Wagenknecht was born on 16 July 1969 in the East German city of Jena. Her father is Iranian and her mother, who worked for a state-run art distributor, is German. She was cared for primarily by her grandparents until 1976, when she and her mother moved to East Berlin. While in Berlin, she became a member of the Free German Youth (FDJ). She completed her Abitur exams in 1988 and joined the (then ruling) Socialist Unity Party (SED) in early 1989.
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