30 years ago, the city of Leipzig was at the center of the Peaceful Revolution, which brought about the end of the dictatorship by the socialist party SED and made it possible to overcome the division of Germany. It was here that the Monday demonstrations started, which spread like wildfire across the entire GDR and finally led to the fall of the Wall and free elections to the East German People's Chamber. Because of its outstanding role, Leipzig was even to be awarded the title ‘hero city,’ at least that was the suggestion of the writer Christoph Hein, which received a lot of attention.
Leipzig, of all places, is now the source of a monstrous falsification of history, a mockery of the Peaceful Revolution. As the ‘Leipziger Volkszeitung’ already reported in May under the heading ‘Special Topics,’ the Leipzig Philharmonic is planning a commemorative concert to the Peaceful Revolution in St. Peter's Church. The title of the event is ‘Freiheit, schöner Götterfunken.’ On October 9 of all days, the anniversary of the great Monday demonstration that marked the beginning of the end of the SED dictatorship, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is to be played, the work that Leonard Bernstein performed in Berlin in 1989 with the new text ‘Freiheit, schöner Götterfunken’ on the occasion of the fall of the Berlin Wall. What was announced as a “respectful tribute to the many thousands who courageously took to the streets in Leipzig at the time,” however, turns into a mockery of the demonstrators due to the involvement of Gregor Gysi as keynote speaker.
The people of Leipzig, and all the other demonstrators in the whole of the GDR, went on the streets against the rule of the SED. It was Gregor Gysi who saved his totalitarian party, the party responsible for many deaths at the Wall, of people trying to escape from its well-deserved downfall. At the last SED party conference, which took place on December 8, 1989, the majority of the delegates, tormented by shame and remorse, were determined to dissolve the party. The then party and government leader Hans Modrow appeared to fail in his attempt to prevent the dissolution. Then the lawyer Gregor Gysi, who had been almost unknown until then and who, according to the Bundestag Immunity Committee of 1998, was a proven member of the Stasi, stepped up to the microphone. He persuaded his comrades to reconsider their decision, because then their assets and party structures would also be lost, which would have “unforeseeable consequences,” especially for the coming election campaign.
After this speech, Gysi was elected party leader of the SED. One of his first official acts was the establishment of a working group to safeguard the party's assets. In the legislative period from 1994 to 1998, the Bundestag's investigative committee tried to trace an estimated 24 billion German marks (12 billion euros) in lost GDR assets. All PDS officials questioned by the committee refused to testify, with the identical statement that they would expose themselves to prosecution if they divulged their knowledge. No more questions have been asked since then.
Gysi also gave the party the additional name ‘PDS,’ ‘Party of Democratic Socialism.’ Since then the SED has been renamed three times and is still with us. Gysi is no longer its chair, but its platform still includes ‘system change,’ i.e. the abolition of democracy.
For the Leipzig Philharmonic it is “an honor” that Gregor Gysi is to give the speech on this historic date, the Philharmonic informed the ‘Leipziger Volkszeitung.’ The reason given was that Gysi has for many years been considered (to be) a competent opinion leader in politics, science and the media, and is a sought-after author and interview partner. Not a word about his role as the last party leader of the SED and savior of the assets accumulated by the SED. Of course, no mention either of his questionable role as lawyer for members of the opposition in the GDR.
In view of these facts, the alleged honoring of the courageous demonstrators is a mockery. The Leipzig Philharmonic would do well to forego this scandal.
Translated from eigentümlich frei, where the original article was published on June 28th 2019.