Two decades ago the Berlin Wall fell. It is an event which lovers of liberty around the globe rightly celebrated. But not everyone was pleased. Like Egon Krenz.
The last leader of East Germany continues to defend his little socialist paradise, including its policy of shooting down citizens seeking to escape. He portrays himself as promoting a moral ideal, which unfortunately was wrecked by evil capitalists.
Of course, as was common throughout the communist world, he did very, very well while supposedly doing good. Reports Britain’s Independent:
Yet Krenz did not always see himself as a victim. In Communist party terms he was a roaring success. He joined the East German Socialist Unity party in 1955 when he was 18 and moved steadily up the ranks, joining the politburo in 1983. For nearly a decade he was East Germany’s “crown prince”, the man most likely to succeed the state’s veteran leader Erich Honecker.
He visited West Germany in the summer of 1989 when nobody suspected that the Wall would fall, still confident that his regime would survive him. Brigitte Schulte, a West German Social Democrat who accompanied him, described him as “utterly unsympathetic”, and recalled how he spoke knowledgeably about choice foods, fine wines and all the privileges that were denied to ordinary East Germans. “He struck me as the consummate apparatchik, a true child of the system, surrounded by the oiliest advisers, the sort of people who would do anything,” she said at the time.
The greatest long-term threat to human liberty might not be the Adolf Hitlers and Joseph Stalins, who concoct crazed schemes for mass murder, but the legions of faceless apparatchiks who carry out the totalitarian dictates of the Hitlers and Stalins. Without colorless bureaucrats like Krenz, communism never could have enslaved and killed hundreds of millions of people around the world.
We should remember the evil committed by the Otto Krenzs of the world as we celebrate the grand events of 20 years ago.