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Cohn-Bendit, Daniel Marc (1945–)

Anarchist leader of the French student rebellion of May 1968 and later a prominent European politician and Green Party representative. Born to German-Jewish parents on 4 April 1945 in Montabaun, France, Daniel Cohn-Bendit spent his early years in Paris but at age thirteen moved with his mother to the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG, West Germany). He graduated from the liberal Odenwaldschule school in 1965 and then went to the University of Paris at Nanterre to study sociology. There he became involved in anarchist student groups and helped create the March 22nd Movement, which sparked the 1968 May student uprising in Paris. During the students' standoff with the government of President Charles de Gaulle, Cohn-Bendit quickly rose to national prominence as the media spokesperson for the protest movement.

After the protests, Cohn-Bendit was expelled from France and relocated to Frankfurt. He was legally barred from France until 1978. In Frankfurt he became a key figure in the local anarchist scene (Spontis) and cultivated a close friendship with Joschka Fischer, later to become minister for foreign affairs. Both men were outspoken critics of leftist-supported terrorism, particularly that of the Red Army Faction in Germany. Although not a founding member, Cohn-Bendit played an important role in the formation of the German Green Party and was appointed Frankfurt's first city councillor for multicultural affairs in 1989.

Cohn-Bendit later embraced European politics and was the first politician to sit in the European Parliament (EP) as a representative of two countries: West Germany and France. After joining the EP as a member of the German Green Party in June 1994, he led the French Greens to a stunning EP electoral success in 1999. In the June 2004 EP elections, Cohn-Bendit was the top candidate of the newly formed European Green Party.

Jan Martin Lemnitzer


Further Reading
Millot, Lorraine. Daniel Cohn-Bendit. Toulouse: Milan, 1999.
 

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