We’re very sorry to announce that CND vice-president Walter Wolfgang has died aged 95.
Kate Hudson, CND general secretary, said “A huge loss to our movement. Walter was a founding member of CND and was on the committee which organised the first Aldermaston march. He was active with CND until the very end. A new generation came to know Walter after cameras recorded him being forcibly ejected from the annual Labour Party Conference in 2005 for shouting ‘nonsense’ during Jack Straw’s speech on the Iraq War.
“In Walter’s own words, ‘the danger of a nuclear war leading to the end of humankind is greater than ever. The struggle is on. We shall overcome.’”
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, leader of the Labour Party. Corbyn describes Walter as ‘a very special and very thoughtful man. I have huge respect and admiration for him’.