Religious Figure. Roman Catholic Bishop of Berlin-both East and West-and leader of East Germany's 1.2 million Roman Catholics. The son of a Berlin postal official, He was named bishop of the divided city and its environs in August 1961, three days after the erection of the Berlin Wall. A conservative theologian who steered clear of politics, he was given special permission by East German authorities to cross the Wall three days a month to minister to his West Berlin flock, later he was allowed 30 days in every three-month period. In 1967 Bengsch became the first East German to wear a Cardinal's red hat-a promotion that reflected Pope Paul VI's quiet Ostpolitik.