Heinz Kessler or Heinz Keßler (26 January 1920 – 2 May 2017) was a former East German communist politician, military officer and a convicted felon. He is known for his role in political repression in East Germany prior to the communist regime's downfall in 1989.
Heinz Kessler in 1988
|Minister of Defence of German Democratic Republic|
3 December 1985 – 18 November 1989
|Prime Minister||Willi Stoph|
|Preceded by||Heinz Hoffmann|
|Succeeded by||Theodor Hoffman|
|Born||26 January 1920|
Lauban, Province of Lower Silesia, Weimar Germany
|Died||2 May 2017 (aged 97)|
|Political party||German Communist Party (since 2009)|
|Communist Party of Germany (1945-1946)|
Socialist Unity Party of Germany (1946-1989)
Party of Democratic Socialism (1989-1990)German Communist Party (1990–present)
|Spouse(s)||Ruth Kessler (died 2013)|
|Allegiance|| Nazi Germany (1940-1941)|
Soviet Union (1941-1945)
East Germany (1950-1989)
|Years of service|| Wehrmacht (1940-1941)|
Soviet Army (1941-1945)
National People's Army (1950-1989)
|Commands||Commander-in-chief of the Kommando LSK/LV|
Ministry of National Defence
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia
Angolan Civil War
In East Germany, he held the rank of Armeegeneral in the National People's Army (Nationale Volksarmee) and was Minister of Defense of the GDR, a member of the Politbüro of the Central Committee of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED), and a deputy of the GDR's Volkskammer (parliament).
Convicted for his role in the crimes of the communist regime, he was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison after German reunification, and served his sentence in Hakenfelde Prison. He was released from prison in 1998 after serving only five years.
Kessler was expelled from the Party of Democratic Socialism in 1990. In 2009, he joined the German Communist Party (DKP). He was a DKP candidate in the Berlin state election, 2011. Kessler died 2 May 2017 at the age of 97.
Media related to Heinz Keßler at Wikimedia Commons