Zeitzeuge

Andreas Kosmalla

Neuruppin, Brandenburg
* 1962

‘Now we breathe again, we cry and laugh the foul sadness out of our chests. Boy, we’re stronger than rats and dragons. And we’d forgotten that. But have always known it.’ (Wolf Biermann)

Biografie auf Deutsch
Themen
  • Kirche
  • deutsche Einheit
  • Opposition/Bürgerrechtsbewegung
  • Alltagserfahrungen
Sprache
  • Englisch

Biographical information

1962 Born and raised in a pastor’s home in Denstedt near Weimar until 1969, followed by the Burgau district of the city of Jena
1979 Completion of the 10th form at the Adolf Reichwein secondary school II in Jena, including his Abitur in Russian
Until 1981 Professional training as electrical mechanic at the VEB (‘people’s owned enterprise’) Carl Zeiss, Jena
Until 1987 Worked as an electrical mechanic at the VEB Carl Zeiss, Jena
May 1984-October 1985 Military service ‘without a gun’ as a so-called ‘construction soldier’ in Prora, work deployment at the construction of the ferry port of Mukran
1985-1987 Partial Abitur via evening classes at the adult education centre in Jena
1987-1990 Studies to become a qualified teacher of mathematics and physics at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, subsequent resumption of studies at the Technical University of Berlin
Since 1992 Positions as freelance youth education officer and director of an educational institution
Currently freelance lecturer and political youth education officer and youth political educator

Profile

Growing up as the child of a pastor in 1970s Jena, I was exposed to the harassment and discrimination common for pupils of Christian backgrounds, nor was I admitted to my Abitur examination. On the other hand, I was a member of the FDJ (‘Free German Youth’) and underwent both secular Jugendweihe (socialist-secular coming-of-age ceremony) and Protestant confirmation. I had been involved in church youth work since my school and apprentice days, supervising congregational youth groups, organising recreational church activities and events, playing music in the ‘church underground’, and active in the church’s peace work. In particular, I witnessed and participated in various actions of the ‘Jena peace movement’ during this period. After completing my military service as a so-called Bausoldat (‘construction soldier’), we set up a working group on questions of military service (‘Arbeitskreis Wehrdienstfragen’) at Jena’s city youth parish office in 1986, providing counselling and training seminars to conscripts. During my maths studies at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena from 1987 onward, we enjoyed a great deal of freedom at the mathematics department to engage in self-organised ‘Perestroika activities’. Beginning in the autumn of 1989, I became involved with the New Forum in Jena and was the election campaign coordinator for the List New Forum/Greens during the first regional elections in the state of Thuringia in 1990. As a board member of a working group on work among Protestant schoolchildren, I was involved in initiating an important process of East-West rapprochement and unification in church-based youth work between 1990-92.