Heinrich Fink

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Heinrich Fink (right) at the vigil in front of the Berlin Cathedral , August 6, 1990

Heinrich Fink (born March 31, 1935 in Korntal, Bessarabia , Romania ; † July 1, 2020 in Berlin ) was a German Protestant theologian , politician and university professor .

Fink was rector of the Humboldt University in Berlin from 1990 to 1991 . He was dismissed on charges of being an unofficial employee (IM) of the Ministry for State Security (MfS). From 1998 to 2002 he was a member of the Bundestag of the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) and from 2003 to 2014 he was chairman of the Association of Victims of the Nazi Regime - Association of Antifascists (VVN-BdA), of which he was honorary chairman from 2014.



Fink came from a Bessarabian pietistic farming family who had been relocated to the annexed part of Poland during World War II and who ended up in Glienicke (near Ziesar) in Brandenburg . Until 1954 Fink attended schools in Glienicke, Brandenburg (Havel) and Genthin , was active in the young community and joined the Free German Youth .

Scientific career

From 1954 to 1960 Fink studied Protestant theology at the Humboldt University of Berlin (HUB) and also attended courses at the universities in Berlin (West) . In 1958/59 he interrupted his studies to work as a travel secretary for the Protestant student community and from 1958 worked in the Weißensee working group . After a vicariate in Halle an der Saale in 1960/1961 , Fink became a research assistant at the HUB.

With the dissertation Justification of the Function of Practical Theology with Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher . With an investigation based on his practical theological lectures , Fink received his doctorate at the HUB in 1966 . In 1969 he became a lecturer there. He then began with a habilitation in practical theology on the subject of pastoral care and group dynamics, but this did not find the approval of the faculty. Due to the regulations of the newly introduced Dr. sc. he thought of an interdisciplinary work. When he was told that he should be appointed professor, he wanted to change subjects, which was not approved. Therefore, in 1978, the habilitation in practical theology took place after the submission of the B doctorate Karl Barth and the movement Free Germany in Switzerland . The section union leadership appealed in vain to the proceedings, in which no representative of practical theology was involved, and to the appointment of Fink as professor of practical theologians. On September 1, 1979, he was appointed professor of practical theology . In 1980 he was elected dean of the theological faculty and in April 1990 "as one of four candidates with 72 percent of the delegate votes from professors, students as well as scientific, administrative and technical staff to the freely appointed rector" of the HUB. The choice was considered a fundamental directional decision.

Dismissal procedures and public reactions

On November 25, 1991, Joachim Gauck , the Federal Commissioner for Stasi Records (BStU), publicly stated that Fink had worked as an IM for the MfS. An examination by the Gauck authorities initiated by Fink himself had revealed in February 1991 that there was no evidence of such activity.

In response to Gauck's declaration, the then Berlin Senator for Science, Manfred Erhardt (CDU), asked Fink for a one-to-one conversation on the same day. Then Erhardt announced the immediate dismissal of Fink as a professor.

Because the allegations had already been made public a few days earlier (including in Die Zeit and Die Welt ), Fink later spoke of a “campaign” aimed at preventing independent democratic developments in the GDR. He stated that his verbal and written contacts with government agencies (above all with the Ministry of Higher and Technical Education and the State Secretariat for Church Affairs) had been "skimmed off" and were therefore included in his MfS files. On November 27, 1991, the general assembly of the Humboldt University declared it was an “impossible situation” for the Gauck authorities' files to reach the press in advance.

On November 28, 1991, the Personnel Commission under Erhardt's chairmanship decided to dismiss Fink without notice. In an extraordinary council meeting on November 29, 1991, Gauck and his representative Hansjörg Geiger explained the allegations against Fink using a collection of materials from various files and documents from their authority's holdings. On the instructions of the head of the department, Joachim Wiegand, the chief officer of IM "Heiner", Klaus Roßberg, ordered the destruction of large parts of the original files on December 6, 1989. Geiger referred to circumstantial evidence, v. a. on an IM advance and on a phone call from Finks to an MfS office. He could "not rule out" Fink's activity as an IM, but "specifically" there is no evidence and, above all, no declaration of commitment. When asked whether Fink might not have known that these files were being kept about him, Gauck explained that this was entirely possible in this case. The council found that Fink's dismissal without notice was legally questionable. Numerous West German and East German artists, scientists and civil rights activists (including Inge Aicher-Scholl , Christoph Hein , Christa Wolf , Stefan Heym , Daniela Dahn , Jens Reich , Wolf-Dieter Narr , Dorothee Sölle and Rudolf Bahro ) declared their solidarity with Fink and spoke of a policy measure. Senator Erhardt made arbitrary decisions against the elected bodies of the Humboldt University . On December 3, 1991, Fink brought an action against his dismissal without notice at the labor court. On April 1, 1992, the court declared Fink's dismissal unlawful and ordered the HUB to continue to employ Fink as a university professor with immediate effect. The termination and dismissal of Fink took place without looking at the files and only on the basis of a letter from the Gauck authorities. The letters and reports of the Gauck authorities as well as the MfS files are not evidence, but private documents that could at most prove that the individual information, declarations and notes came from the respective exhibitors. In any case, the information from the Gauck authorities should be checked in terms of content by the body requesting information, in this case the Senate Administration. (Ref. 64 A Ca 28177/91)

The affidavits of two former MfS officers were before the court. They stated that Fink had never knowingly worked for the MfS. Erhardt's lawyer declared these statements "perjury". The judge interpreted it as a testimony: one should not assume in principle that members of the secret services would tell the untruth in court. He sees a contradiction in the fact that the Senate side does not believe the witnesses, but interprets the papers written by these witnesses as documents.

After the legal defeat, Erhardt appealed and applied for the decision to continue Fink's employment. On April 7, 1992, the Academic Senate requested the acting rector Zschunke to hand over his position to the elected rector. However, Senator Erhardt gave Zschunke the order to continue to prohibit Fink from exercising his office.

In the second instance proceedings before the regional labor court in December 1992, Fink repeated that he had never knowingly worked for the MfS. The former MfS officers were summoned as witnesses at the request of Erhardt's lawyer. The judge suggested to Fink to settle the proceedings. Fink refused. The court came to the conclusion that Fink had "had direct conspiratorial contacts with the MfS and provided them with information." It only referred indirectly to the information provided by the Gauck authorities, as they did not consider the possibility of an unknowing skimming of Finks. The court also questioned the credibility of the Stasi witnesses. Nonetheless, it based its assessment of the two points in which Fink saw direct contact with the MfS convicted (telephone conversation with the MfS during the 1987 Kirchentag and awarding of a medal from the NVA) on statements from these very same officers - and in very different ways Way: Once positive as “obvious” and once negative as “absurd” or “inapplicable”. Allegedly existing audio recordings of the telephone conversation with the MfS or evidence of the actual award of the medal were not presented to the court. The presiding judge admitted that the verdict could "not count as ultimate truth". In the complicated process of establishing the truth, the court had "attained the degree of certainty that requires silence in doubts without completely excluding them." Fink's successor in the rector's office, Marlis Dürkop , declared that she wanted Heinrich Fink's undisputed contribution to the renewal process at Humboldt University to be recognized.

Fink lodged a constitutional complaint with the Federal Constitutional Court, which was dismissed on June 10, 1997.

Reconstruction of the MfS files about IM "Heiner"

By 2005, the BstU had reconstructed around 600 sheets of the original MfS files on IM “Heiner” (reference number XV / 1827/68) managed by the main department XX / 4 (department for church issues). There is an "overview sheet" with the real name "Dr. theol. Heinrich Fink ”plus correct date of birth, home address and job.

The files document that the MfS recruited Fink as an unofficial employee on June 11, 1968. It contains reports of Fink's meetings with his senior officer and of his assessments of other people. Fink had "drawn attention to individuals on his own initiative" and also made his knowledge available from " confessional secrets and confidential pastoral discussions". There is also a report that he has handwritten in "I-form", which, however, contains neither a sender nor an addressee and is also not marked with an alias. Fink's business trips abroad were also reported to the ministry. In addition, there are indications of gifts and bonuses, but without receipts. The numerous files found and the long period from 1968 to 1989 in which he reported to two MfS command officers and denounced numerous colleagues speak against Fink's declaration that he was the victim of a “skimming” by the Stasi.

Fink reports that a journalist offered him to inspect the file. There he found only one piece of paper with his signature: a letter to the GDR State Secretary for Church Affairs. He stated that there was still no evidence of the alleged IM activity. Rather, the fact is that bugs and eavesdropping devices were installed in his apartment, and his conversations were bugged from the apartment above. To this end, Colonel Dr. Wiegand, head of department at Department XX / 4, explains in front of the court that those intercepted in this way were listed as IM, in Fink's case under the code name "Heiner". The phonograms were considered to be authentic reporters. Fink's surveillance by the MfS is evidenced by other files.

Classification by the Bavarian Office for the Protection of the Constitution

As chairman (until 2014) of the VVN-BdA, the Bavarian State Office for the Protection of the Constitution assigned him in 2011 “communist-tinged left-wing extremist anti-fascism, anti-militarism and anti-capitalism”, and Fink also endorsed “the cooperation of the VVN-BdA with violence-oriented autonomous groups”.

Society and politics

In 1961, Fink became a member of the Christian Peace Conference and temporarily chaired its state- affiliated GDR regional committee. Several business and lecture trips took him to western countries.

From 1978 to 1990 he was a member of the Synod of the Evangelical Church in Berlin-Brandenburg (East Region). Fink was considered compliant and loyal to the state in the GDR. On October 8, 1989, he was injured during an operation by the People's Police and the Ministry for State Security against demonstrators in front of the Gethsemane Church in Berlin . He then worked on the relevant investigation commission of the city ​​council . In December 1989 he headed the HUB round table . In 1992 Fink was a co-founder of the “Committee for Justice”. From 1998 to 2002 he was a non-party member of the German Bundestag for the PDS . Before that he worked for the PDS parliamentary group as a "research assistant". From November 2003 to May 2014 he was chairman of the Association of Victims of the Nazi Regime - Association of Antifascists (VVN-BdA). At their 2014 national congress, he was appointed honorary chairman.

Fink demanded the early release of the former terrorist of the Red Army faction , Christian Klar, and visited him in prison.

In December 2013, Fink received the “Human Rights Prize” from the Society for the Protection of Civil Rights and Human Dignity


Heinrich Fink was married to Ilsegret Fink and had three children. He died on July 1, 2020 at the age of 85 in Berlin.



  • How the Humboldt University was turned. Memories of the first freely elected rector. Ossietzky, Hannover 2013, ISBN 978-3-9808137-0-9 .
  • On the history of the theological faculty in Berlin. In: Scientific journal of the Humboldt University in Berlin. Social science series. Vol. 34 (1985), H. 7, pp. 517-628.


  • with Cornelia Kerth and VVN-Bund der Antifaschisten: Objection! Anti-fascist positions on history politics. PapyRossa, Cologne 2011.
  • with Carl-Jürgen Kaltenborn and Dieter Kraft : Dietrich Bonhoeffer - endangered legacy in a threatened world. Contributions to the discussion about his work. Union, Berlin 1987, ISBN 3-372-00074-9 .
  • with Herbert Trebs : Emil Fuchs . From Schleiermacher to Marx. Union, Berlin 1969.
  • Stronger than fear. The 6 million who couldn't find a savior. With a foreword by Emil Fuchs. Union, Berlin 1968.
  • with Palamede Borsari and Jessie Street : Première Session du Conseil mondial de la paix. Berlin, 21–26 février 1951. Compte rendu et documents II. 1951.


  • Rudolf Bahro : Heinrich Fink and dealing with our past: “An ordinary political measure”. University Political Public Working Group, Leipzig 1991.
  • Bernhard Maleck: Heinrich Fink: "Taking responsibility". Dietz, Berlin 1992.
  • Political culture in unified Germany: The dispute over Heinrich Fink, Rector of the Humboldt University in Berlin (= creative utopia. Documentation. Issue 17) Treuberger, Berlin 1992.
  • Guntolf Herzberg, Klaus Meier: career pattern . Scientists portraits (advanced paperbacks 137 texts at the time ). Structure Taschenbuch Verlag, Berlin 1992, ISBN 3-7466-0135-5 .
  • Jan Wielgohs:  Fink, Heinrich . In: Who was who in the GDR? 5th edition. Volume 1. Ch. Links, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-86153-561-4 .
  • Renate Oschlies: The informer . In: Berliner Zeitung , June 16, 2005
  • The professor and the Stasi . In: Die Zeit , No. 12/1997

Web links

Commons : Heinrich Fink  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Theologian Heinrich Fink has died . Notification of the DPA dated July 2, 2020; published and accessed on July 2, 2020 at sueddeutsche.de .
  2. Dietmar Linke, Between the lecture hall and the dock. Theology students at Humboldt University, Neukirchen-Vluyn 1994, p. 436
  3. Wolf Krötke : The Theological Faculty of the Humboldt University in Berlin 1945–2010 (PDF; 849 kB) p. 72.
  4. Hans-Dieter Schütt: Energy against waving. On the death of the theologian Heinrich Fink. In: Neues Deutschland from July 3, 2020, page 13
  5. Peer Pasternack, Humanities in East Germany . (PDF; 1.0 MB) 1995: p. 266. Konrad H. Jarausch, The Struggle for Renewal 1985–2000 , in: Heinz-Elmar Tenorth (ed.), History of the University of Unter den Linden, Vol. 3: 1945 –2010, Berlin 2012, p. 599.
  6. On the events surrounding Fink's dismissal, cf. Konrad H. Jarausch, The Struggle for Renewal 1985–2000 , in: Heinz-Elmar Tenorth (ed.), History of the University of Unter den Linden, Vol. 3: 1945–2010, Berlin 2012, pp. 616–630 (with further literature); Peer Pasternack, 'Democratic Renewal'. A university-historical study of the east German university conversion 1989–1995 . Weinheim 1999, pp. 210-225; Heinrich Fink, How the Humboldt University was turned . Memories of the first freely elected rector, Hannover 2013, pp. 47–51 and pp. 109–113.
  7. Dietmar Linke, Between the lecture hall and the dock. Theology students at the Humboldt University, Neukirchen-Vluyn 1994, pp. 443–444
  8. ^ Stasi review by Fink . In: Berliner Zeitung , December 4, 1998.
  9. ^ Dorothee Sölle: Solidarity with Heinrich Fink . Neue Weg 86, 1992, pp. 272-274. doi: 10.5169 / seals-143718
  10. On the first court case, cf. Konrad H. Jarausch: The struggle for renewal 1985–2000 , in: Heinz-Elmar Tenorth (Hg :.), History of the University of Unter den Linden, Vol. 3: 1945–2010, Berlin 2012, pp. 630–631 (with further literature); Pasternack, 'Democratic Renewal' , pp. 226–228.
  11. For further procedures cf. Christian Füller, The Fink Trial and the Rule of Law. The process of Fink's dismissal is not suitable for cheap polemics , in: Peer Pasternack (ed.), Hochschule & Kirche. Theology & Politics. Visiting a network of relationships in the GDR , Berlin 1996, pp. 180–190; Pasternack, Democratic Renewal , pp. 228–229.
  12. Renate Oschlies: The informer . In: Berliner Zeitung , June 16, 2005
  13. Files from the bag . In: Der Spiegel . No. 19 , 2005 ( online ).
  14. In another representation, however, there is talk of “first contact talks” in 1968 and a “re-registration as an IM process on February 12, 1969”. Sven Vollrath: Between self-determination and intervention: the restructuring of the Humboldt University from 1989–1996 . S. 114. Cf. also Konrad H. Jarausch, The Wrestling for Renewal 1985–2000 , in: Heinz-Elmar Tenorth (ed .:), History of the University of Unter den Linden, Vol. 3: 1945–2010, Berlin 2012, P. 629.
  15. See Sven Vollrath: Between Self-Determination and Intervention: The Reorganization of the Humboldt University 1989–1996 , p. 115.
  16. Sven Vollrath: Between Self-Determination and Intervention: The Rebuilding of the Humboldt University 1989–1996 , p. 116.
  17. Sven Vollrath: Between Self-Determination and Intervention: The Rebuilding of the Humboldt University 1989–1996 , p. 114.
  18. ^ Sven Vollrath: Between Self-Determination and Intervention: The Rebuilding of Humboldt University 1989–1996 , p. 123.
  19. ^ Heinrich Fink: How the Humboldt University was turned , pp. 83–84.
  20. Sven Vollrath: Between Self-Determination and Intervention: The Rebuilding of the Humboldt University 1989–1996 , p. 114
  21. ^ Constitutional Protection Report Bavaria 2011 ( Memento of January 13, 2017 in the Internet Archive ), Bavarian State Ministry of the Interior, pp. 215–216.
  22. ^ A b c Jan Wielgohs:  Heinrich Fink . In: Who was who in the GDR? 5th edition. Volume 1. Ch. Links, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-86153-561-4 .
  23. The professor and the Stasi . In: Die Zeit , No. 12/1997.
  24. Heinrich Fink Honorary Chairman .
  25. Prudence and tolerance. Heinrich Fink on the 85th birthday of Junge Welt , April 1, 2020
  26. http://www.neues-deutschland.de/artikel/917748.antifaschist-fink-mit-gbm-preis-ausgezeich.html
  27. Claudia Keller : From day to day: forgetfulness. In: Tagesspiegel.de . November 16, 2016, accessed July 3, 2020 .