• Germany's news in English
 

Tatters of Kohl family life return to public spotlight

Published: 01 Mar 2013 08:06 GMT+01:00

Kohl, a giant of European politics who oversaw crucial parts of European Union development as well as German reunification during his 16 years as chancellor, has become increasingly isolated while under the influence of his much younger wife, the two sons claim.

Walter and Peter Kohl were on a major television talk show on Thursday evening, promoting the new version of a book co-written by Peter about their mother Hannelore - released this week to mark what would have been her 80th birthday. She killed herself in 2001 after suffering a severe light allergy for years, which forced her to spend most of her time at home in the dark.

Reconciliation?

Her last instruction to the boys was said to have been for them to make it up with their father, but this seems less likely than ever. On Thursday they took to national television to criticize their mother's successor at the side of their father - Maike Kohl-Richter, Kohl's 49-year-old second wife. Peter Kohl even suggested that before their marriage, she had collected Kohl pictures and memorabilia like a stalker.

Allegations have long been made that she jealously controls and limits access to the 82-year-old former chancellor, who is no longer able to walk or clearly speak after a serious fall in 2008.

Peter had to gather himself when talking about the last time he saw his father - he had visited him with his own daughter in 2011, Der Spiegel reported on Friday. Helmut Kohl had been really pleased to see them, but had then indicated they should leave "Otherwise there will be a huge problem again."

Peter Kohl also spoke to this week's Bunte magazine of a contact ban imposed by Kohl-Richter, who, he said, also controlled who speaks with Kohl, what letters he saw - and added that the two sons had been removed from a police list of approved visitors.

Kohl-Richter had also stopped her husband's contact with his ghost-writer Heribert Schwan, Peter Kohl told the magazine - and this was problematic due to the more than 600 hours of interviews with the former chancellor that Schwan has, and the many confidential files.

"My father cannot, for health reasons, control it all, and Mrs Kohl-Richter has obviously completely lost the overview of where which files and documents are," he told the magazine.

Damage

"For my father this is all unbelievably damaging and reprehensible," Peter said. "I find her responsible for all of this damage. One cannot deal with the intellectual heritage of my father like this."

His book also alleges that Kohl had started an affair with his future second wife back in the 1990s when she worked at his chancellery. Walter Kohl said he had heard this from a close friend of his father in 2005.

"Every conversation [with her] was a hymn of praise about my father," Peter said of of Kohl-Richter during Thursday night's talk show.

He said her pre-marriage flat in Berlin was full of pictures and souvenirs of Helmut Kohl, which had made him think of "a propaganda film about my father."

"I was in some kind of private Helmut Kohl museum. There was Helmut Kohl photography standing or hanging wherever you looked," Peter wrote in his book, according to Die Welt newspaper.

The flat had shown signs of what he called "years of careful collection to serve a hero-worship... as one might know from reports about stalkers."

All this public animosity was designed, both sons insisted, to honour the memory of their mother.

"This evening is, if you like, a demonstration, without flags or banners, for Hannelore Kohl," said Walter.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

11:03 March 2, 2013 by Roberto Gold
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
Today's headlines
Shocked fishermen hook a shell of a catch
Locals enjoy the normally tranquil Seeburger See

Shocked fishermen hook a shell of a catch

A couple of friends who went for a quiet spot of fishing on Lake Seeburg in Lower Saxony on Monday got the fright of their life when they pulled up their net to find an artillery shell inside. READ  

10 facts to celebrate Leipzig's 1,000th birthday
Leipzig's impressive skyline. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

10 facts to celebrate Leipzig's 1,000th birthday

This weekend the city of Leipzig is celebrating its 1,000th anniversary, since it was first mentioned by the chronicler Thietmar of Merseburg in 1015. The Local gives some insight into one of Germany's most vibrant cities. READ  

Police tighten borders ahead of German G7
File photo: DPA

Police tighten borders ahead of German G7

German authorities have reintroduced border controls two weeks before the leaders of the G7 economies gather in Elmau, southern Bavaria. READ  

North Germany feels pain of Russia sanctions
Photo: DPA file photo

North Germany feels pain of Russia sanctions

Schleswig Holstein's exports to Russia have dropped by 31 percent, state finance minister Reinhard Meyer said in comments reported by the Hamburger Abendblatt on Tuesday. READ  

German twins die fighting for Isis in Iraq
The twin brothers are both reported to have died in suicide attacks. Photo: Dabiq magazine

German twins die fighting for Isis in Iraq

German twins from Castrop-Rauxel in North Rhine-Westphalia have died fighting for the Islamist group Isis in Iraq, the militia's official magazine reported in its latest publication. READ  

Toilet theft at interior ministry causes a stink
Photo: DPA

Toilet theft at interior ministry causes a stink

Thieves have stolen toilet seats, taps and loo paper holders from the new interior ministry building in Berlin, making it difficult for mandarins to get comfortable in their new surroundings. READ  

Berlin jumps ahead on new rent control law
Blocks of flats in the Berlin district of Wedding. Photo: DPA

Berlin jumps ahead on new rent control law

Berlin is to be the only state in Germany to introduce rent controls immediately after the law allowing them comes into effect on June 1st. READ  

Ireland vote builds gay marriage momentum
Photo: DPA

Ireland vote builds gay marriage momentum

Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is feeling the pressure from opposition MPs, its own gay supporters and its Social Democratic Party (SPD) allies to look again at allowing gay marriage after Ireland's popular "yes" vote on Friday. READ  

Amazon 'paying local tax on sales in Germany'
Photo: Uli Deck/dpa

Amazon 'paying local tax on sales in Germany'

According to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, online retailer Amazon has started paying tax on profits from its sales to German customers in Germany instead of in Luxembourg READ  

German woman, 65, has quadruplets
Photo: DPA

German woman, 65, has quadruplets

A 65-year-old German woman, who already has 13 children, has given birth to quadruplets after undergoing an artificial insemination procedure in Ukraine. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Travel
Why the train strike is bad for passengers and workers
National
Meet Germany's Eurovision hope
Business & Money
Is 2015 a new moment for jobsharing?
Features
How the LGBT rights movement was born in Germany
National
Why you don't make bomb jokes at the airport
National
Why Germany needs a little less tipple
National
Who Germans and Americans trust... and don't
Politics
What the UK election means for Germany
National
Why Germany is great for mums
Features
The Germans with GI dads
Five ways Germany falls short on gay rights
Travel
Giant tortoise found riding Munich rail
National
FCK CPS? A-OK with court
Politics
Opinion: Brexit's dangers for Germany
Features
Smart kids all want to work for BMW
National
Minister shows off top Denglisch
National
Germany's 'other genocide' in Africa
National
Arms firms get a 'must do better' mark on ethics
Sport
Bayern's anticlimactic 25th Bundesliga win
Politics
A Greek learning politics in Germany
Features
The battle of the "Gates of Berlin"
National
Germany's 'very poor' lobbying record
National
Germany's favourite baby names of 2014
Politics
Merkel's 15 years at the top of German politics
Travel
Lowest of the low: how woman exploited Germanwings crash
Features
Spice up asparagus season with The Local's serving suggestions
Sport
Football and the €30,000 firework
Technology
Why scientists oppose killer robots
National
'Cannibal cop' gets 8 years
National
Which city is Germany's worst for drivers?
Technology
Electrifying 'Ostalgia'
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
10 things you didn’t know about Zagreb (and why you should go)
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

6,641
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd