Gerd Koenen

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Gerd Koenen (born 9 December 1944 in Marburg) is a German historian and former communist politician.

Life and work[edit]

Koenen grew up in Bochum and Gelsenkirchen and studied Romance languages, history and politics in Tübingen. There, he joined the Sozialistischer Deutscher Studentenbund (Socialist German Student Association) in the wake of the shooting of Benno Ohnesorg by the police. In 1968 he moved to Frankfurt, where in 1972, he completed 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 himself from KBW and was disillusioned with his study of the Polish antisoviet movement Solidarity. A number of Koenen's publications are devoted 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 of magazine 'Pflasterstrand' (Paved Beach) along with Daniel Cohn-Bendit).[1]

Koenen's 2001 book 'The Red Decade' became well-known and due to the discussion of the radical leftist past of foreign minister Joschka Fischer, and the importance of the '68 movement in the history of the Federal Republic.

Unlike some other intellectuals with communist pasts, Koenen so far has not absolutely condemned all left positions in a reversal of position. In a 2001 edition of the Hans-Gerhart Schmierer-edited magazine 'Commune', Koenen inveighed against the "trial of the young seniors of the Free and Christian Democracy, a rhetoric of universal suspicion of their way of Resolute conformism as the only possible way of socialization ex post yet to establish".[2]

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 got his doctorate in 2003 from the University of Tübingen, 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 funds totaling 15,000 euros as winner of Leipzig Book Prize for European Understanding at the 2007 Leipzig Book Fair. From 2008 to 2010, Koenen researched the history of communism in the Freiburg institute FRIAS.[3]


  1. ^ Gerd Koenen Das rote Jahrzehnt. Unsere kleine deutsche Kulturrevolution 1967-1977. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Köln 2001 p. 31-78.
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