians do. Also that one can very well criticize the Israeli government for the policy it practices, such as the occupation of the Golan Heights etc. − which is contrary to international law − but that this criticism has nothing to do with anti-Semitism.
Alongside Krenz’s very strong statements, the very interesting questions from the guests - which were very numerous - showed that this was a very successful educational event. It was especially noteworthy and important that numerous left-wing organizations and progressive associations had also supported this educational event and some of their representatives had taken a seat on the podium.
Valentin Mikhailovich Falin (1926-2018): Russian diplomat, expert on Germany, member of the Soviet Control Commission in the GDR in 1950-1951, advisor to several Soviet leaders from Khrushchev and Gromyko to Gorbachev, he was ambassador to the FRG from 1971 to 1978, after having contributed to the drafting of the 1970 Moscow Treaty aimed at normalising relations between the FRG and the USSR. In 1983, he came into conflict with Andropov and left his position on the Central Committee of the CPSU after receiving a refusal to respond positively to a demand by the Solidarnosc trade union in Poland to set up an independent commission of historians on the Katyn massacre (the execution in spring 1940 of 4,400 Polish prisoners, mainly officers, by the NKVD on Stalin's orders, denied by the Soviet leadership until 1990). He was then a chronicler in Izvestia and a researcher at a West German institute. Valentin Falin began learning German at the age of five and a half. The death of 27 members of his family during the siege of Leningrad convinced him that he had to "not only master the language of the enemy" but also try to know everything about the Germans: "What defines more precisely the nature of this people - the high spirit or the boot with nails? "He accompanied Gorbachev during perestroika and tried in vain to convince him not to abandon the leadership of the GDR to their fate but to try to achieve "German reunification" with a "French-style" solution, excluding NATO membership. Gorbachev, Helmut Kohl and history decided otherwise, opting for a pure and simple "Anschluss" (annexation).
Wir und die Russen
Die Beziehungen zwischen Berlin und Moskau im Herbst '89
304 Seiten, 12,5 x 21 cm, brosch.