Born December 2, 1938, in Dresden, Kreibich studied physics and mathematics at Technische Universität Dresden, Humboldt-Universität, and finally Freie Universität from 1956 to 1960. He was active in East Berlin in the resistance against the Stalinist regime. From 1965 onward, he studied social science and economics at Freie Universität. He became an assistant at the Institute of Sociology, going on to chair the institute in 1968.
When Kreibich was elected the first president of Freie Universität, in 1969, the event was a sensation in the higher education scene. For the first time ever, an assistant was leading a German university.
Kreibich has devoted his time to research on future developments since the end of his presidency, in 1976.