Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle today sent his Czech counterpart Karel Schwarzenberg a message of condolence, which reads as follows (excerpt):
“I was greatly shocked and saddened by the news of Jiři Dienstbier’s death.
The Czech Republic and Europe as a whole have lost a truly outstanding democrat and a stalwart campaigner for human rights. The active role he played in the Prague Spring in 1968 led to him being banned from journalism. As co-author of the Charter 77 he was given a three-year prison term. Who in 1977 would have thought the former dissident would become the country’s first democratic Foreign Minister following the Velvet Revolution! Along with Vaclav Havel, he was the face the new democratic country presented to the wider world.
For us Germans Jiři Dienstbier will remain unforgotten as the man who together with Hans-Dietrich Genscher symbolically cut through the Iron Curtain on the German-Czech border and who made a remarkable and unique contribution to reconciliation between our two nations.”