Ultimately, politics carried the day. While I still inclined toward the left (as did my parents who always voted for the Social Democrats), I now championed Karl Marx and Mao Zedong rather than Willy Brandt. I was influenced by the ramifications of the student movements that – just like in the United States, France, and other countries – set the tone of political debates in the late 1960s. At the age of 13, I founded a leftist student group, ROTE ZELLE, at the school I attended in northwest Frankfurt. I also published a newspaper that had a print run of two thousand, and was quite a step up from the forty copies of the space flight fanzine. In fact, it was properly printed, using the offset printing process. At night, a leftist teacher helped us to sneak into the school’s print shop and print the paper, though the school eventually found out and put a stop to it. I had to think of other ways to finance my paper. I talked to left-wing bookstores such as “Karl-Marx-Buchhandlung” and “Libresso” in Frankfurt, and they did buy advertising space. And I discovered another financing source to tap into: From the publishing house for foreign-language literature in Beijing, I ordered posters of Marx, Lenin, and Chairman Mao along with books in German such as “Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung,” the Selected Works by Mao or the “Communist Manifesto” of Marx and Engels. These we sold, and – with the approval of our comrades in Beijing – used the money to fund our Communist student group.
Each week, I would read a Beijing paper in German, and listen to a radio station in Tirana in Communist Albania that broadcast revolutionary news at 11:00 o’clock at night. I had become a Communist. We did not care about Communist East Germany or the Soviet Union, which we thought had betrayed the ideas underlying Marxist-Leninism. Instead, we oriented ourselves to the China of Mao Zedong. We knew nothing about the crimes and the oppression in the country, or perhaps chose to ignore them. China was far away, and the perfect projection space for our pipedream of a fair society.
I actually joined the Communist Youth Organisation of the Communist Party (KPD/ML) at age thirteen. I would get at early in the morning to sell copies of the “Rote Fahne,” the party paper of the KPD/ML. I spent my evening at meetings, and my holidays and weekends over the writings of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao. By the age of 15, I had read hundreds of such “classics,” including all three volumes of “Capital” by Karl Marx. I summarised the books, and have actually kept the summaries to this day. The summaries of “Capital” alone and of secondary material on the work that I read fill hundreds of notebooks.
At age 14, I offered tutorials in Marxism-Leninism to university students. The students were quite amazed that the person teaching the tutorial was so young – many of the students being ten years older than me.

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