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STATESMAN WILLY BRANDT

By Ruth Walker / October 13, 1992



BERLIN

* Germany is mourning Willy Brandt, one of the premier statesmen of postwar Germany and the winner of the 1971 Nobel Peace Prize.

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He was born in Lubeck in 1913, but fled Germany when Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933 and returned only after World War II. He became mayor of West Berlin in 1957 and served there when the Berlin Wall went up. In 1969, he became West Germany's first Social Democratic chancellor.

His ostpolitik, or policy of opening to the East, was seen by some to signal a drift away from the West. Today it is widely seen as having laid groundwork for reunification. While on a visit to the Warsaw ghetto in 1970, he dropped to his knees before a memorial to those who perished. It was an important gesture of German atonement for Nazi horrors.

He resigned as chancellor in 1974 when a close aide was unmasked as an East German spy, but became honorary chairman of his party. He served for years as head of the Socialist International and of the North-South Commission on third-world problems.