Left veteran Gregor Gysi (75) has probably never avoided an uncomfortable debate. Born in Berlin, he does not shy away from verbal confrontation, either in the Bundestag, on talk shows or on YouTube. Gysi, who is respected across party lines, is now celebrating his 75th birthday. In view of his SED past, he was repeatedly eyed critically.Gregor Gysi, the Wende companion
Gregor Gysi was born on January 16, 1948 in Berlin. His father Klaus Gysi (1912-1999) was Minister of Education in the GDR. Accordingly, young Gregor and his sister Gabriele (76) probably enjoyed a comparatively privileged life in East Berlin. In 1966, parallel to his Abitur, he completed his training as a skilled worker for cattle breeding.
When he joined the SED in 1967, the law student might not have guessed that he would one day head the party. In 1989, however, the charismatic speaker campaigned for reforms that were close to the people and was elected the last SED leader in the same year.
Gysi also accompanied the party after reunification and opposed its dissolution. Instead, the SED was then called the PDS and later Die Linke. The member of the Bundestag was the head of the left-wing faction from 2005 to 2015. And although Gysi is no longer in the front row today, for many he is still the most prominent member of the party. The 75-year-old is much more than just a politician.'Four jobs are enough'
In the program 'Jung und Naiv' Gysi revealed in 2021 that he still has four professions: 'I'm a politician, I'm a lawyer, I'm an author and I'm a moderator. That's enough.'
Gysi has worked as a lawyer since 1971. In the GDR he also represented critics of the regime. He still acts as legal counsel today. In 2022, for example, he represented some representatives of the group Last Generation, who were on trial for their controversial protests.
As an author, he wrote several works about the GDR, but also the history of his party in particular. Also 'One life is not enough. The autobiography.' was there, in which he already reviewed his turbulent life to date in 2017.
Gregor Gysi regularly leads the talk show 'Misunderstanding me correctly' as moderator. In the show, which has been produced by the Berlin Palace of Tears since 2016, he talks to greats from the world of media, culture and politics. He mainly stays in the background, makes pointed remarks from time to time and asks clever questions. The prominent guests included CDU politician Wolfgang Schäuble (80), moderator Markus Lanz (53) and comedian Kurt Krömer (48).
In the RBB talk 'Chez Krömer' Gysi said in March that he likes to be a moderator 'because I'm curious about people'. He wanted to know 'why they became the way they are'.Criticism of Gysi
Among other things, because of his SED past, Gysi still sees himself exposed to persistent criticism. Nevertheless, he enjoys cross-party respect, also because he always seeks dialogue and wants to understand his counterparts.
Gysi is still fighting for Die Linke, even at 75. Even multiple heart attacks didn't stop him. Gysi attributes this to the stress and hostilities against him as a left-wing politician. 'If I had known what was in store for me, I should have said no to becoming a politician in December 1989,' he told the 'Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung' in 2020. However, it did not come to that. He still carries out this and his other professions with heart and soul.
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