Born in Berlin in 1945, the civil rights activist studied art in East Berlin and became a painter. Early on, she established contacts with members of the Green Party in West Germany. Starting in the early-1980s, she became the voice of the East German political opposition and was arrested on numerous occasions because of her political activities. In 1983, she was even placed under six weeks of investigative custody at the notorious Hohenschönhausen prison run by the East German secret police, the Stasi, for "sharing intelligence treasonous to the country." Afterwards, she was banned from receiving public commissions, from publicly exhibiting her artwork and from traveling. "I want a totally changed GDR -- one in which every citizen is responsible for themselves," was her motto.
A number of other influential left-wing and centrist opposition politicians in Israel have twittered or voiced concern about the AfD, including Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid, whose father is a Holocaust survivor, and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, one of the country's most prominent politicians. Livni wrote on Twitter: "I congratulate Angela Merkel, a true friend of Israel. I'm convinced that just as she knew how to courageously stand up for her values, she will find a way to deal with the worrisome rise of the anti-Semitic, extreme right."