The Bourbons, in Talleyrand’s famous formulation, learnt nothing and forgot nothing. Further to my speculations as to what Czechoslovakia’s last Communist ruler, Gustav Husak, thought about his life’s work after he was deposed, along comes an interview with Margot Honecker, wife of the last-but-one leader of the DDR, Erich Honecker. This is apparently her first public interview since defenestration.
Friedler [her interlocuter] said that over the several days he interviewed her, Honecker, who during her 26-year tenure as education minister introduced weapons training to schools, and ordered every teacher to report all incidences of deviation by pupils from the communist line, remained bizarrely detached from reality and resolute in her defence of East Germany.
“Margot Honecker showed no remorse, or discernment, she expressed no word of regret or apology,” he said.”
Her dogged devotion to the cause is to be admired, although it might better be termed recalcitrance.
In one of history’s great ironies, when the Honeckers were pushed from office in 1989, they also lost their (luxurious) state housing and benefits. Having spent both their careers as members of the nomenklatura, they were now homeless, and were forced to ask dissident Lutheran pastor, Rev. Uwe Holmer, for help in finding somewhere to stay. He and his family hosted them for several months. Somehow, one cannot imagine Margot Honecker acting likewise, if the situation were reversed.