“On the ideological front, there was no peaceful coexistence”: Interview with Ulrich Kolbe

As part of our rese­arch into the Medi­cal College, we conduc­ted an inter­view with former German teacher Ulrich Kolbe in July 2021. In this first part, he descri­bes the GDR’s anti-impe­ria­list stra­tegy in gene­ral and discus­ses the deve­lo­p­ment of the poli­ti­cal conscious­ness of GDR citizens. 

“Solidarity is a two-way street”: Interview with anti-apartheid militant Ronnie Kasrils

Ronnie Kasrils, born 1938 in Johan­nes­burg, joined the South Afri­can Commu­nist Party at the age of 23. He was a foun­ding member of the uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the para­mi­li­tary wing of the Afri­can Natio­nal Congress (ANC). After recei­ving mili­tary and intel­li­gence trai­ning in the Soviet Union and the GDR, Kasrils helped to estab­lish a sophisti­ca­ted under­ground network of anti-apart­heid figh­ters from the mid-1960s onwards. Follo­wing the victory over apart­heid, Kasrils served as Minis­ter of Water Affairs and Forestry (1999–2004) and Minis­ter of Intel­li­gence Services (2004–2008) in the ANC governments.

“We always asked ourselves: Does this solidarity project serve the overall development of this country?”

Achim Reichardt, born in 1929, had served as a diplo­mat for the GDR in Sudan, Leba­non, and Libya. From 1982 to 1990 he was gene­ral secre­tary of the Soli­da­rity Commit­tee of the GDR, an orga­niza­tion emer­ging in the 1960s to admi­nis­ter the finan­cial and mate­rial dona­ti­ons coll­ec­ted by the GDR’s mass orga­niza­ti­ons to support the libe­ra­tion move­ments and newly inde­pen­dent states in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The Soli­da­rity Commit­tee became a central coor­di­na­tor of the GDR’s soli­da­rity worldwide.