Heinz Kessler


Age: 97

former defense minister of East Germany from 1985 to 1989 who was later convicted of incitement to manslaughter for upholding the shoot-to-kill policy at the Communist country's border and became a member of the Communist party's politburo in 1986 whose promotion to minister and general followed a long career in the senior ranks of the military and as a deputy defense minister, but who was kicked out of the party along with others from the hardline Communist era after the fall of the Berlin Wall in January 1990, and who was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison in 1993 after an estimated 700-800 people died at East Germany's heavily fortified border with the West before it was opened in late 1989.

Cause of Death: Undisclosed causes

Born: January 26, 1920

Died: May 2, 2017

Berlin, Germany