East Germany Glasnost Chorus

The regime tones down dissent

Braving a cold winter rain, about 2,000 young people packed East Berlin's Evangelical Bartholomaus Church last week. The setting was a religious one, but the message was plainly political -- a prayer service to honor some 20 East German dissidents jailed last month for disturbing the peace and having "treasonous contacts." A few years ago, such a meeting would have been unthinkable in tightly controlled East Germany. But the glasnost breezes from Moscow seem to have emboldened a new generation to challenge the regime of Erich Honecker.

Last week Stephan Krawczyk, 32, a popular antiestablishment folk singer, and his wife Freya...

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