Markus Gleichmann – Europe in civil dialogue

Markus Gleichmann is the European and energy policy spokesman for the Left Party in the Thuringian state parliament.

Village life politicized Markus Gleichmann. At 14, he and his parents moved from Jena to the rural town of Eichenberg near Kahle, about 20 kilometers south. Poor mobility, fears for the future, social tensions, conflicts between left and right – there was plenty of material for debate in the rural area. In the small town, Gleichmann quickly came into contact with active local politicians in the town and district, so his first voluntary steps into politics were not far away – he was just 21 years old at the time. Gleichmann later found his political home with the Left Party.

Today, the 37-year-old is a member of the Thuringian state parliament and spokesman for European and energy policy. In this role, he tries to build a political bridge between the state and Brussels. He says that this works particularly well when it comes to the issue close to his heart: sustainability. “It should be clear to everyone that we can’t manage the sustainable transformation in Thuringia alone,” says Gleichmann. And there is “an infinite amount” happening in Brussels right now.

Birthplace of the Bauhaus and location for automotive suppliers

Thuringia is the birthplace of the Bauhaus style and plays an important role as a supplier to the automotive industry. These competencies and interests can also make a significant contribution to the transformation debate in Brussels. “I want to convey the opportunities of European politics to the people of Thuringia and be their voice in Brussels,” says Gleichmann.

He acknowledges that it is not always easy. “We have to constantly emphasize that the EU is more than feed regulations and cucumber curvature standards,” he says. “It also involves peacekeeping and issues that are too big for our country.” Gleichmann attends as many citizen dialogue events in the region as he can, spreading this message. For the Conference on the Future of Europe, representatives from various countries collected specific wishes and proposed changes for the EU, compiling them into a final report. “There are great opportunities in there,” says Gleichmann.

Books about Nazi history

His hobby can also be political. In his spare time, Gleichmann enjoys researching history. He has written two books about the Nazi era in his home region. The first, entitled “Düsenjäger über dem Walpersberg,” was published in 2009. It is about a former underground aircraft factory in Kahla, where the National Socialists had fighter jets built by some 13,000 forced laborers. Two years later, he published the book “Geheimnisvolles Thüringen – Militärobjekte des Dritten Reiches” (Mysterious Thuringia – Military Objects of the Third Reich), in which he also dealt with the underground armaments factories in the region.

Coming to terms with Nazi history is necessary and important,” Gleichmann says. Recently, he was deep in the old camp tunnels of a subcamp of the Buchenwald concentration camp. During the Nazi era, Jewish prisoners of the concentration camp were sent down there for forced labor. Research for a new project of his. “It took many discussions before we were allowed in there. But that’s where I was persistent, and that’s how I was able to connect key players.” When Gleichmann wants to switch off from all the heavy topics? “Then I go mountain climbing and am out in nature.” Pascal Mühle


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