Karsten Köhler was born in 1938 in Storkow, Brandenburg (then GDR), where he went to school. With his classmates he protested against the violent suppression of the Hungarian Revolution in the autumn of 1956 with a "1-minute silence" solidarity action. As a retributory action he and 15 of his classmates were subsequently expelled from school. After 3-4 days, the students fled to West Berlin. A film adaptation of the students' solidarity action was made in 2018, entitled "The Silent Revolution". In recognition of his work in solidarity with the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and in educating the younger generation about the abuses of the communist dictatorship, Köhler was awarded the Hungarian Golden Cross of Merit by President János Áder on 11 March 2020.