Willy Brandt

Willy Brandt

1913 (Lübeck)–1992 (Unkel/Rhine)

Born as Herbert Frahm, he began using the pseudonym Willy Brandt in Norwegian exile, where he worked underground for the SAPD (Socialist Worker’s Party), banned in Germany. When the Germans occupied Norway, he fled to Sweden where he continued working as a journalist for the Scandinavian worker’s press.
In 1947, he returned to Germany to play a part in building up a democratic future, now a member of the SPD (Social Democratic Party). The charismatic speaker became the hope of German social democracy. His political enemies repeatedly tried to use his exile against him. The conservative leader Franz Josef Strauss asked in 1961, “We surely can ask Mr. Brandt one thing: what were you doing twelve years abroad? We know what we were doing at home.” In 1969, the “German Kennedy” became chancellor.

His motto “Dare more democracy!,” his policy towards the Eastern bloc, his kneeling in Warsaw and many other stations of his political career shaped the history of the twentieth century.