Rainer Eppelmann

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Rainer Eppelmann 2008
Eppelmann speaks in the Thuringian state parliament at the congress "On the social situation of the victims of the SED regime in Thuringia", 2008

Rainer Eppelmann (born February 12, 1943 in Berlin ) is a German Protestant pastor , civil rights activist and former DA or CDU politician. After he had gained notoriety within the GDR as a member of the opposition, he was Minister for Disarmament and Defense in the last GDR government in 1990 . Since 1998 he has been chairman of the board of the federal foundation for coming to terms with the SED dictatorship .


Eppelmann grew up as the son of a carpenter in the eastern part of the destroyed but not yet finally divided city of Berlin. His father was an SS-Unterscharfuhrer and guard in the Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen concentration camps . His mother was first in the Bund Deutscher Mädel (BDM) and then joined the NSDAP as a post office worker . The father remained a resolute anti-communist throughout his life .

He attended a grammar school in west Berlin and had to drop out of school with the 11th grade because of the building of the wall . Because he was not a member of the FDJ , it was not possible for him to do his Abitur in the GDR . As a result, he was unable to realize his dream of becoming an architect at the time. He first worked as a roofer assistant before completing a skilled worker training as a bricklayer from 1962 to 1965 . In 1966 Eppelmann refused to serve as a weapon in the National People's Army (NVA) and to take the oath . Because of insubordination he was then to an eight-month prison sentence convicted.

Rainer Eppelmann studied theology at the Paulinum Theological Seminar in Berlin and finished his studies in 1974 with the first and second exams. The ordination was followed by 1975 . From 1974 to 1979 he was first assistant preacher , then pastor in the Berlin Samaritan parish in the East Berlin district of Friedrichshain and at the same time district youth pastor in Friedrichshain.

In the 1980s, the Ministry of State Security (MfS) planned the murder of the opposition pastor. Eppelmann was supposed to die in a fictitious car accident through technical manipulation of his car. However, both attacks failed. The MfS did not commit any further attacks ; In Poland , after massive national and international protests against the murder of the opposition Catholic priest Jerzy Popiełuszko, the murderers who came from the Polish state security were convicted . It attracted international attention in 1988/89 when Rainer Eppelmann tracked down listening technology of the MfS in his office and private rooms with the help of western technology and this was made public in western media.

Rainer Eppelmann lives in Berlin and has been married several times. His first and long-term marriage in 1970 had five children.

Political biography

In the DDR

Rainer Eppelmann in 1990 after being elected chairman of the Democratic Awakening

Eppelmann was involved in the GDR opposition . In the eighties he took care of maladjusted youth; They came from all over the GDR to his legendary blues masses , which have been taking place in the East Berlin Samaritan community since 1979 . Partly secret, partly approved for “internal church use”, magazines and texts published by the Information Working Group under the direction of Thomas Welz and Rainer Eppelmann were distributed within the GDR opposition groups . In February 1982 he and Robert Havemann called for disarmament in East and West in the Berlin appeal .

He was a founding member, board member and after the resignation of the first DA chairman Wolfgang Schnur shortly before the first free election to the People's Chamber of the GDR on March 18, 1990, initially provisional and then elected chairman of the Democratic Awakening (DA), who after revelations about the Stasi -Activity of the chairman Wolfgang Schnur in the Volkskammer election only received 0.9% of the votes and only through the list connection with the CDU of the GDR and the DSU in the on the initiative and mediation of the chairman of the West CDU , Chancellor Helmut Kohls , The Alliance for Germany that came about was represented by four members of the People's Chamber. Before the first and last free election in the GDR in 1990, Eppelmann was a member of the central round table as a representative of the opposition and later also a minister without portfolio in the Hans Modrow cabinet . From March 18, 1990 until its dissolution in the course of German unification on October 2, 1990 he was a member of the People's Chamber of the GDR and Minister for Disarmament and Defense in Lothar de Maizière's cabinet . In view of his appointment as minister, Eppelmann decided to reside in Berlin. This was extensively expanded in May 1990 by employees of the main intelligence center of the Ministry of National Defense . In the summer of 1990, Eppelmann ordered the destruction of the NVA military intelligence files . He was of the opinion that this was right to “counteract criminal prosecution of the employees of this authority”. With the merger of the DA with the CDU in August 1990, he became a member of the CDU, which merged in September 1990 with the CDU of the Federal Republic of Germany to form the CDU of Germany. He also became a member of the CDA (workers' wing of the Union) and was federal chairman of the CDA from 1994 to 2001 . The CDA elected him honorary chairman in 2001.

After German reunification

From the first all-German election on December 2, 1990, Eppelmann was a member of the German Bundestag and remained so until the 2005 Bundestag election , in which he no longer ran. He was elected in 1990 for the CDU through a direct mandate from the constituency of Fürstenwalde - Strausberg - Seelow in Brandenburg . In the federal elections in 1998 and 2002, he entered parliament via the state list of the CDU Brandenburg . He was elected by the Bundestag to chair the two commissions of inquiry to deal with the history and consequences of the SED dictatorship.

When the files of the military intelligence, which had been secretly copied by the MfS, emerged and in 1992 gave rise to the prosecution of former employees for espionage against the Federal Republic, Eppelmann informed the Minister of Justice Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger that he saw a violation of this "also in retrospect" in such criminal prosecution Non-retroactivity .

Since it was founded in 1998, Eppelmann has been honorary chairman of the board of the Federal Foundation for Coming to terms with the SED dictatorship . He was also a member of the advisory board at the BStU from May 2003 to October 2013 .


Since 2011, Rainer Eppelmann has been the patron of the Wall Race , a running event intended to commemorate the victims of the former Berlin Wall, and since 2012 patron of the Berlin Schoolchildren Wall Race.

He is also a member of the board of trustees of the aid organization CARE Germany .



  • God's double track. From public enemy to parliamentarian. Hänssler, Holzgerlingen 2007, ISBN 978-3-7751-4707-1 (second autobiography).
  • Two German views. A dialogue on an equal footing. Edited by Christian v. Ditfurth , Bock, Bad Honnef 2000. ISBN 3-87066-780-X .
  • Stranger in your own house. My life in the other Germany. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 1993 ISBN 3-462-02279-2 (first autobiography)
  • Turning ways: letters to the family. Edited by Dietmar Herbst, Bonn 1992. ISBN 3-416-02367-6 .


Web links

Commons : Rainer Eppelmann  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Manfred Agethen: Rainer Eppelmann. In: Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung , history of the CDU.
  2. Autobiography Stranger in own house.
  3. Ehrhart Neubert : History of the Opposition in the GDR 1949 - 1989 . Federal Agency for Civic Education 2000 and Ch. Links-Verlag, Berlin 1998, ISBN 3-86153-163-1
  4. ^ Gunther Latsch: went terribly wrong in Der Spiegel of November 22 , 1999
  5. Archived copy ( Memento from May 4, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  6. 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 .
  7. a b Rainer Eppelmann. Tabular curriculum vitae in the LeMO ( DHM and HdG )
  8. "The Super Secrets". SWR feature, January 10, 2018 (with broadcast manuscript).
  9. "The Super Secrets". SWR feature, January 10, 2018 (with broadcast manuscript).
  10. Our structure. CARE Deutschland eV, accessed on March 12, 2019 .
  11. List of all decorations awarded by the Federal President for services to the Republic of Austria from 1952 (PDF; 6.9 MB)
  12. ^ DIE WELT: German Society honors four GDR civil rights activists . In: THE WORLD . October 29, 2014 ( welt.de [accessed December 11, 2017]).