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Dutschke family wants case reopened after Stasi discovery

The son of the late West German student leader Rudi Dutschke wants a new investigation into the 1968 assassination attempt on his father’s life after the discovery that a Stasi agent was responsible for the death of another student.

Dutschke family wants case reopened after Stasi discovery
Photo: DPA

Marek Dutschke told the press agency DPA in an interview published Saturday that the April 11, 1968 attempt on his father’s life by right-wing extremist Josef Bachmann should be re-examined for signs of possible influence from Eastern German secret police.

“Rudi also had his enemies over there,” Dutschke told DPA.

A growing chorus has called for Germany to probe deeper into the Stasi’s role in West German politics after the revelations that West Berlin police officer Karl-Heinz Kurras, who shot and killed 26-year-old student Benno Ohnesorg in 1967 was an informant for the East German secret police and a member of the East German Communist party.

The killing made Ohnesorg a leftist martyr and fueled explosive student protests against what they saw as a repressive West German state in the following years, culminating in the violent terrorist acts of the Red Army Faction, which sought to destabilise West Germany for nearly two decades.

Dutschke survived the attack but died in 1979 from complications related to his injuries. Bachmann, Dutschke’s assailant, committed suicide in prison and never revealed where he got his weapon from or whether he received outside support, Dutschke’s widow Gretchen Dutschke told DPA.

She said her husband was followed by both western and eastern European intelligence services and that he once had “unpleasant contacts” that included threats from agents. Gretchen Dutschke said Rudi Dutschke was seen as a “thorn in the side” on both sides of the Iron Curtain and had also been spied upon by the Stasi.

The archive for Stasi files should research the assassination attempt for signs of possible Stasi involvement, said Marek Dutschke. The Kurras case shows that there are surprises in the hundreds of kilometers of records kept by the secret police force, he said.

Marek Dutschke welcomed the effect the Kurras case was having on the historical evaluation of East Germany.

“It’s good for all of those people who believe that East Germany was the better Germany and not an unjust state,” Dutschke said. This year, Germany is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the collapse of the East German regime, which led to the 1990 reunification of the two countries.

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POLITICS

EU ministers urge unity after Germany’s energy ‘bazooka’

EU finance ministers on Monday pleaded for unity after Germany announced a €200 billion plan to help German households and businesses pay for high energy prices, amid accusations that the EU's biggest economy was acting alone.

EU ministers urge unity after Germany's energy 'bazooka'

Europe is struggling with historically high energy prices as it faces an early autumn cold snap and a coming winter almost certainly to be endured without crucial Russian gas supplies because of the war in Ukraine.

Many EU countries have announced national programmes to shield consumers from the high prices. But Germany went the furthest on Friday when it announced its mammoth plan, which will see help pouring to Germans for two years.

Arriving to talk with his eurozone counterparts, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner insisted the spending was “proportionate” to the size of Germany’s economy and said his goal was to use as little of the money as possible.

READ ALSO: Germany to spend €200 billion to cap soaring energy costs

But Germany’s largesse rankled several EU capitals, some of which feared their industries could take severe blows while Germany’s sits protected, deforming the EU’s single market.

Outgoing Italian prime minister Mario Draghi has slammed Berlin for its lack of solidarity and coordination with EU partners.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, without directly criticizing Berlin, called on partners to agree a common strategy against the price shock and for countries to refrain from going it alone.

“The more this strategy is coordinated, united, the better it is for all of us,” he said.

Risk to ‘European unity’

Others pointed to the unprecedented solidarity shown in the Covid-19 crisis in which the 27 EU nations, against all expectations, approved a jointly financed €750 billion recovery plan.

“Solidarity is not only on the German shoulders, I think this is something that we have to deliver at European level,” said EU economics affairs commissioner Paolo Gentiloni.

“We have very good examples from the previous crisis on how solidarity can react to a crisis and also reassure financial markets. I think that this is our goal,” he said.

While a Covid-style recovery plan is not in the cards for now, Le Maire said €200 billion in loans and €20 billion in aid should be devoted to REPowerEU, a programme to help countries break their dependence on Russian gas.

READ ALSO: Will Germany set a gas price cap – and how would it work?

Bruegel, a highly influential think tank in Brussels, called the German plan a spending “bazooka” that many EU countries were unable to match, creating a potential source of animosity.

“If the German gas price brake gives German business a much better chance to survive the crisis than, say, Italian business, economic divergences in the EU could be deepened, and European unity on Russia undermined,” it said in a blog.

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