Roberto Yáñez, Thomas Grimm

I Was the Last Citizen of the GDR - My Life as the Grandson of the Honeckers

With images
Roberto Yáñez

Roberto Yáñez

Roberto Yáñez, born in 1974, grew up in East Berlin and left Germany in 1990, shortly after the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Since then, he has been living in Chile, his father's native country, and works as a painter, poet and songwriter.

Thomas Grimm

Thomas Grimm

Thomas Grimm, born in the Ore Mountains, in 1954, is a film maker and journalist. He started to record interviews with people who witnessed history first-hand, GDR personalities in particular, as early as 1987 and subsequently founded the movie and TV production company Zeitzeugen TV, which he still runs today.

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Two years after the death of Margot Honnecker, her grandson, Roberto Yañez, breaks the family’s silence

First-hand glimpses into the GDR’s centre of power

A story of flight and exile

The Honecker family in Chile under Pinochet

With numerous previously unpublished photos and personal letters from the Honecker family

»For me, my grandmother’s death was the fall of the Wall.« Robert Yañez


There isn’t much that is publicly known about the last years of Erich and Margot Honecker, who were granted political asylum in Chile. Now, two years after Margot Honecker’s death, her grandson, Roberto Yañez, breaks the silence. For the first time, he speaks about his life as the »favorite grandchild« and about what happened after his grandfather was overthrown and the GDR broke down.

Roberto Yañez, son of Sonja Honecker, grew up with the privileges of power. When the Berlin Wall is torn down, he is 15 years old. His beloved grandparents are chased as criminals. He himself feels persecuted, even after his family has left for Chile, his father’s home country. He has a hard time adapting to the unfamiliar culture. After his parents’ separation, he moves in with Margot Honecker, who holds on to her political belief system unwaveringly. Time and again, Roberto breaks free from the strict rules and looks for a new life among art, music and drugs. But his grandmother remains the person he feels closest to and he keeps returning to her again and again. It’s only when she dies in 2016 that he can free himself from the burden of his family history – and talk about the glorious times of his childhood, the end of the GDR, how the Honeckers experienced the political developments as a family and about his grandparents’ last years in Chile.