Gauland affair

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The Gauland affair was a political affair in the state of Hesse , which was triggered by a controversial transfer decision by the then CDU state secretary and later AfD party and parliamentary group chairman Alexander Gauland . The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung followed the affair in detail from 1988 to 1992. The writer Martin Walser later processed the events in his key novel Finks Krieg (1996) , published by Suhrkamp Verlag .


From a historical point of view, Alexander Gauland is at the center of the affair. Martin Walser speaks of the Gauland affair . Depending on the perspective and focus of reporting, however, other versions being employed: The journalism speaks alternatively from the case Gauland , sometimes is the case Wirtz , the case Gauland / Wirtz or from the affair Egerter-Gauland reported.

Course of the affair

Transfer of Wirtz

In early 1989, was the head of the Hesse State , Secretary of State Alexander Gauland (then CDU , today AFD ), the Executive Councilor Rudolf Wirtz ( SPD ), longtime head of the joint between state government and churches, against his will added . Gauland justified his decision by saying that church representatives did not agree with Wirtz's administration.

Legal consideration

Administrative processes through two entities

On the other hand, Wirtz brought an urgent action before the Wiesbaden Administrative Court . Initially, there was a rival lawsuit against the replacement of the position that had been converted into a department head position (from salary order B3 to B6) without having made a selection. Subsequently, Wirtz successfully fought against the change in organizational form. The judges stated that "party political merits [...] should not play a role in the creation of posts".

The Hessian Administrative Court in Kassel decided in the second instance in favor of Gauland and the Hessian state government . Gauland affirmed several times in lieu of oath that "representatives of the churches and religious communities [...] had expressed reservations about personality and behavior" from Wirtz. However, he did not name any names, as the announcement would “harm the welfare of the country”. Specifically, the State Chancellery refused to allow Wirtz's legal advisor to inspect the files with reference to Section 99 I VwGO .

Criminal investigation against Gauland

After the administrative procedure , Wirtz reported State Secretary Gauland "on suspicion of submitting a false affidavit ". Several months of criminal investigations by the Wiesbaden public prosecutor's office led to the closure of the case in 1992 . At that time, Wirtz reached an agreement with the new state government . A review by the Public Prosecutor's Office at the instigation of the Hessian Minister of Justice , Christine Hohmann-Dennhardt (SPD), did not provide any new information either.

A correspondence from the 5th Chamber of the Hessian Administrative Court from 2000 shows: "In retrospect it turned out that this information [the affirmation on oath instead of Alexander Gauland] was incorrect."

Political argument

People Egerter

In the summer of 1990, the opposition, led by Ernst Welteke (SPD) and Joschka Fischer ( Greens ) , demanded Gauland's dismissal in the Hessian state parliament . This was rejected by the Wallmann state government . One sensed a "character assassination campaign ".

The personalities of Wolfgang Egerter , a researcher in the CDU parliamentary group and since 1987 the Federal Cross of Merit (presented by Prime Minister Wallmann), who was to become the church coordinator in place of Wirtz , were also controversial . The opposition saw this as a “black felt”, and church representatives also did not comply with the events. In particular, Egerter's extremely right-wing past in the form of membership and his functions in the ethnic Sudeten-German Witikobund were controversial in the media, politics and religious communities. Fischer said that Egerter was "a brownish shimmering CDU speci". Ignatz Bubis , chairman of the Jewish community in Frankfurt am Main and member of the board of directors of the Central Council of Jews in Germany , prevented - as the weekly newspaper Die Zeit put it - Egerter as coordinator in Hesse. He eventually became State Secretary in Thuringia under Prime Minister Bernhard Vogel (CDU).


After the state elections in Hesse in 1991 , Wirtz was rehabilitated by the new state chancellery head Hans Joachim Suchan (SPD) and reappointed his old office in 1992. The state of Hesse took over the legal costs , it was agreed not to disclose and compensation was negotiated. Joschka Fischer, Deputy Prime Minister, Environment Minister and State Minister for Federal Affairs, apologized in 1994 and the CDU withdrew its allegations against Wirtz at the time.

This was followed by a request from the CDU and a report from the FDP parliamentary group. A petition committee set up by the Hessian state parliament under the direction of Christoph Greiff (CDU) publicly stated in 1995 that Wirtz had been unjustly dismissed.

Role of the churches

Relationship with Wirtz

It was unclear to what extent the then Limburg bishop Franz Kamphaus had not found a reliable partner in Wirtz with regard to his rejection of the theology course at the University of Frankfurt am Main . Moreover: in a room that the rector of the Jesuit carried Theological University Sankt Georgen in Frankfurt am Main, Father Ludwig Bertsch , critics had said. Dignitaries of the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Limburg kept a low profile for a long time. The investigation initially confirmed that there were reservations about Wirtz from both the Catholic and Protestant sides. However, this only existed with regard to the course, as was later explained to the State Secretary in the Hessian Ministry for Science and Art, Hermann Kleinstück (FDP).

Decision of the Federal Administrative Court

Originally only been at the University of Frankfurt am Main religion teacher in bikonfessionellen Department of Religious Studies trained. Changes led to the involvement of the German Bishops' Conference and to disputes between state and church. The Limburg bishop sued the state of Hesse, which had set up the degree course in "Catholic Theology" via the Hessian Ministry of Science with Hans Krollmann (SPD) at its head by decree . At that time, Wirtz was entrusted with the implementation of the denominational theologian training. After the first instance judgment of the Wiesbaden Administrative Court (1990) and the appeal judgment of the Hessian Administrative Court (1994), the Federal Administrative Court (BVerwG ) decided in 1996 that the course in which full theologians should be trained could not be pursued without the consent of the Catholic Church. The BVerwG thus rejected the revision of the Hessian Science Minister and the Frankfurt University. The reasoning stated that both the freedom of science ( Art. 5 III GG ) on the part of the state and the church's right to self-determination ( Art. 140 GG and Art. 137 III WRV ) on the part of the church should be reconciled.

Criticism of silence

The Siegen theologian Martin Stöhr , President of the International Council of Christians and Jews , criticized the churches in 1992 for their silence in the Gauland case. Stöhr stated: “The Egerter case was a public scandal. Here a politician (Alexander Gauland) tested how far one can bow to the right in recent years without encountering public, that is, also church, resistance. One can go far, too far, as can be seen with horror today. "

The umbrella organization of free ideological communities stated: “The Limburg Catholic Bishop Prof. Dr. In the Gauland case, Kamphaus silently accepted, against his better judgment, that the Hessian State Chancellery had a hitherto respected official denigrated in public [...] under the pressure of a request from the petition committee of the Hessian state parliament, the bishop had to publicly deny these days. "

Literary processing

Wirtz later sent his collected documents to the writer Martin Walser, who took the affair as the basis for Finks' war , the novel of the keys . He worked on it for several years until it was published by Suhrkamp Verlag in 1996.

Archiving the case

Various files were sent to the Humboldt University in Berlin and the University of Frankfurt am Main .

Documentation on the Egerter-Gauland affair in the form of court files is now in the estate of the state church lawyer Erwin Fischer at the Institute for Contemporary History Munich (IfZ).


  • Martin Walser: Fink's war . In: Norbert Bachleitner : A short history of the German feuilleton novel (= fool study books ). Narr, Tübingen 1999, ISBN 3-8233-4972-4 , p. 173 ff.
  • Günter Mick : The "case" Gauland . In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , April 7, 1992, p. 42.
  • Martin Stöhr : How juridification can hinder law and truth. The Gauland case, which is also a “Kirchen” case . In: Junge Kirche Bremen , Vol. 53, 1992, No. 12, p. 694 ff.
  • Hajo Steinert : Martin Walser . In: Deutsche Literatur 1996. Annual review . Reclam, Stuttgart 1997, p. 246 ff.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Claudia Wagner: Martin Walser. Tabular curriculum vitae in the LeMO ( DHM and HdG )
  2. ^ The 1998 Prize Winner , Peace Prize of the German Book Trade , accessed on January 24, 2015.
  3. a b Martin Stöhr : How legalization can hinder law and truth. The Gauland case, which is also a “Kirchen” case . In: Junge Kirche Bremen , Vol. 53, 1992, No. 12, p. 694 ff.
  4. a b c d Günter Mick : The "case" Gauland . In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , April 7, 1992, p. 42.
  5. a b c Erich Satter : Value consciousness in the mirror of religion and postmodernism. On the development of moral science and the relationship between aesthetics and ethics in the religious and ideological field of tension between modernity and postmodernism . Lenz, Neu-Isenburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-933037-59-6 , p. 316 ff.
  6. Norbert Bachleitner : Brief history of the German feuilleton novel (= fool study books ). Narr, Tübingen 1999, ISBN 3-8233-4972-4 , p. 173 ff.
  7. a b c d Bernd Heptner: Opposition wants Gauland to be released . In: Rhein-Main-Zeitung , June 28, 1990, No. 147, p. 41 f.
  8. a b Inventory Fischer, Erwin , Institute for Contemporary History Munich : Archive - Findmittel online, p. 21.
  9. a b c d e f g h i j k Adolf Kühn : Rudolf Wirtz's war against his employer . In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung , March 3, 1996, No. 9, p. 3.
  10. Heinrich Halbig: The lost honor of Rudolf Wirtz . In: Stuttgarter Zeitung , March 8, 1996.
  11. a b c d Herbert Stelz: Everything went quite unofficially . In: Die Zeit , April 17, 1992, No. 17.
  12. a b Bernd Heptner: Gauland's dismissal rejected . In: Rhein-Main-Zeitung , July 5, 1990, No. 153, p. 37.
  13. a b c d e f Adolf Kühn: Rehabilitation with a five-figure sum . In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , March 2, 1992, No. 52, p. 40.
  14. Verena Auffermann : Thick, nasty soup . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , March 4, 1996, p. 12.
  15. Robert Leicht : The case on which "Finks War" is based . In: Die Zeit , 13/1996, March 22, 1996.
  16. ^ Cathrin Kahlweit: Fink's small war . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , June 26, 1996, p. 3.
  17. a b Heinrich Halbig: A curious official as a "hero" . In: Saarbrücker Zeitung , March 20, 1996.
  18. Bernd Heptner: No charges against Gauland . In: Rhein-Main-Zeitung , June 11, 1992, No. 134, p. 39.
  19. ap / dpa: Hesse violates church law . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , July 19, 1996, p. 5.
  20. Internationale Rundschau der MIZ, reports 2100, in: MIZ 3/94.