Kurt Hager (24 July 1912 – 18 September 1998) was an East German statesman, a member of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany who was known as the chief ideologist of the party and decided many cultural and educational policies in East Germany.
Hager was born at Bietigheim, Württemberg. The son of a laborer and a cleaner, he passed the high school exam (Abitur) in 1931, after a visit of Primary and High School. He was a member of the YMCA and Socialist Federal Student, worked as a journalist and entered the KPD in 1930, and the Red Front fighters covenant in 1932. In 1933 he took part in a sabotage against Hitler's first speech on the radio ("Cable assassination"), was arrested and sent to the KZ Heuberg. After a brief detention, he emigrated in 1936.
Until 1937, he worked as a courier for the Communist youth organization of Germany in Switzerland, France and the CSR. From 1937 to 1939 he participated in the Spanish Civil War as a journalist, where he worked for the "German freedom broadcasting station" and the foreign radio program from Madrid.
In 1939 he was detained in France and then emigrated to England. There he was responsible for the international organization of the KPD active, writing under the pseudonym "Felix Albin". After the outbreak of war, he was interned, first in an internment camp at Huyton near Liverpool, and later on the Isle of Man.
In 1945 Hager returned to Berlin. Until 1946 he first worked as forestry worker and welder, and later as a journalist for the magazine "Freie Tribüne".
Upon his return, he was deputy chief editor of the "Forward" and graduated 1948, a lecturer in the course of the Parteihochschule "Karl Marx" Kleinmachnow and in 1949 he became a full professor for philosophy at the Humboldt University in Berlin.
In 1946 he joined the SED, and became head of the party Training Division, then in 1949 the Head of the Propaganda Department. From 1952 he became the Head of the Science Division of the Code of SED, and from 1954 a member of the Central Committee of the SED. In 1955 he became the secretary, and was responsible for science, popular education and culture. A candidate in 1959, from 1963 he was a Member of the Politburo of the CC of SED and the Ideology committee of the Politburo. In 1958 he became a member of the Public Chamber and 1967 was made chairman of the Public Education Committee. He was also between 1976-1989 a Member of the Council of State and between 1979-1989 a member of the National Defense Council. In the SED-Politbüro Hager was "Chefideologe" and ultimately responsible for culture.
In speeches and writings Hager denied the existence of a single German cultural nation and a common German history. In 1987, in an interview with the German magazine Stern about the reforms of Mikhail Gorbachev in the Soviet Union, Hager gave the answer: "Would you, if your neighbor repapers his apartment, feel like you should also repaper your apartment?". This rejection of the policy of glasnost and perestroika of the Soviet military power met an angry reception both in the party base, as well as in the population of the GDR. Wolf Biermann titled Hager - probably due to this occasion, in his song "The Ballad of the corrupt old men" scornfully as "Professor Tapeten-Kutte". In a spontaneous encounter with GDR-journalists - when they came into his residence, the "Wachobjekt Wandlitz", for the first time - Hager said he was placed there against his will at the climax of the Cold War. It had "bent the decisions of the party," said Hager in the presence of his wife. Wandlitz, which after 1989 became the epitome of the duplicity of DDR-Oberen made a name for himself had he described as its seventh internment camp, in which he had come.
In November 1989 Hager was removed from his functions, and in 1990 expelled from the SED-PDS.
Hager won numerous awards. He received 1956 Hans-Beimler-Medaille, 1962 Banner of Labor, 1964 Vaterländischer Verdienstorden, 1969 entitled hero of the work, as well as 1972, 1977 and 1982 Karl-Marx-Orden.
His daughter Nina Hager, joined somewhat in the footsteps of her father. She is vice chairman of the German Communist Party (DKP), a member of the National Executive and there are other positions.
Hager died in Berlin in 1998. His grave is located on the Zentralfriedhof Friedrichsfelde.