Gerd Poppe

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Gerd Poppe 2011

Gerd Poppe (born March 25, 1941 in Rostock ) is a German politician . He became known as a civil rights activist in the GDR . After the peaceful revolution he was minister without portfolio of the GDR, later a politician at Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen and first commissioner of the federal government for human rights policy and humanitarian aid .


Poppe studied physics at the University of Rostock from 1959 to 1964 and worked as a physicist at the Stahnsdorf semiconductor plant from 1965 to 1976 . Since 1968 he was active in opposition circles, in 1975 he was a construction soldier for six months . Because of his protest against Wolf Biermann's expatriation , a commitment from the Academy of Sciences was withdrawn in 1976 . Until 1984 he worked as a machinist in a Berlin swimming pool and until 1989 as an engineer in the construction office of the Diakonisches Werk .

Gerd Poppe (center) 1990, left Tatjana Böhm and Klaus Schlueter , right Hans Modrow

In 1985/86 Poppe co-founded the Peace and Human Rights Initiative (IFM). He was co-editor and author of several illegal samizdat publications: “ Grenzfall ” (1986), “ SPUREN. On the history of the peace movement in the GDR ”(1988),“ Footnote 3 ”(1988),“ Ostkreuz ”(1989). The State Security has monitored it intensively since the late 1960s and covered it with disintegration measures. From countless tapped phone calls it becomes clear, however, that this did not intimidate him and his wife Ulrike Poppe or that it could not deter him in his political commitment.

From 1989 to 1990 he was spokesman and representative of the IFM at the central round table . From February to April 1990 he was minister without portfolio of the GDR and from March to October deputy parliamentary group leader of the Volkskammer faction of Bündnis 90 .

From 1990 to 1998 Poppe was a member of the German Bundestag and foreign policy spokesman for the parliamentary group and parliamentary group Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen . From 1998 to 2003 he was the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid and since November 1998 has been a member of the board of the Federal Foundation for Coming to terms with the SED dictatorship .

Gerd Poppe has two children from his first marriage, including the writer Grit Poppe (* 1964). From 1979 to 1997 he was married for the second time to Ulrike Poppe , who was also active in the civil rights movement. He also has two children with her.


  • Unity and identity of the Germans in East and West. In: markings. On the way to an all-German constitution. Bad Boll 1990, pp. 124-155.
  • Citizens' movement in parliament. In: Operations 110 (ZS). Opladen 1991, pp. 78-85.
  • The public enemy in the living room. In: Peter Böthig, Klaus Michael (Ed.): MachtSpiele. Leipzig 1993, pp. 228-241.
  • Fight for hope. In: Lukas Beckmann, Lew Kopelew (Ed.): To commemorate means to remember - Petra K. Kelly, Gert Bastian. Göttingen 1993, pp. 56-58.
  • On the way from dictatorship to normalcy. In: Rita Süssmuth, Bernward Baule (ed.): A German interim balance. Munich 1997, pp. 187-195.
  • Always in great excitement - the art of the impossible. In: Petra K. Kelly: Live as if you had to die today. Texts and interviews. Düsseldorf 1997, pp. 233-239.
  • Establishment and development of international connections. In: Eberhard Kuhrt (Hrsg.): Opposition in the GDR from the 1970s until the collapse of SED rule. Opladen 1999, pp. 349-377.
  • The House of Parliamentarians. In: Hans Wilderotter (ed.): The house on the Werderschen market. Berlin 2000, pp. 253-262.
  • More than being principled. How will human rights guide German politics? In: FAZ , January 4, 2000.
  • The International Criminal Court. In: Yearbook Human Rights 2002. Frankfurt / M. 2001, pp. 199-209.
  • Human rights policy and humanitarian aid in Africa. In: Susan Arndt (Ed.): AfrikaBilder. Studies on racism in Germany. Unrast, Münster 2001, ISBN 3-89771-407-8 , pp. 436-446.
  • Not just an addition ... In: Heinrich Böll Foundation, Werner Schulz (Ed.): The alliance case. Bremen 2001, pp. 87-96.
  • The long road to just rule. In: Hartmut Koschyk (ed.): Encounters with Kim Dae-jung. Munich 2002, pp. 93-103.
  • Truth and the public - Ludwig Mehlhorn's contribution to the end of communism. In: Stephan Bickhardt (ed.): Living in truth. Leipzig 2012, pp. 242–247.


  • Reinhard Weißhuhn (ed.): Rock collection. Festschrift for Gerd Poppe on his 50th birthday in March 1991 . Berlin 1991.
  • Hagen Findeis, Detlef Pollack, Manuel Schilling: The disenchantment of the political: What has become of the political alternative groups in the GDR? Interviews with leading representatives , Leipzig 1994.
  • Ehrhart Neubert : History of the opposition in the GDR 1949–1989 . (= Series of publications. Volume 346). Federal Agency for Civic Education, Bonn 1997, ISBN 3-89331-294-3 .
  • Ilko-Sascha Kowalczuk (Hrsg.): Freedom and public. Political samizdat in the GDR 1985–1989. (= Series of publications of the Robert Havemann Archive. No. 7). Robert Havemann Society, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-9804920-6-0 .
  • Ilko-Sascha Kowalczuk, Tom Sello (ed.): For a free country with free people. Opposition and Resistance in Biographies and Photos. Robert Havemann Society , Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-938857-02-1 .
  • Danuta Kneipp: In the offside. Occupational discrimination and political dissidence in the Honecker GDR . Cologne, Weimar, Vienna 2009.
  • Ilko-Sascha Kowalczuk : Endgame. The 1989 revolution in the GDR. CH Beck, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-406-58357-5 .
  • Jan Wielgohs:  Poppe, Gerd . In: Who was who in the GDR? 5th edition. Volume 2. Ch. Links, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-86153-561-4 .
  • Martin Gutzeit, Helge Heidemeyer, Bettina Tüffers (eds.): Opposition and SED in the Peaceful Revolution. Organizational history of the old and new groups 1989/90 . Düsseldorf 2011.
  • Christin Leistner: Gerd Poppe. An inappropriate life in the GDR . Stuttgart 2013, ISBN 978-3-8382-0500-7 .

Web links

Commons : Gerd Poppe  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. This is easy to understand in the following documentation, among others: Ilko-Sascha Kowalczuk , Arno Polzin (Ed.): Be brief! The opposition's cross-border telephone traffic in the 1980s and the Ministry of State Security. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2014, ISBN 978-3-525-35115-4 .
  2. 3. Board of Directors of the Federal Foundation for the Processing of the SED Dictatorship
  3. Biographical
  4. ^ Hermann Wentker: From the peace and human rights movement to the peaceful revolution - Ulrike Poppe (born 1953). In: Bastian Hein, Manfred Kittel, Horst Möller (eds.): Faces of Democracy. Portraits on German contemporary history. Pp. 343–359, here 347.