Dispute over quotes from former Chancellor: No compensation for Kohl’s widow

Status: 11/29/2021 1:08 p.m.

Confidential conversations with Helmut Kohl were quoted in a book. The former chancellor should therefore receive millions in compensation – but he died. Now the Federal Court of Justice ruled that his widow does not inherit the claim.

The widow of the former Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl (CDU) does not receive any compensation for the dissemination of alleged quotes from Kohl in a controversial book. The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) decided that compensation of one million euros once awarded to the former chancellor would not go to Maike Kohl-Richter. Such a claim is fundamentally not inheritable.

“Claim not inheritable”: Claudia Kornmeier, SWR, on the grounds of the court

tagesschau24 3:30 p.m., 11/29/2021

The Karlsruhe judges confirmed a judgment of the Cologne Higher Regional Court (OLG). It is now final. Only one constitutional complaint is now possible.

Dispute over book by Heribert Schwan

The compensation should pay the author and publisher of the bestseller “Legacy: The Kohl Protocols”, which Kohl’s ghostwriter Heribert Schwan wrote after a falling out without his consent. It contains content from long, trusting conversations that took place at a time when Schwan was still working on Kohl’s memoir.

Because of violated personal rights, the Cologne Regional Court awarded Kohl one million euros in 2017, just a few weeks before his death. Maike Kohl-Richter continued the legal dispute as sole heir.

Quotations are partially permitted

The BGH partially overturned a second decision, which concerns 116 currently forbidden text passages. The judges declared some of the quotations admissible. The OLG has to re-examine other passages.

Both judgments were formally issued as so-called partial judgments. Because the also sued co-author Tilman Jens has died in the meantime, the legal dispute with his heirs is currently interrupted.

(Az. VI ZR 248/18 ua)


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