Egon Krenz, Last General Secretary of the SED Central Committee (late October 1989)
On October 18, 1989, as indications of the collapse of the GDR were becoming increasingly clear, Erich Honecker yielded to party pressure and resigned after 18 years as SED general secretary. Officially, he did so on account of health reasons – Honecker was suffering from liver cancer. Egon Krenz, Honecker's deputy up to that point, succeeded him as head of state and party leader. Krenz, however, also misjudged the political situation: using the term Wende (which literally means “turning point” but here refers to political change in the GDR), he promised only certain changes of course, not the complete revamping of the political system demanded by the GDR population and the opposition. As a result of the events of November 1989, Krenz and the entire Politburo resigned on December 3, 1989. On December 6, he also finally resigned as chairman of the Council of State. Photo: Peter Kroh.