|Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development
27 October 1998 – 27 October 2009
|Preceded by||Carl-Dieter Spranger|
|Succeeded by||Dirk Niebel|
November 21, 1942 |
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
|Alma mater||Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt am Main|
Wieczorek-Zeul is a prominent figure of the Social Democrats' left wing and is often called "Red Heidi". From 1974 to 1977, she was the Jusos' chair which is the youth organisation of the SPD (Young Socialists).
After the resignation of party leader Björn Engholm in 1993, she stood for the Social Democrats' candidacy for the chancellor's office, but lost to Rudolf Scharping. Scharping won 40% of all votes cast by the party members, Schröder 33% and Wieczorek-Zeul 27%. It was the first time (and so far only time) the party members were asked to elect the new party leader.
On August 16, 2004, at the 100th anniversary of the start of the Herero and Namaqua Genocide, Wieczorek-Zeul, in her capacity of Germany's Minister for Economic Development and Cooperation, officially apologized for the first time and expressed grief about the genocide, declaring, "We Germans accept our historic and moral responsibility and the guilt incurred by Germans at that time." In addition, she admitted that the massacres were equivalent to genocide. She ruled out paying special compensation, but promised continued economic aid for Namibia which currently amounts to $14m a year.
Around this time too, she visited Kenya's sprawling slum at Mathare 4A, Kasarani District and virtually pitied[clarification needed] Mathare 4A primary school, which had been invaded and harassed by squatters. Today, the old school has been replaced by a new Heidemarie (formally, Mathare 4A) Primary School, courtesy of the German Government through KfW Entwicklungsbank and the government of Kenya.
In July 2006, Charlotte Knobloch, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, demanded her resignation after Wieczorek-Zeul had called Israeli use of cluster bombs "totally unacceptable under international law".
- [dead link]
- Whitney, Craig R. (May 4, 1993). "German Social Democrats' Leader Quits Over Lie". The New York Times.
- Crawshaw, Steve (June 14, 1993). "Scharping has tough task as SPD chief: Social Democrats pick a new party leader". The Independent (London).
- "Germany admits Namibia genocide". BBC News. 2004-08-14. Retrieved 2008-04-23.
- [dead link]
- Condom backlash for Pope
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