Civil rights activist Werner Schulz dies at an event in Bellevue Palace

Schulz was a guest at a conference that Steinmeier had invited together with the Central Council of Jews - its title: "How do we remember November 9th? A day between a pogrom and democratic awakenings.

Civil rights activist Werner Schulz dies at an event in Bellevue Palace

Schulz was a guest at a conference that Steinmeier had invited together with the Central Council of Jews - its title: "How do we remember November 9th? A day between a pogrom and democratic awakenings." The 72-year-old then left the hall during the event and collapsed in an anteroom, according to the Office of the Federal President. The President of the Central Council of Jews, Josef Schuster - a trained doctor - was called in to revive him. Schulz' death could not have been prevented.

The event was canceled prematurely. Those present held a minute's silence in honor of Schulz, according to the President's Office. Steinmeier paid tribute to the deceased. Schulz was a "close adviser in East-West matters" for the Federal President, according to Steinmeier's environment. He was a frequent guest at Bellevue Palace.

"Werner Schulz was a person who campaigned wholeheartedly and with great strength for democracy and freedom throughout his life," wrote the Federal President to Monika Schulz in the afternoon. Schulz was one of those "courageous personalities to whom we all owe the fall of the Wall in our reunited country," Steinmeier said in his letter. "I admired him deeply for his courage, his always upright attitude and at the same time for his analytical skills."

Werner Schulz was active as a civil rights activist in the GDR and was involved in the opposition New Forum early on. After reunification, he was a member of the Bundestag and the European Parliament. As a member of parliament and parliamentary group spokesman for Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, he campaigned for East and West to grow together and for strengthening democracy against extremism. He has received many awards for his commitment.

Bundestag Vice President Katrin Göring-Eckardt (Greens) expressed her dismay at Schulz's death in a very personal statement: "I can't believe it. Without you, this country would not be what it is. Without you, an anchor is missing. Me too."

Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth (Greens) explained: "He was able to make the totalitarianism of the SED regime and the difference to democracy and the rule of law understandable like no other. He was a civil rights activist through and through."

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