Gaby Weber
RSS Feed

The stolen Kohl records - how history is manipulated (Sept. 2023)

        In the U.S., the FBI confiscated several boxes of classified documents that the former president had taken with him when he left the White House. It had been the National Archives that had requested assistance from the Justice Department. The archivists had been in Florida a few weeks earlier, and had taken a few papers from Trump, but just not all the top secret papers that the archives had assumed were there. Law was enforced that also applies to the powerful - even to the president-in-office. Investigators also searched the residence of Joe Biden. In Germany, the scandal was reported for weeks. However, the German journalists avoided the obvious question, namely where the documents of the German chancellors ended up? In the Federal Archives in Koblenz, where they belong by law? No, in Germany, the politicians are allowed to steal records and nothing happens. And the judges, who should be enforcing the legal system, give their blessing.

Helmut Kohl had left the chancellor's office in 1998. But instead of leaving his documents to his successor or handing them over to the Federal Archives, he packed them in big boxes and sent them to the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Sankt Augustin. It is close to his conservative Christian Democratic Party. From there, they were later sent to his home in Oggersheim, where his biographer was allowed to use them. And to this day, they are jealously guarded by his widow, Maike. I have filed a criminal complaint against the widow and sued the chancellor's office for the recovery of these stolen files. Without success. "These files belong to the people”, says my attorney, “but one has the impression that they can do with them what they want. That they can hide them, that they can take them home with them after the end of their service”.

The Federal Archive grumbles from time to time, but it reports to the Minister of State for Culture – Claudia Roth from the Green Party - who reports to the Chancellor's Office. So the circle closes. And in the end, it's the citizens who gets the short end of the stick.

During my research in South America, I came across Kohl’s connections in a corruption case at the Chilean copper company Codelco. And I am interested in his role in the privatization of the Leuna refinery after reunification of Germany. The French company Elf Aquitaine wanted to buy the chemical complex near Leipzig and paid millions to an offshore company. Part of this is said to have flowed into the CDU's coffers. The French courts convicted the managers of ELF Aquitaine, now Total, and the German accomplices. The German justice system, however claims to have found no evidence of the bribe payments to Kohl´s Christian Democratic Party. And finally, there is the 1999 donations scandal. Kohl had promised anonymity to his donors, again illegally. But in exchange for the payment of a fine, the case was dropped. It would have been helpful for the prosecutors to have a look at the minutes of the talks between Kohl and French president François Mitterand. Where these were located was no secret. Quote from a press release of the Adenauer Foundation. "In 1998, former Chancellor left documents to the archives of the Adenauer Foundation for safekeeping. Since 2010, these have been located by mutual agreement at the home of former Chancellor Dr. Helmut Kohl, where they are available for personal use."  link