Former STASI man sickened by collapse of Communism

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Heinz Kessler has no regrets over the deaths to those who tried to cross the Berlin Wall.

Almost alone among the ex-Communist titans who ran the east bloc, he remains a stalwart defender of the system he served as minister of defence in the Honecker politburo.

Now 89 and living in Lichtenberg, Berlin, he regards the united Germany as a "callous and unjust" government, and wishes that the wall and the wire was still standing.

For his beliefs, Herr Kessler has been barred from membership in the Party of Democratic Socialism, the successor to the East German Communist Party, which is trying to convey a moderate, democratic image.

He has also been convicted of manslaughter as a result of his role in ordering East German border guards to shoot at fleeing refugees. The case involved seven victims picked from among the more than 600 who died while trying to flee.

"On some matters I cannot change my position," he says. "I refuse to sacrifice my Communist beliefs to the fashion of the day. I am and remain a believer in democratic centralism and a revolutionary socialist party."

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