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Parties – Dresden – Farewell to Kurt Biedenkopf: funeral service – politics

Dresden (dpa) – Bells ringing the last honor for Kurt Biedenkopf: In the Dresden Frauenkirche, around 300 invited guests said goodbye to the first Saxon Prime Minister and CDU politician on Friday. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier praised the politician as a source of ideas and an intellectual pioneer. “With Kurt Biedenkopf we say goodbye today to one of the most stimulating, in the best sense most influential and original politician that our republic has known.”

Union Chancellor candidate Armin Laschet as well as the Prime Ministers of Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt, Michael Kretschmer and Reiner Haseloff (both CDU) came to the ceremony of mourning. Among the mourners were not only leading personalities from politics, religion, economy and culture but also family, companions and friends. Biedenkopf’s widow Ingrid had also taken a seat in the front row.

“Our country has lost a special person and a great statesman,” said Laschet in his address. He paid tribute to Biedenkopf’s services to the CDU, but also to Saxony – for example, the establishment as a semiconductor site in the mid-1990s. “He was a visionary, but not a fantastic,” says Laschet. Saxony’s Prime Minister Kretschmer thought of Biedenkopf as a person to whom “we in Saxony and Germany owe a lot.” After 1990 he had succeeded in teaching in Saxony “for democracy without being a teacher himself.”

The law professor Kurt Biedenkopf came from Ludwigshafen (Rhineland-Palatinate). In 1973 he became general secretary of the CDU, but then became a rival of the then chairman Helmut Kohl. After the end of the GDR, the lawyer applied for the office of Prime Minister in Saxony. The CDU ruled with “King Kurt” until 2002 with an absolute majority.

In Saxony, Biedenkopf was “the right man at the right time” with his skills, stressed Federal President Steinmeier. The Federal President had shortened his trip to Slovakia, which began on Thursday, in order to be able to attend the funeral service.

Despite not entirely voluntary withdrawal from office, the former “West-Import” Biedenkopf remained connected to his adopted home and politics, worked again as a lawyer in Dresden and published. From 1990 to 2002 he was head of government in Saxony. On August 12, Biedenkopf died at the age of 91 after a short, serious illness in the state capital – and was buried in close family circles.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210902-99-69536 / 4

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