Bernt Engelmann

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Engelmann 1987 (right), together with Hermann Kant

Bernt Engelmann (born January 20, 1921 in Berlin , † April 14, 1994 in Munich ), a great-grandson of Leopold Ullstein , was a German writer and journalist . With over 15 million books printed, he is one of the most successful "factual and investigative authors" in the Federal Republic of Germany.


After attending a grammar school in Düsseldorf , Engelmann was drafted into the Reich Labor Service and then into the Air Force . Apparently due to an injury or wound sustained while on duty, he left the Wehrmacht and began studying in 1942. Engelmann joined a resistance group towards the end of the National Socialist dictatorship , was arrested twice by the Gestapo and imprisoned in the Flossenbürg and Dachau concentration camps in 1944/45 for “favoring the Jews” .

After the Second World War he began studying journalism . During this time he wrote for union newspapers . He then worked as a reporter and editor, initially for Spiegel and later for the NDR magazine Panorama . Even in his Spiegel years, Engelmann was - alongside Gert von Paczensky - one of the few West German journalists who took a positive position on the Algerian War of Independence and did not represent the widespread pro-French position. During this time, an article by Si Mustapha-Müller appeared in Spiegel , in which the latter was able to report on the work of the foreign legionnaires ' repatriation service , which he led , whose task it was to call foreign legionaries to desert in Algeria and to bring them back to their home countries.


Bernt Engelmann (2nd from right)

Prizes and awards

Artists' social security

He campaigned for the social security of freelance journalists and writers . Artists' social insurance goes back to his initiative .

Resignation as chairman of the writers' association

At the end of 1983, 50 writers, including Heinrich Böll , Günter Grass , Sarah Kirsch and Siegfried Lenz, called for his resignation as VS chairman. The occasion was a telegram that Engelmann, as chairman of the Association of German Writers and the West German PEN Club, had sent to the Polish General Wojciech Jaruzelski . In it he protested against the dissolution of the Polish Writers' Union and demanded "the immediate approval" of an association "that represents the interests of authors". This demand was later castigated by Günter Grass as the call to “bring an association of Quislingen ” (collaborators) “into being”. Engelmann was also accused of being too compliant with the Polish dictatorship. According to Hubertus Knabe , the core sentence was: "Bernt Engelmann has no mandate from us, as chairman of the VS, to issue grades and bans on thinking."

Because of his contacts as VS-functionary to Writers' Union of the GDR , he was such. T. controversial.

"Rats and Blowflies"

The Democratic Initiative press committee represented by Engelmann in 1978 referred in a brochure to the fact, later admitted by Strauss himself, that Franz Josef Strauss had been an "officer for defensive leadership" during the Third Reich. Engelmann intends to provoke Strauss to a trial. However, Strauss reacted by stating that he was not conducting any litigation “against rats and blowflies”. This statement led to political controversy , particularly before the 1980 federal election . Edmund Stoiber repeated the comparison in 1980 as directed exclusively against Engelmann and his "defamation and denunciation campaigns against the CSU and its chairman, which have been carried out for decades". Gert Heidenreich wrote a documentary in 1981 under the title The Unloved Poets. The rat-and-blowfly affair , to which Engelmann contributed the epilogue.

Connection to the GDR

In the early 1990s he was criticized for having used material for his books that had been leaked to him from the GDR by the Ministry of State Security . In the discussion, the origin of the material was criticized and in some cases its accuracy was questioned. Dirk Banse and Michael Behrendt claimed on June 19, 2004 in Die Welt on the basis of a statistics sheet from the Rosenholz files and according to Günter Bohnsack that he had been listed as IM "Albers" at the Ministry for State Security since 1982 .


Engelmann wrote a total of around 50 books with a total circulation of over 15 million copies worldwide.

Together with Paczensky, Engelmann published the magazine Deutsches Panorama from 1966 to 1967 . As early as 1962 he worked as a freelance writer and wrote mainly non-fiction books. In his “anti-history books” he used a picture of history “from below”; his story (s) did not focus on the rulers, but on the ruled.

Large Federal Cross of Merit, 1974

Engelmann also wrote two novels with a real background: In Großes Bundesverdienstkreuz he dealt with the economic rise of the industrialist Fritz Ries and his influence on high-ranking politicians.

Hotel Bilderberg, 1977

In his book Hotel Bilderberg he described the emergence of the western post-war elites using the example of the Bilderberg Conference , organized by Bernhard zur Lippe-Biesterfeld (the "Prince of the Netherlands").


Engelmann last lived in Rottach-Egern . He is buried there too.

Works (selection)

  • 1963 My friends, the millionaires. A contribution to the sociology of the affluent society based on my own experiences . Schneekluth, Darmstadt
  • 1964 My friends, the arms dealers: Small wars, big deals . Bastei Lübbe, Bergisch Gladbach
  • 1965 Germany report . bookplate
  • 1965 The own nest - a panorama of the German present . Schneekluth Publishing House
  • 1966 My friends the managers. A contribution to the explanation of the German miracle
  • 1967 66 contemporaries. Famous, marveled at, admired
  • 1967 HS 30 infantry fighting vehicle - Starfighter F-104 G, or how to destroy our state . Kurt Desch
  • 1968 Die Macht am Rhein , sequel to Meine Freunde die Millionär
  • 1970 Germany without Jews. A balance sheet
  • 1971 The gilded brides. How ruling houses and financial empires are created
  • 1971 O as above. How to be all O
  • 1972 The empire fell apart, the rich stayed. Germany's money and power elite (with ranking of the 500 great old fortunes). Hoffmann & Campe
  • 1972 My friends, the money giants. The power on the Rhine: The old wealth / The new rich . Schneekluth Publishing House
  • 1972 Black Book: Franz Josef Strauss . Kiepenheuer & Witsch
  • 1973 You up there - we down there (with Günter Wallraff ). Kiepenheuer & Witsch
  • 1973 black cash book. The secret election workers of the CDU / CSU
  • 1974 Big Federal Cross of Merit (factual novel) . Author Edition
  • 1974 We subjects. A German anti-history book . Bertelsmann
  • 1975 Einig gegen Rechts und Freiheit - German Anti-History Book 2nd Part . Bertelsmann
  • 1976 Black Book: Strauss, Kohl and Co. Kiepenheuer & Witsch
  • 1977 Hotel Bilderberg. A factual novel . Author Edition
  • 1977 Despite all that. German radicals 1777–1977 . Bertelsmann
  • 1978 Ed .: VS confidential. IV. Writers' Congress Dortmund and the consequences . Gold man
  • 1978 Despite all that. Hearing of friendship . Bertelsmann
  • 1979 Prussia: land of unlimited possibilities . Goldmann, ISBN 3-442-11300-8
  • 1979 Entrance for gentlemen only. Careers down the back stairs . Gold man
  • 1980 The new black book Franz Josef Strauss. TB Kiepenheuer, ISBN 3-462-01390-4
  • 1980 How we became what we are. From unconditional surrender to unconditional rearmament . Bertelsmann; 1982, TB Goldmann, ISBN 3-442-06388-4
  • 1980 The other Federal Republic. History and Perspectives . Edited by Karl Rupp, Guttandin & Hoppe, ISBN 3-922140-08-4
  • 1980 The ladder. Factual novel . Author Edition; 1982, TB rororo, ISBN 3-499-14882-X
  • 1981 We're who again. On the way to the economic wonderland. Bertelsmann, ISBN 3-570-00158-X
  • 1981 What has been fermenting for a long time finally becomes anger. The Hansen case . Konkret Literatur Verlag, ISBN 3-922144-15-2
  • 1982 Marching in step. How we experienced the Nazi era . Kiepenheuer & Witsch; 1984, TB Goldmann, ISBN 3-442-06727-8 . In English as:
In Hitler's Germany . Pantheon New York 1987.


Web links

Commons : Bernt Engelmann  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ NDR: Revelations in post-war Germany. Retrieved May 3, 2020 .
  2. Claus Leggewie: porter. The Algeria Project of the Left in Adenauer-Germany , Rotbuch Verlag, Berlin 1984, ISBN 3-88022-286-X , p. 17
  3. Algeria. If you desert, you have to call Alemani - The escape from the Foreign Legion. In: Der Spiegel 36/1959 of September 2, 1959
  4. Peter Schütt: Stupid and in good faith . In: Der Spiegel . No. 7 , 1992, pp. 179-186 ( online ).
  5. a b Ado about nothing . In: Der Spiegel . No. 48 , 1983, pp. 231 ( online ).
  6. Hubertus Knabe : The discreet charm of the GDR. Stasi and western media . Propylaeen Verlag, Berlin / Munich 2001. p. 317.
  7. "I can hand out ice cold". In: The time . February 29, 1980, pp. 14/17 , accessed on May 3, 2020 .
  8. The German word . In: Der Spiegel . No. 9 , 1980, pp. 29-33 ( online ).
  9. Franz Josef Strauss: "Rats and Blowflies". Retrieved May 3, 2020 .
  10. "I can hand out ice cold" . Nina Grunenberg , Theo Sommer and Diether Stolze in conversation with Franz Josef Strauss . In: Die Zeit , No. 10/1980.
  11. ^ Helmut Peitsch: Post-war literature 1945–1989 . V&R unipress, Göttingen 2009, ISBN 978-3-89971-730-3 , p. 290.
  12. Gert Heidenreich : The unloved poets. The rat and blowfly affair . Edited in collaboration with the Association of German Writers (VS) and the Democratic Initiative Press Committee (PDI). With an afterword by Bernt Engelmann. Eichborn, Frankfurt am Main 1981, ISBN 3-8218-1003-3 .
  13. Worst screamers . In: Der Spiegel . No. 7 , 1992, pp. 178-179 ( online ).
  14. Der SPIEGEL reported… In: Der Spiegel . No. 7 , 1994, pp. 210 ( online ).
  15. Dirk Banse, Michael Behrendt: Stasi led Bernt Engelmann as IM "Albers" . Die Welt, June 19, 2004.
    Otto Köhler: News from rosewood - old things from the swastika . Friday , July 23, 2004; Jochen Schröder:The SPD cannot ignore this either . merkur-online , February 18, 2005, accessed December 24, 2013.