Rainer Müller (historian)

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Rainer Rudolf Müller (born September 26, 1966 in Borna ) is a German historian and civil rights activist . In the 1980s he was part of the civil rights movement and organized resistance in the GDR . He worked in various civil rights groups, including the human rights working group . He was then spokesman for the Justice Working Group , which contributed significantly to initiating mass protests against the SED rule with public actions . In 1989 he was a full-time employee in the coordination group of the Justice Working Group and the Human Rights Working Group .


Despite his very good academic performance, Rainer Müller was not allowed to take the Abitur because as a young Christian he stayed away from the obligatory youth consecration and because of his clothing patch swords to plowshares had come into conflict with the repressive organs of the SED dictatorship. During his bricklayer apprenticeship, after October 7, 1984, the GDR's national holiday, he took part in a five-week strike for better working conditions in the VEB Verkehrs- und Tiefbaukombinat Leipzig . Because of his negative attitude towards the SED state, after completing his vocational qualification and subsequent unemployment, he only found a job as a craftsman in a church institution.

Because he refused to serve in the NVA , the Karl Marx University in Leipzig withdrew his admission to study, although in 1986 he had passed the special maturity examination for theology students at the theology section of this state university.

In the following year he began to study at the Theological Seminary in Leipzig , the largest non-state church university in the GDR. Because of his criticism, which he exercised as part of the peace prayers in the Leipzig Nikolaikirche at the SED-friendly church course, he was de-registered from this institution in autumn 1988 together with Jochen Läßig and Thomas Rudolph .

Political-subversive engagement up to the 1989 revolution

Since 1986 Müller had expanded his commitment. He was one of the editors of the samizdat magazine "Namenlos", which was illegally distributed in the Borna, Geithain and Altenburg districts and in the city of Leipzig from March 1985 to May 1987.

He was involved in the Solidarity Church working group and in the Borna environmental group . From 1987 on he worked in the Human Rights Working Group (AGM) led by Pastor Christoph Wonneberger , was one of the spokespersons for the independent opposition group Working Group Gerechtigkeit Leipzig (AKG) and helped shape the Monday prayers for peace in the Nikolaikirche .

"After the arrests and exiles of the Berlin opposition in January 1988 , Thomas Rudolph , Bernd Oehler , Rainer Müller and others from Leipzig intensified their efforts to achieve supra-regional coordination and in the summer of 1988 they set up the" Saturday Circle ". Every month they invited representatives from independent libraries, samizdat editors, peace, environmental and human rights groups from Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia and Berlin to Leipzig to exchange experiences and information materials, to prepare joint activities and to write political statements.
The “Working Group on the Situation of Human Rights in the GDR” emerged from the “Saturday Circle” and started its work on International Human Rights Day in 1988. [...] With vigils and intercession services in November 1987 and January 1988, the release of those detained in East Berlin was demanded. At the beginning of 1989 AGM and AKG called for a GDR-wide day of action for those detained for political reasons in the ČSSR . Rainer Müller learned Czech in order to be able to translate opposition documents and distribute them in the GDR using the samizdat publications East Central Europe and Varia . In the "Working Group East Central Europe" of the AKG, he was in contact with Thomas Rudolph in the ČSSR. Information was regularly exchanged with Petr Uhl , who promoted the common counter-public opinion of Eastern European oppositionists. "

- Gerold Hildebrand

When Superintendent Friedrich Magirius decided in the summer of 1988 to exclude all opposition groups from organizing the peace prayers, Rainer Müller distributed cloths with the inscription “ No speaking ”, which some tied in front of their mouths in the Nikolaikirche. Together with other members of the Justice Working Group , they made the square in front of the Nikolaikirche their podium, read information and announced events. With that, the protest had left the church shelter.

It was only after several months of intense protest actions that Christoph Wonneberger and the organized Leipzig opposition were able to reach a compromise which, from April 1989, enabled the groups to organize prayers for peace under the direction and responsibility of a pastor. In addition to Wonneberger, the groups were then supported by pastors Rolf-Michael Turek and Klaus Kaden as well as by priest Hans-Friedrich Fischer .

In the run-up to the Luxemburg-Liebknecht demonstration in Leipzig in January 1989, Rainer Müller was arrested for planned opposition activities. The Ministry of State Security conducted the OV "Martyrs" operational case against him. He was arrested several times during demonstrations, banned from staying or fined. The house at Mariannenstrasse 46 in the crumbling old district of the east of Leipzig, which he shared with other opposition members, was observed by the MfS around the clock.

For the conclusion of the Saxon Church Congress in July 1989, Müller and Gerold Hildebrand made a banner on which "Democracy" was demanded in German and Chinese characters. With Kathrin Walther and other employees of subversive groups, Müller led a demonstration in downtown Leipzig: Against the massacre welcomed by the SED on Tiananmen Square in Beijing and for democratic changes in the GDR. "This was the largest demonstration in Leipzig since the Beat Uprising in 1965, as around a thousand visitors to the Kirchentag had joined."

From July 1989 to February 1990, Rainer Müller was one of the "full-time" employees of the coordination group of the Justice Working Group and the Human Rights Working Group together with Kathrin Walther , Thomas Rudolph and Frank Richter . Their livelihood (below the amount of a scholarship paid in the GDR) was financed from donations and the sale of samizdat magazines.

After the Monday demonstrations in Leipzig in September and at the beginning of October 1989 brutal attacks on arrested demonstrators in other GDR cities as well, Rainer Müller and others wrote the appeal for non-violence , which states: "Do not react to peacefulness Violence! We are one people! ”, Which the groups distributed on at least 20,000 leaflets on October 9th in Leipzig. That happened before the decisive Monday demonstration, which was peaceful for the first time with at least 70,000 participants.

In 1989 in Leipzig, the civil and human rights groups, the Human Rights Working Group and the Justice Working Group, largely emerged into the Peace and Human Rights Leipzig Initiative , of which Müller was one of the co-founders. This organization appeared the two subversive groups have been exemplary: "The initiative has set out to overthrow the SED, even if they did not say at the beginning of it." In 1990 belonged Müller DDR spokespersons of the Peace and Human Rights (IFM) initiative to which became part of Alliance 90 in 1991 .

Work since the unification of Germany

In April 1993, Müller left Alliance 90 and joined the New Forum , in which he is still active today.

In the 1990s, Müller studied Medieval and Modern History, Name Research / Onomastics and Historical Basic Sciences / Archive Studies at the University of Leipzig . He is still active in various socio-political groups, gave advice in the 90s at the contact point for conscientious objectors and those doing community service and worked in the federal working group of social welfare initiatives , was involved in the action group against cultural and social degradation . In 1992 he was one of the founding members of the Bürgererverein Lindenau eV , whose chairman he was until 1995. During his studies he worked in the student council history from 1997 and for several semesters in the social committee of the student council . In 2001 he co-founded the Lindenau District Association and was its chairman until 2009. In 2004 he was one of the co-founders of Haushalten eV (guard houses in Leipzig) . At the Neighborhood School in Leipzig he was the class parent representative, worked on the parents 'council, had been a member of the school conference since 2011, and is still the parents' representative there in the social fund. He was on the district advisory board of IG Bau .

Rainer Müller works on a voluntary basis in the Archive Citizens Movement Leipzig eV (1995 on the board) and the IFM-Archiv Sachsen eV , which contribute to research into the history of the resistance against the SED dictatorship, and offers city tours to sites of the Peaceful Revolution in Leipzig.

In October 2015, he and 46 other former GDR civil rights activists from various political camps signed the open letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel , initiated by Katrin Hattenhauer , in which it says at the beginning: “We support your policy of open borders. We support your refugee policy and your efforts for the sake of the people. With the greatest respect, we see your firm stance on accepting asylum-seekers in Germany [...] 70 years after the Holocaust, Germany opens its borders and saves people from need and death. "

Rainer Müller lives with his partner in Leipzig-Lindenau and has four daughters.


  • Gerold Hildebrand : Rainer Müller. In: Ilko-Sascha Kowalczuk , Tom Sello (ed.): For a free country with free people. Opposition and Resistance in Biographies and Photos. Robert Havemann Society in conjunction with the Foundation for the Processing of the SED Dictatorship , Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-938857-02-1 , pp. 329-332.
  • Thomas Rudolph , Oliver Kloss , Rainer Müller, Christoph Wonneberger (published on behalf of the IFM-Archives Sachsen eV ): Way in the uprising. Chronicle of opposition and resistance in the GDR from 1987–1989. Vol. 1, Araki, Leipzig 2014, ISBN 978-3-941848-17-7 .
  • Rainer Müller: Ethical and moral principles led to my conscience decision. In: Museum Borna and Geschichtsverein Borna eV (Hrsg.): Building soldiers from Borna and the region. Memories of contemporary witnesses (= series of publications by the Borna Museum and the Borna History Association, Volume 5). 2010, pp. 47-58.
  • Thomas Mayer: In full-time resistance. Not fun for young people, but seriousness in life - Rainer Müller and his consistent action. In: Ders .: Heroes of the Peaceful Revolution. 18 portraits of pioneers from Leipzig. (= Series of publications by the Saxon State Commissioner for the Stasi Records. Volume 10). Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, Leipzig 2009, ISBN 978-3-374-02712-5 , pp. 72–79.
  • Ehrhart Neubert : History of the opposition in the GDR 1949–1989. Ch. Links Verlag, Berlin 1997; 2nd edition: Federal Agency for Civic Education, Bonn 2000, ISBN 3-86153-163-1 , pp. 725 and 786.
  • Hermann Geyer: Nikolaikirche, Mondays at five: the political services of the time of the fall in Leipzig . Darmstadt, Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2007 (University of Leipzig, Habil.-Schr. 2006), ISBN 978-3-534-18482-8 , table of contents .
  • Katja Naumann, Christian Lotz, Thomas Klemm: A Second Public? On the dissemination of underground literature in Leipzig during the 1980s. Edition Leipziger Kreis, Leipzig 2001, ISBN 3-00-007608-5 .
  • Trendela Braun: The portrait: A conversation with Rainer Müller. In: 3VIERTEL - district newspaper for Leipzig. Issue 5, January 2011, p. 12.
  • Lene Hoffmann , Volly Tanner : City Talks from Leipzig. Gmeiner, Meßkirch 2014, ISBN 978-3-8392-1634-7 , pp. 117–122 ( Boycott is a daily way of life. Rainer Müller reflects in the Lindenau District Association ).
  • Lindenauer district association e. V. (Ed.): Lindenfels. From the social hall to the Schaubühne (Lindenauer Geschichte (n), issue 1: For the Lindenfels anniversary year 2006). Authors: Rainer Bodey, Jürgen Gössel, Stefanie Möller, Rainer Müller, Ralph Nünthel, Christina Weiß, design: Carsten Wittig, Thomasdruck, Leipzig-Lindenau 2006.
  • Lindenauer district association e. V. (Ed.): Karl-Heine-Kanal. Leipzig's long way to the sea (Lindenau story (s), booklet 2). Authors: Wolfgang Böge, Uwe Köhler, Rainer Müller, Björn Teichmann, Christina Weiß, design: Carsten Wittig, Thomasdruck, Leipzig-Lindenau 2008.
  • Sylvia Kabus : Nineteen eighty-nine. Psychogram of a city. Beucha, Sax Verlag, 2009, ISBN 978-3-86729-041-8 , p. 166, 170 f.
  • Peter Wensierski : The uncanny ease of the revolution. How a group of young people from Leipzig dared to rebel in the GDR. Munich, Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 2017, ISBN 978-3-421-04751-9 . [The Leipzig Initiativgruppe Leben (IGL) is at the center of this presentation , but people from the Justice Working Group were also included in the plot.]

Documentary film

Web links

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

Individual evidence

  1. Gerold Hildebrand: Rainer Müller. In: Ilko-Sascha Kowalczuk , Tom Sello (ed.): For a free country with free people. Opposition and Resistance in Biographies and Photos. Robert Havemann Society in conjunction with the Foundation to Process the SED Dictatorship , Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-938857-02-1 , p. 329.
  2. Biography of Rainer Müller on  jugendopposition.de  ( Federal Center for Civic Education  /  Robert Havemann Society  eV), viewed on March 13, 2017.
  3. Rainer Müller about his refusal to serve in the arms and total refusal on  jugendopposition.de  ( Federal Center for Political Education  /  Robert Havemann Society  eV), viewed on March 13, 2017.
  4. See Hartmut Rüffert: Speech at the ceremony on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Peaceful Revolution in the Borna City Culture House on November 5, 2009 (as well as an article in the Leipziger Volkszeitung (LVZ) of November 6/7 , 2009 on this speech).
  5. Gerold Hildebrand : Rainer Müller. In: Ilko-Sascha Kowalczuk, Tom Sello (ed.): For a free country with free people. Opposition and Resistance in Biographies and Photos. Robert Havemann Society in connection with the Foundation for the processing of the SED dictatorship, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-938857-02-1 , pp. 329-332, pp. 329 f.
  6. ^ Robert Havemann Society: Peaceful Revolution 1989/90. Cf. Christian Dietrich, Uwe Schwabe: Friends and Enemies. Documents on the prayers for peace in Leipzig between 1981 and October 9, 1989 . Edited on behalf of Archives Bürgerbewegung Leipzig e. V., Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, Leipzig 1994, ISBN 3-374-01551-4 . See also Peter Wensierski : Acting instead of praying. in: Der Spiegel, No. 43, October 19, 2009, pp. 42–46.
  7. ^ New Forum Leipzig: On the history of prayers for peace . 25 years of prayers for peace in St. Nikolai 2007.
  8. a b Rainer Müller on  jugendopposition.de  ( Federal Agency for Civic Education  /  Robert Havemann Society  eV), viewed on March 13, 2017; Kathrin Walther : China Demo in Leipzig in July 1989 , in: Social Politics and Democracy No. 1/1992 of April 9, 1992, Düsseldorf, ISSN 0941-6064, p. 25 f.
  9. Gerold Hildebrand : Rainer Müller. In: Ilko-Sascha Kowalczuk, Tom Sello (ed.): For a free country with free people. Opposition and Resistance in Biographies and Photos. Robert Havemann Society in conjunction with the Foundation to Process the SED Dictatorship, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-938857-02-1 , pp. 329-332, p. 330.
  10. Working Group Justice Leipzig , Human Rights Working Group and Working Group on Environmental Protection: appeal of organized resistance to non-violence on 9 October 1989 , digital copies of the documents several printed versions of 7/8 October 1989.
  11. Thomas Rudolph in an interview in: Hagen Findeis / Detlef Pollack / Manuel Schilling: Die Entzauberung des Politischen. What happened to the politically alternative groups in the GDR? Interviews with former leading representatives, Leipzig, Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 1994, p. 195.
  12. See Rainer Müller in the New Forum Saxony .
  13. Deutsche Welle: The open letter to Angela Merkel in the wording on refugee and asylum policy of October 23, 2015.