CND vice-president Walter Wolfgang died aged 95 in May 2019.
Walter was a socialist and peace campaigner throughout his adult life. Born 1923 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, he was sent to Britain in 1937 by his parents who saw no future for Jews in Hitler’s Germany.
Walter was granted British citizenship in 1948, and joined the Labour Party that same year. He believed that Labour made a major mistake by lining up behind one of the two power blocs which emerged after the war, campaigning for a non-aligned foreign policy.
Walter’s critique of Britain’s role in the cold war placed him squarely in the camp of the nuclear disarmers. He joined the Hydrogen Bomb Campaign Committee, a Labour Party off-shoot, in 1957 and became an organiser of the very first ‘Ban the Bomb’ march.
He joined the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament when it was set up in 1958 and was an unwavering supporter until the end. He was a participant in CND’s Labour Advisory Committee, and became a prominent member of Labour CND.
Walter stood as a Labour candidate in the 1959 general election, campaigning on a unilateral nuclear disarmament platform. In 2006, he was unexpectedly elected to the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee, having gained notoriety a year earlier as the octogenarian forcibly removed from Labour Party conference for heckling the Foreign Secretary over the Labour government’s role in the Iraq war.
At Labour’s 2018 annual conference Walter received a merit award from his long-time friend Jeremy Corbyn, former leader of the Labour Party. Corbyn describes Walter as ‘a very special and very thoughtful man. I have huge respect and admiration for him’.
A memorial event was held via Zoom on 29th May 2020, with Jeremy Corbyn and others speaking. Watch below.