A member of the German Communist Party, Erich Honecker was imprisoned by the Nazis from 1935 to 1945. In 1961 he oversaw the building of the Berlin Wall. He succeeded Walter Ubricht as head of East Germany in 1971. Under his rule, the country was one of the most repressive and prosperous of the Soviet-bloc countries. Honecker was forced to resign with the collapse of communist authority in 1989.
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