(b. Jasenitz, 27 Jan. 1928)
German; head of government of the German Democratic Republic Nov. 1989–Mar. 1990 Modrow completed an apprenticeship as a mechanic before military service in the Wehrmacht. Taken prisoner by the Soviets he was sent to an anti-Fascist indoctrination camp. He owed his early success to his work in the Free German Youth (FDJ) and to his contacts with the Soviets.
Modrow headed the government of the GDR at the critical time between the end of the dominance of the Socialist Unity Party (SED), 18 November 1989, and the election of the first democratic government in East Germany in March 1990. Modrow was accepted because he had built up a reputation as a Communist in line with the principles of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. He was briefly made a member of the Politburo in an effort to boost sagging party morale. Modrow had previously served as SED first secretary in Dresden and before that in Berlin-Köpenick.
Modrow attempted to save what he could of the SED and the GDR, leading the former Communists (PDS) in the democratic elections of March 1990. After reunification he served as PDS member of the German Parliament until 1994. In 1993 he was found guilty of electoral fraud during elections in 1989 in Dresden. From 1999 to 2004 he was a member of the European parliament. At the foundation, in 2007, of The Left party, which combined disaffected SPD members (led by Oskar Lafontaine) and the PDS, he became Honorary Chairman, at the same time as Lafontaine and Lothar Bisky became joint chairmen.