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Lothar Schulz sw klein2

Lothar Schulz

Lothar Schulz was born in 1950 in Alt Ruppin/Brandenburg. In 1972 he completed his studies of thermal engineering at the Technical University in Dresden as a graduate engineer. He then worked as coordinating engineer for the assembly/commissioning of the Soviet nuclear reactor WWER-440 in Lubmin/Greifswald. Because of his high motivation and fluent Russian, Schulz was under consideration for a post-graduate program at the Moscow Power Engineering Institute. However he refused to join the SED, the ruling Socialist Unity Party of Germany, for reasons of conscience and as a result his candidacy was canceled.

After several failed attempts to progress his career and an unsuccessful application to emigrate, Schulz protested alone with a banner against the SED at the center of East Berlin on April 2nd 1978. He was detained in the midst of a crowd of passers and then interrogated for 26 hours, within more than 40 hours being awake, by the Stasi in Berlin and in the Rostock Stasi remand prison, where he had been transferred for the next 5 months. Because his protest was mentioned in the Western press, Stasi chief Mielke suspected him of establishing a subversive connection with enemies of the GDR with an expected prison term of seven to nine years. He was sentenced to one year and ten months' imprisonment for the "impairment of state activity."

Released to the GDR against his will at the end of 1979 after an amnesty, he worked as a janitor/stoker in the Stendal Cathedral. Without noticing it, conversations in his apartment, under which an undercover Stasi captain lived with his family, were monitored regularly via bugging devices. Meantime, Colonel General Bruno Beater, Mielke's deputy, had vetoed his departure to the West, presumably because of his knowledge about the peaceful use of Soviet nuclear technology.

After three years of a seemingly hopeless struggle, the Stasi listened to a telephone conversation in which the unaware Schulz expressed his plan to carry out a second protest of a larger scale in the center of East Berlin. Two months later on May 19, 1981, to Schulz's big surprise, the GDR permitted his official departure to West Germany. Lothar Schulz then had a long successful career as an international project manager and consultant for Western industries in the field of business-/logistics software systems.

Since December 2015 he has been a visitor guide/contemporary witness with a foreign language focus at the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial. He also gives lectures in English about his experiences in East and West.