Working-Class Hero.

red-rebel red-rebel at SPAMsupanet.com
Tue May 30 00:36:47 MDT 2000


> GERMANY: COMMUNIST POLICE CHIEF DIES
>
> Reported by news.bbc.co.uk
>
> Ex-Stasi chief dies
>
>               Mielke ran the Stasi for over 30 years
>               Erich Mielke, who headed the former East
>               Germany's secret police, the Stasi, for three
>               decades, has died in Berlin at the age of 92.
>
>               Berlin officials confirmed a report in Friday's
>               Kurier newspaper that Mielke had died in a
>               nursing home earlier in the week.
>
>               Mielke ran the feared Stasi from 1957 until the
>               fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
>
>               A lifelong communist who fled the Nazis in the
>               1930s, Mielke was jailed shortly after the
>               collapse of East Germany and reunification in
>               1990.
>
>               Murder charges
>
>               He was sentenced in
>               Berlin to six years in
>               prison in 1993 for the
>               murder of two
>               policemen in 1931.
>               However he was freed
>               after two years when
>               he was diagnosed as
>               senile.
>
>               But Mielke escaped
>               prosecution for his
>               leadership of the Stasi,
>               including charges
>               related to shooting deaths at the Berlin Wall,
>               because of poor health and senility.
>
>               In 1997, another Berlin court refused to give
>               him back DM380,000 ($180,000) blocked in a
>               bank account since 1990.
>
>               The court ruled that he had misused his
>               privilege and power to amass the money while
>               running the Stasi.
>
>               At its height, the Stasi employed 85,000
>               agents and over 100,000 informers to oversee
>               almost every aspect of life in communist East
>               Germany.
>
>               Wanted
>
>               Born in Berlin in 1907, Mielke became a full
>               member of the Communist Party in 1925 and
>               worked as a reporter for the party's
>               newspaper, Red Flag.
>
>               He became a member of the party's
>               paramilitary force, leading to his participation
>               in the August 1931 demonstration in Berlin
>               during which the two policemen were shot and
>               killed.
>
>               Wanted for the killings, Mielke escaped to
>               Belgium. He went on to the Soviet Union where
>               he attended the elite International Lenin
>               School in Moscow in the mid-1930s.
>
>
>               Mielke served in 1936
>               in the International
>               Brigade that fought in
>               the Spanish Civil War
>               against General Franco,
>               whose forces
>               triumphed and set up a
>               fascist dictatorship.
>
>               In 1940, Mielke
>               returned to the Soviet
>               Union and then to
>               Soviet-occupied
>               eastern Germany in
>               1945. He helped
>               organise police in the
>               Soviet-occupied zone and became deputy
>               chief of state security when East Germany was
>               founded in 1950.
>
>               He took over as minister in 1957, a post he
>               held until the Stalinist regime collapsed with
>               the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989.
>
>               He went on trial for shootings at the Wall along
>               with East Germany's last Communist leader,
>               Erich Honecker, in 1992. But the case against
>               Mielke was dropped because he was also on
>               trial for the 1931 police killings, and was later
>               declared too senile to follow the proceedings.
>
>               The case against Honecker was also dropped
>               for health reasons, and he died in exile in Chile
>               in 1994.
>
>               Mielke lived with his wife in eastern Berlin until
>               March, when he was admitted to a home for
>               the elderly.
>
>               The former Stasi chief's funeral is expected to
>               take place on 10 June at Berlin's socialist
>               cemetery.
>
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