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Rudolph Bahro

Rudolf Bahro


  • Bahro, R.: Die Alternative. Zur Kritik des real existierenden Sozialismus (1977)
  • Herzberg G., Seifert K.: Rudolf Bahro - Glaube an das Veränderbare (2002)
  • Herzberg, G. (Hrsg.): Rudolf Bahro: Denker - Reformator - Homo politicus (2007)

Born in 1935 in Bad Flinsberg, Bahro studied Marxist philosophy at East Berlin's Humboldt University in the 1950s and became a member of the Socialist Unity Party (SED). Thereafter, he was active primarily as an editor and, more recently, as deputy editor of the newspaper "Forum." After publishing a critical piece about the East German playwright Volker Braun, Bahro was discharged from his post and subsequently worked as a department manager in a rubber factory in Berlin-Weißensee beginning in 1967. In 1968, he demonstrated against the suppression of the “Prague Spring” by the invasion of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw-Pact member nations. From this moment on, he was under constant surveillance by the Ministry for State Security (Stasi). In 1974, his ex-wife informed the Stasi that Bahro was writing a critical piece, and as a result, the acceptance of his dissertation at the Technical University Leuna-Merseburg was thwarted.

Bahro finally wrote his criticism of the "real existing socialism" and of its Russian-Asiatic roots in his book "The Alternative." He smuggled the manuscript, which had been partially printed by "Der Spiegel," into the Federal Republic, where it was published in 1977. During this same time, he gave several television interviews, granting him international fame overnight. Immediately thereafter, in August 1977, Bahro was arrested and sent to the remand prison in Berlin-Hohenschönhausen, where he sat in custody for ten months. In June 1978, the Court of Berlin sentenced him to eight years in prison for alleged "intelligence work." He was sent to the special prison Bautzen II. Under the pressure of international protests, Bahro was released as part of an amnesty agreement in October 1979 and forced to emigrate to the West.

In the Federal Republic of Germany, Bahro was a founding member of the Green Party and a member of its National Executive Committee (1982), but he left the party in 1985. In 1990, he received a professorship at the Humboldt University where he founded the Institute for Social Ecology. In the main auditorium of the Humboldt University, he gave a lecture which drew great public interest. In 1997, Bahro died of leukaemia in Berlin at the age of 62.