born 1961 in Berlin
Margitta Kupler was born the same day as the Berlin Wall was constructed. Even as a young girl, she insisted on deciding things for herself and not being subordinated to collective opinion. She attended church events and followed the Christian faith: “One form of protest and one alternative for those not wanting conform to the state’s demands.”
In 1978, festivities on Alexanderplatz to mark the anniversary of the founding of the GDR ended in clashes between youths and the police, during the course of which a boy from Margitta Kupler’s class was arrested. The Stasi came to the school to put pressure on the class. No letters should be written to the boy in prison, no signatures were allowed to be collected and signatures already submitted were to be retracted. In the face of this injustice and the lack of power to oppose it, she felt helpless. “That was something that was not part of my plans for my life.” Margitta Kupler refused to retract her signature and was expelled from school, ostensibly because she had worn a parka coat that came from the West.
After her children were born, she did not send them to state kindergartens nor to the Pioneers, the socialist mass organisation for children. “You don’t have to go along with everything. You can make choices concerning your own life.” Attracted by progressive approaches to education in church institutions, she trained as a parish worker.
In 1989 she started a job in Berlin-Weissensee, where she organised events on topics that were close to her heart: where do we stand on armament, on the army, on war toys in kindergartens? In autumn 1989, she staffed the telephone hotline in the Gethsemane Church together with Klaus, whom she later married, and other fellow activists. This is where information about protests and state incursions throughout the entire country was collected round the clock and then distributed, including to correspondents who had actually travelled to East Berlin to report on the official celebrations on 7 October. Margitta Kupler felt liberated through the fall of the Wall. She was one of the first to go into the headquarters of the Ministry for State Security in December 1989 with a television crew from the East German young people’s programme Elf 99. At the Central Round Table she was a member of AG Sicherheit, which set about dissolving the East German secret service. This working group decided to destroy electronic data, which Margitta Kupler was unable to prevent despite vehement protests.
Nowadays Margitta Kupler provides advice to young people in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern on planning their lives. She does not believe people have to adapt to the labour market. “This market is so unstable, the only stable thing about it is someone who knows what they want.”