East Germany’s last communist premier Hans Modrow dead

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Hans Modrow, the last prime minister of communist East Germany has died aged 95, the far-left Die Linke party announced Saturday.

Modrow died overnight, a party spokesman said.

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Born in Pomerania in current day Poland on January 27 1928, he was prime minister between November 1989 -- four days after the fall of the Berlin Wall -- and April 1990.

Although he never renounced Communist ideology, Modrow was seen as a reforming figure, much like Mikhail Gorbachev in Soviet Russia.

In 1990, his government founded an agency to help East Germany transition to a market economy.

A law named after him made it possible for house and farm owners to buy the land on which their property stood.

Modrow was a member of the Volksturm, or civil militia charged with defending the Third Reich during World War II. At the end of the war, he was sent to the former USSR where he served jail time until 1949.

After his release, he returned to East Germany and gradually rose through the ranks of the SED, East Germany’s ruling Communists.

After German reunification, he became a member of the Bundestag and served at the European Parliament. He was later critical of the reunification, saying it was too hasty and that East Germany had lost out.

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