Mourning for a tireless fighter for civil rights: across party lines, politicians have paid tribute to the late FDP politician and former north rhine-westphalian interior minister burkhard hirsch as a fighter for individual freedom and against state arbitrariness.
Hirsch died on wednesday at the age of 89.
FDP leader christian lindner wrote on twitter: "with him, we are losing a rude liberal, defender of citizens’ rights and an endearing as well as loyal advisor. Even at an advanced age, he knew the current technical literature and sent faxes with clever thoughts. I will miss him."NRW minister president armin laschet (CDU) declared: "he belongs to the most important admonishers of german politics."Bundestag president wolfgang schauble (CDU) remembered the long-serving deputy and vice president of the bundestag as an "astute and passionate liberal".
Hirsch, who died on 29. May 1930 in magdeburg and grew up in halle, belonged to the "central german faction" in the FDP around hans-dietrich genscher from halle and gerhart baum, who was born in dresden. Baum and hirsch in particular were very close to the eastern policy of SPD chancellor willy brandt, which was based on the motto "change through acceptance.
Hirsch, who holds a doctorate in law, began his career as a local politician on the dusseldorf city council in 1964. He entered the bundestag in 1972 and was called to dusseldorf from 1975 to 1980 as NRW interior minister. He returned to the bundestag in 1980, and was vice-president of the parliament in his last term from 1994 to 1998.
During the RAF terror, the NRW ministry of the interior under hirsch was blamed by many for mishandling the kidnapping of employer president hanns martin schleyer. "It still gets to my kidneys," he said in 2016.
Hirsch was also involved in the successful constitutional complaint against the air safety law passed by rot-grun under chancellor gerhard schroder (SPD). The law allowed the military to shoot down an airplane in the event of its hijacking by terrorists, thereby accepting the death of innocent people. Karlsruhe ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in 2006.
Right up to the end, hirsch has resisted state intervention in the private sphere – whether in the case of gross eavesdropping or data retention. Data retention leads to glass burger, he criticized.