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Peter Florin
Peter Florin and Kurt Waldheim
President of the United Nations General Assembly

In office
Preceded by Humayun Rashid Choudhury
Succeeded by Dante Caputo
Personal details
Born (1921-10-02)2 October 1921
Cologne, Germany
Died 17 February 2014(2014-02-17) (aged 92)
Berlin, Germany
Parents Wilhelm Florin (1894-1944)
Therese Althammer/Florin (1902-1990)

Peter Florin (2 October 1921 – 17 February 2014) was an East German politician and diplomat.

Early life[edit | edit source]

Florin was born in Cologne on 2 October 1921.[1]

His father, Wilhelm Florin (1894 - 1944), was a leading figure in the pre-war Communist Party of Germany.[2] and, between 1924 and 1933, a member of the Reichstag (national parliament).[3]

Florin left Germany with his parents in 1933, when Adolf Hitler came to power and began persecuting Communists,[2] moving first to France and then to the Soviet Union, where he attended the Karl Liebknecht School. There, he studied chemistry at the University of Mendeleyev.[1]

During the Second World War, he fought with the Soviet partisans in Belarus. In 1944, Florin became editor of Freies Deutschland, a weekly anti-Nazi newspaper.[1] At the end of the war, he returned to Germany as a member of the Ackermann Group, one of the regional groups sent to lay the groundwork for the Soviet Military Administration in Germany.[4]

Career[edit | edit source]

Following the war, Florin entered politics in the German Democratic Republic and served as vice-president of the regional parliament of Wittenberg, while working as chief editor of the daily newspaper Freiheit. Then, from 1949 to 1952, he was an advisor for the East German ministry of foreign affairs. In 1953, he was promoted to the head of the department of foreign affairs of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany's central committee. From 1954 to 1971, he was a member of the country's parliamentary committee on foreign affairs, which he presided over for a time.[1]

From 1967 to 1969, Florin was East Germany's ambassador to Czechoslovakia.[1] He openly supported the Russian crushing of the Prague Spring uprising in 1968.[2] In 1969, he was named secretary of state and first deputy foreign minister.[1]

From 1973 to 1982, Florin was the German Democratic Republic's permanent representative to the United Nations. In 1982, he became president of the national commission for UNESCO in East Germany. In 1987 and 1988, he presided over the forty-second session of the United Nations General Assembly.[1]

Personal life[edit | edit source]

Peter Florin was married, and had three children.[1] His wife Edel was, in the late 1980s, a professor of Russian literature at Humboldt University in East Berlin.[2]

Florin spoke fluent German, Russian and English, and good French. During his presidency of the United Nations General Assembly, he was, according to the New York Times, "nicknamed 'Comrade Glasnost' by delegates, who s[aw] him as him a symbol of the modern Communist of the Gorbachev era".[2]

He died aged 92 in 2014.[5]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Biography on the website of the United Nations
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "MAN IN THE NEWS; A German In Charge: Peter Florin", New York Times, 22 September 1987
  3. "Florin, Wilhelm * 16.3.1894, † 5.7.1944". Bundesstiftung zur Aufarbeitung der SED-Diktatur: Biographische Datenbanken. http://www.bundesstiftung-aufarbeitung.de/wer-war-wer-in-der-ddr-%2363%3B-1424.html?ID=4292. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  4. "Namensliste der drei KPD-Einsatzgruppen vom 27. April 1945" German Federal Archives. BArch NY 4036/517. Retrieved November 22, 2011 (German)
  5. "DDR-Diplomat Peter Florin gestorben (German)". Die Welt. 17 February 2014. https://www.welt.de/newsticker/dpa_nt/regioline_nt/berlinbrandenburg_nt/article124946080/DDR-Diplomat-Peter-Florin-gestorben.html. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 

External links[edit | edit source]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Humayun Rashid Choudhury
President of the United Nations General Assembly
Succeeded by
Dante Caputo

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