FROM PRAYER TO DEMONSTRATION: HISTORY OF CHURCH IN EAST GERMANY IN 1980s IS STILL NEGLECTED in USA POLITICAL & HISTORICAL ANALYSES
By Kevin Stoda, Germany
During this 20th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, many in Germany are reevaluating the events of that age and reflecting on what it means in Germany and in the world today. This article focuses on two pastors involved in the Revolution of 1989/1990 in Eastern Germany
Both East Germans, Rainer Eppelmann and Markus Meckel have lived out some extremely interesting biographies.
For example, Eppelman opposed the East German Communist states military draft in the 1960s and served time in jail for this. In 1990, however, he suddenly found himself appointed as Defense Minister for the very last East German government.
Eppelmann changed the name of the office as well—he changed it to the "Ministry of Defense and Disarmament". Eppelmann has since served in the parliament and for government for a United Germany several times over the past two decades. As far as my research can demonstrate, there has never been another government in history with a “Ministry of Defense and Disarmament”.
In the meantime, Meckel has been active in the Socialist party (SPD) of Germany and busy running the Foundation for Comprehending the History of the East Germany Society (Stiftung zur Aufarbeitung der DDR-Staat). He also has led working groups to improve Polish and German cooperation and reconciliation for years.
I came across one of those now-prevalent 20th Anniversary (of the Wall Opening up) interviews with Meckel and Eppelman recently.
I think it is very important to hear these two gentlemen in their own words because the American academic publishing industry has really missed out a lot on good and rigorous research on what took place in East Germany between the 1950s and 1989, i.e. when Germany’s first peaceful revolution in history succeeded in deposing a despotic regime.
THE REVOLUTION OF THE PASTORS
The title of the interview I read recently with Rainer Eppelmann and Markus Meckel was pulished in CHRISMON, a Christian monthly magazine.
The interview begins with typical “20th anniversary commemorative” questions for the 1989s, e.g. “Herr Meckel, could you have ever imagined that the East German (GDR) government would ever cease to exist?”