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Life and work
Koenen grew up in Bochum and Gelsenkirchen and studied from 1966 in Tübingen Romance languages, history and politics. There he joined in the wake of the shooting of Benno Ohnesorg by the police the Sozialistischer Deutscher Studentenbund (Socialist German Student Association). In 1968 he moved to Frankfurt, where he was graduate 1972 the state exam in history and politics.
In 1973, he joined the newly founded Communist League of West Germany (KBW). Under the influence of his party he gave up his 1974 doctoral dissertation, preferring instead to devote himself to the "revolutionary factory work" and from 1976 to edit the Communist People's Daily of KBW.
As of 1982, Koenen distanced from KBW and was disillusioned with his study of the Polish antisoviet movement Solidarity. A number of publications are devoted by Koenen then to the history of communism and its perception in Germany - a subject on which he finally received his doctorate in Tübingen 2003. From 1988 to 1990 he was editor edited by Daniel Cohn-Bendit magazine 'Pflasterstrand' (paved beach).
In 2001 the book 'The Red Decade' was widely received since his appearance with the discussion of the radical leftist past of the state secretary Joschka Fischer and the importance of the '68 movement coincided in the history of the Federal Republic.
Unlike other intellectual with communist past, such as the French author of the Black Book of Communism, Koenen can not be so far, absolutely condemn all left positions in a 180 ° turn. He inveighed 2001 edited by Hans-Gerhart Schmierer magazine 'Commune' against the "trial of the young seniors of the Free and Christian Democracy, a rhetoric of universal suspicion their way of Resolute conformism as the only possible way of socialization ex post yet to establish".
Articles by Koenen also appeared in Der Spiegel, Die Zeit and many national newspapers. In addition, Koenen is author or co-author of several radio and television broadcasts. Koenen get his doctorate in 2003 from the University of Tübingen Dr. phil. with a thesis on the topic Rome or Moscow - Germany, the West and the revolution in Russia from 1914 to 1924. The work was published in a revised, supplemented and shortened form under the title The Russia-complex. Together with the Russian philosopher Mikhail Ryklin Koenen received on 21 March 2007 at the Leipzig Book Fair for funds totaling 15,000 euros Leipzig Book Prize for European Understanding. From 2008 to 2010 Koenen research in the Freiburg institute FRIAS the history of communism.
- Gerd Koenen Das rote Jahrzehnt. Unsere kleine deutsche Kulturrevolution 1967-1977. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Köln 2001 p. 31-78.