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Heinz Kessler or Heinz Keßler (26 January 1920 – 2 May 2017) was a German communist politician and military officer in East Germany who served as the Ministry of National Defence from December 1985 to November 1989.
- On some matters I cannot change my position. I refuse to sacrifice my Communist beliefs to the fashion of the day. I am and remain a believer in democratic centralism and a revolutionary socialist party.
- Sure, I hear about the new freedom that people are enjoying in Eastern Europe. But how do you define freedom? Millions of people in Eastern Europe are now free from employment, free from safe streets, free from health care, free from social security. What is happening to people in the former Soviet Union is a catastrophe. Even without idealizing what they had before, you have to admit that it was a lot better than what they have now.
- Maybe not every detail of what the Stasi did was correct, but you can say that about any secret service. Their job is to deal with people who threaten the country's sovereignty and independence. That's what the Stasi did.
- While the wall was standing, there was peace. Today there’s hardly a place that isn’t in flames. The wall was our protection – it was fantastic for me to be part of it. Were you ever in East Germany? It was a wonderful country!
- I don't think the collapse of socialism in Eastern Europe means that there will not be other attempts to do what we did. The systems that are now in place are not solving people's economic, social and environmental problems. Other ways have to be found. New social structures will emerge, including some that embrace the socialist principles I believe in. After all, what good are moral privileges if you are poor and starving?
- I deplore the fact that East Germans were shot while trying to flee westward, but the Berlin wall served a useful purpose. It contributed to a polarization between the two blocs, but it also gave a certain stability to their relationship.
Quotes about Kessler
- Heinz Kessler, a former East German defense minister who was later convicted of incitement to manslaughter for upholding the shoot-to-kill policy at the communist country's border, has died. He was 97. ... Kessler was arrested in May 1991 after officials in reunited Germany ... received a tip that he would try to flee the country wearing a Red Army uniform. ... In 1993, he was sentenced to 7 ½ years in prison. The case went as far as the European Court of Human Rights, which in 2001 upheld Kessler's conviction
- Former East German Defense Minister Heinz Kessler dies at 97, Associated Press, (4 May 2017)