The Berlin International Economics Congress

An Interdisciplinary Analysis of the Roles of Global Politics & Civil Society in International Economics

(Berlin; February 4th - 7th, 2010)

Rainer Eppelmann

Civil Rights Activist. Former Minister for Demobilization and Defence

Rainer Eppelmann is a German politician. He's known for his opposition in the German Democratic Republic and is now a member of the CDU. After dropping out of school in West Berlin in 1961, he worked as an assistant to a roofer before doing a job training for bricklayer. In 1966, he refused both the regular service and the service as "Bausoldat" (construction soldier) in the National People's Army. Thus, he was put into prison for eight months. Later, he studied Theology at the theological school in Berlin, an education he completed in 1974 with two exams. He then worked as a Lutheran priest in Berlin-Friedrichshain and took part in the opposition.

In 1990, Eppelmann was one of the founding fathers of the Democratic Awakening, becoming its president. Thus, he took an active part in the round table of 1990, preparing the German reunification. From March 18, 1990 to October 2, 1990 (when it ceased to exist) he was a member of the Volkskammer. He became a minister in the cabinet of Hans Modrow and later in the one of Lothar de Maizière. When the DA fusioned with the CDU in August 1990, Eppelmann became a member and later the assisting chairman of the worker's division of the CDU, the CDA.

He was a member of the Bundestag from 1990 to 2005 for the CDU. Here, he was chairman of the commission that coped with the history of the German Democratic Republic. Eppelmanns trademark is his "Berliner Schnauze", an idiom that's supposed to bring him close to the people of Berlin. He is married and has five children.