Christian Wulff

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Christian Wulff

Christian Wilhelm Walter Wulff (born June 19, 1959 in Osnabrück ) is a German lawyer and politician ( CDU ). From 2010 until his resignation in 2012, he was the tenth Federal President of the Federal Republic of Germany . Before that he was Prime Minister of Lower Saxony from 2003 to 2010 .

Due to massive media criticism of his earlier behavior as a result of the so-called Wulff affair, Wulff saw himself prompted to resign as Federal President.

Today Wulff represents Germany as a former Federal President in foreign state acts such as in 2017 at the funeral of the Thai King Bhumibol or in 2019 at the swearing-in of the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Selenskyj . To this day, the receipt of his honorary salary as former Federal President in the amount of € 236,000 remains controversial, which is shown, among other things, in surveys (after his resignation, 84% of those questioned saw the receipt of the honorary salary by Wulff as "wrong").

He is chairman of the board of trustees of the Deutschlandstiftung Integration , president of the German choir association and other organizations in Germany and abroad.

Origin, occupation and marriages

Bettina and Christian Wulff (2010)

Christian Wulff was born as the second child of the lawyer Rudolf Wulff (1913–1998) and his wife Dagmar (1929–1996, née Evers). Wulff's parents separated when he was two years old. He grew up initially in Westerkappeln and after his parents divorced with his mother in Osnabrück. After his stepfather left the family, at the age of 16 Christian Wulff took over the care of his mother, who was now suffering from multiple sclerosis, and helped raise his younger half-sister from his mother's second marriage. Another younger half-sister comes from his father's later new partnership. She died in January 2014 at the age of 52 in a traffic accident. Wulff is Roman Catholic .

After visiting the Elizabeth School and the High School at the Ernst-Moritz-Arndt -Gymnasium in Osnabruck, where he repeated the tenth grade, graduated Wulff studying law with an economic focus at the University of Osnabrück , which he in 1987 with the first legal state exam ended . After completing his legal clerkship with the second state examination in 1990, he worked as a lawyer in a law firm in Osnabrück until 1994 .

In March 2014, Wulff opened a law firm in Hamburg. From 2015 to 2018 his law firm worked for the real estate company Corestate Capital . In the 2016/2017 winter semester, Wulff held the Mercator visiting professorship at the University of Duisburg-Essen and primarily taught the master’s degree in political management. From 2016 to 2018 his law firm worked for the fashion manufacturer Yargici Germany with power of attorney.

In 1988 he married Christiane Wulff, née Vogt (* 1961), whom he met while studying law in Osnabrück and with whom he has a daughter (* 1993). The couple separated in 2006 and divorced in 2008. In 2008 Wulff married the PR consultant Bettina Wulff , née Körner (* 1973), who brought a son (* 2003) from a previous relationship into the marriage. Another son comes from the marriage (* 2008). Bettina Wulff published an autobiography ( Beyond the Protocol ) in September 2012 , which was criticized from many quarters. In the book, the author disclosed private details and accused Christian Wulff of having neglected her feelings as an independent woman. In January 2013, the couple separated and lived together again from May 2015. On October 17th, 2015 it was married in a church. Christian Wulff lived in the Hanover district of Waldhausen before he moved back to Großburgwedel after re-establishing his relationship with his wife. The separation took place again in October 2018.

Political offices

Wulff joined the CDU in 1975. Here he was initially involved in the Schüler Union , in which he was Lower Saxony's state chairman from 1978 to 1979 and federal chairman from 1978 to 1980. Wulff is part of the so-called Andean Pact , a group of Union politicians who came together during a trip to South America. From 1979 to 1983 he was a member of the federal board of the Junge Union . From 1983 to 1985 he was state chairman of the Junge Union Niedersachsen. Since 1984 he has been a member of the state board of the CDU in Lower Saxony , from 1994 to 2008 he was its state chairman. From November 7, 1998 until his election as Federal President, Wulff was one of four deputy federal chairmen of the CDU and from March 21, 2003 a member of the board of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation .

City Council of Osnabrück

From 1986 to 2001 Wulff was councilor of the city of Osnabrück and from 1989 to 1994 alderman and chairman of the CDU council group.

Member of the Lower Saxony state parliament

From 1994 to 2010 he was a directly elected member of the Osnabrück-West constituency of the Lower Saxony State Parliament ( MdL ). From June 1994 to March 2003 Wulff was chairman of the CDU parliamentary group and thus also the opposition leader in the state parliament.

Christian Wulff ran in the state elections in Lower Saxony in 1994 and 1998 as the CDU top candidate for the office of Prime Minister . Because of the historically poor results of 36.4 percent (1994) and 35.9 percent (1998) for the CDU - the lowest in about four decades - he was unable to prevail against the incumbent Gerhard Schröder , who always had an absolute majority reached.

As opposition leader in the Lower Saxony state parliament, Wulff accused the then Prime Minister Gerhard Glogowski in a sponsorship affair of having lost "his independence and thus his political capacity to act", so that the resignation of political office was inevitable. After Glogowski's resignation, Wulff went even further by demanding that his pension, or at least his transitional allowance, be reduced.

In 2000, in connection with the Düsseldorf flight affair, Wulff was one of the sharpest critics of the then incumbent Federal President Johannes Rau and called for his resignation in the Berliner Zeitung in January 2000: "It is tragic that Germany in this difficult time does not have an impartial Federal President who can vote can exalt with authority. In North Rhine-Westphalia it is obviously a matter of entanglement with black travel budgets beyond parliamentary control. This is a burden for the office and for Johannes Rau. "

Wulff's breakthrough in Lower Saxony state politics came with his victory over Prime Minister Sigmar Gabriel in the state elections in Lower Saxony in 2003 . Wulff received 48.3 percent of the vote. CDU and FDP formed a coalition . On March 4, 2003, Wulff was elected Prime Minister of Lower Saxony and headed the Lower Saxony state government , which consists of seven CDU and two FDP ministers .

From October 2006 to October 17, 2007, Christian Wulff was the rotating chairman of the German Prime Minister's Conference .

After the CDU won again in the state elections on January 27, 2008 , the CDU and FDP agreed to continue the coalition under Wulff's leadership. Despite losses, the CDU retained its role as the strongest political force in Lower Saxony with 42.5 percent of the vote. Wulff was re-elected Prime Minister on February 26, 2008.

Politics as Prime Minister of Lower Saxony

Christian Wulff (2005)

In Lower Saxony, Wulff implemented a rigid austerity policy from the start that did not stop at social cuts. Among other things, spending in the university sector has been drastically cut. The Lower Saxony State Center for Political Education (abbreviation: NLpB) was dissolved by a cabinet decision on December 31, 2004. This led to considerable protests, including by the Federal Agency for Civic Education . Wulff also canceled the flat-rate blind allowance payment in 2005 . After fierce criticism from the Association of the Blind and an impending referendum, for which a broad alliance of social associations collected more than 600,000 signatures, Wulff reintroduced the flat-rate payment in 2006 in a reduced amount.

Early in his reign, a school structure reform was carried out, in which the orientation stage (fifth and sixth grade) abolished and a Central High School already after twelve years of schooling was introduced. The freedom to learn aids has also been abolished. Furthermore, more police officers were hired for internal security purposes.

Wulff rejected a district reform in Lower Saxony and instead favored intermunicipal cooperation. Under the leadership of Wulff, the state government in Lower Saxony carried out an administrative reform in which the district government was abolished and a two-tier state administration was introduced.

On April 17, 2010, Wulff announced a cabinet reshuffle that affected four of the seven CDU-led ministries. The new ministers were officially appointed on April 27, 2010 and confirmed by the state parliament. This included Aygül Özkan as the first Muslim minister in a German cabinet and Johanna Wanka as the first East German minister in a West German cabinet.

Wulff advocated an extension of the life of German nuclear power plants and spoke out in favor of a more aggressive approach by the CDU / CSU in the debate on this topic.

Federal President

Federal President Wulff with his wife in front of Bellevue Palace, 2010

After the resignation of Federal President Horst Köhler on May 31, 2010, Wulff was presented on June 3, 2010 as a candidate for the Federal Presidency of the governing coalition of the CDU / CSU and FDP. In the federal presidential election in the 14th Federal Assembly on June 30, 2010 in Berlin , Wulff competed against Joachim Gauck (candidate from the SPD and the Greens ), Luc Jochimsen (candidate from the Left ) and Frank Rennicke (candidate from the NPD ). In the first two ballots, Wulff unexpectedly failed to achieve the required majority, although the black and yellow government coalition had an absolute majority. This was attributed to the fact that delegates from the governing parties wanted to make their criticism of the government's course noticeable and wanted to counteract the extremely poor poll results at the time. After Jochimsen and Rennicke did not run in the third ballot, Christian Wulff prevailed with 625 votes against Joachim Gauck with 494 votes.

Immediately after his election as Federal President, Wulff resigned from his post as Minister President of Lower Saxony. On July 1, 2010, the Lower Saxony state parliament elected David McAllister as his successor .

Since the office of Federal President was vacant at the time of the election , Wulff took up his new office immediately upon acceptance of the election. At the age of 51, Wulff was the youngest in this office and Bettina Wulff, his second wife, was the youngest wife of a Federal President. In the opinion of many observers, she and her husband symbolized a modern and glamorous Germany. After seven Protestant predecessors, Wulff was the first Catholic Federal President since Heinrich Lübke . He is the first Federal President to be born in the Federal Republic of Germany after it was founded.

With his election as Federal President, membership in his party rests at his request - as with all predecessors in office.

Positioning on Muslims in Germany

When he was sworn in as Federal President on July 2, 2010, Wulff spoke of the need to approach other cultures in “our colorful Republic of Germany”.

One month after the publication of Thilo Sarrazin's book Germany gets rid of itself , Wulff took up the resulting debate on the integration of Muslims in Germany in his speech in Bremen on the 20th anniversary of German unity on October 3, 2010:

“But first of all we need a clear stance. An understanding of Germany that does not narrow down membership to a passport, family history or belief, but is broader. There is no doubt that Christianity belongs to Germany. There is no doubt that Judaism belongs to Germany. This is our Christian-Jewish story. But Islam now also belongs to Germany. "

When he was the first German head of state to address the National Assembly of Turkey on October 19, 2010 , he said:

“I encourage everyone in my home country to contribute responsibly. As the President of all of you, I demand that every immigrant actively integrates himself into our German society with good will. "

He went on to say that “Islamic religion teachers trained in Germany and German-speaking imams contribute to successful integration” (see also religious instruction in Germany # Islam ).

At the Evangelical Church Congress in June 2011 , he affirmed the sentence that Islam belongs to Germany. He said this to get Muslims out of the "social corner".

Christian Wulff was one of the first politicians to apologize for false investigations regarding the National Socialist underground .

Positioning on the euro crisis

In several speeches in 2011, Wulff massively criticized the activities of top politicians, the European Central Bank and the media in view of the euro crisis .

One of his positions was that the burden of the crisis must now be distributed fairly. Wulff considered the massive purchase of bonds from individual countries by the ECB to be "legally questionable". Article 123 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union prohibits the ECB from directly purchasing debt instruments in order to ensure the independence of the central bank:

"This ban only makes sense if those responsible do not circumvent it through extensive purchases on the secondary market."

“Anyone who tries to mitigate the consequences of burst speculative bubbles with money and guarantees alone is shifting the burden to the younger generation and making the future more difficult for them. All those who propagate this act according to the motto: After me the flood. "

The Federal President also turned indirectly against EU bonds (“Euro Bonds”) through his questions: “With whom would you personally take out a joint loan?” “For whom would you personally vouch?” For your partner or your own children this is common, but even with one's own relatives it becomes more difficult. “I had already warned the financial sector at the Deutsche Bankentag. We have neither eliminated the causes of the crisis, nor can we say today: danger recognized - danger averted. We actually continue to see a development that is reminiscent of a domino game: First, individual banks rescued other banks, then states have primarily saved their banks, and now the community of states is saving individual states. The question is not unreasonable: But who will ultimately save the rescuers? When are accumulated deficits distributed to whom or by whom? "

Regarding the question of a state bankruptcy: "Even the surety can behave immorally if he only postpones the bankruptcy." It was "a big misunderstanding to measure solidarity solely on the willingness to support others financially".

Criticism of the dismantling of democracy

In an interview in June 2011, Wulff criticized the speed and manner of political decision-making in connection with the euro crisis and the ESM , which often bypasses parliament. "There the big debates do not take place with an open outcome, but something is agreed between a few and pre-decided by commissions alongside parliament." Instead, politics clings too closely to the interests of the banks and the mood in the media. "You mustn't feel dependent and let yourself be led through the arena on the nose ring, by banks, rating agencies or erratic media."

State visits

Federal President Wulff during a visit to soldiers of the 1st US Cavalry Division at Camp Marmal in Afghanistan on October 17, 2011
year Day month States
2010 July 13th PolandPoland Poland
2010 8th-9th September SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland
2010 11-15 October RussiaRussia Russia
2010 18.-22. October TurkeyTurkey Turkey
2010 27.-30. November IsraelIsrael Israel and Palestine
Palastina autonomous areasPalestine 
2011 April 30–3. May MexicoMexico Mexico
2011 3rd to 4th May Costa RicaCosta Rica Costa Rica
2011 4th-7th May BrazilBrazil Brazil
2011 16.-17. October AfghanistanAfghanistan Afghanistan
2011 28-30 November BangladeshBangladesh Bangladesh
2011 November 30–2. December IndiaIndia India
2011 11-12 December United Arab EmiratesUnited Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates
2012 13-15 February ItalyItaly Italy


After 598 days, Wulff resigned from the office of Federal President on February 17, 2012. He justified his step on the grounds that he had lost confidence. The day before, the Hanover public prosecutor's office had applied for the waiver of his immunity on suspicion of accepting benefits in order to be able to start investigations. The reason for the investigation were media reports in the context of the Wulff affair , including the question of whether filmmaker David Groenewold had taken over Wulff's hotel costs for a weekend on Sylt in 2007. In this context, the Bild newspaper reported on February 8th of alleged attempts at cover-up by Groenewold, which is considered the initial spark for the application for the waiver of the immunity of the head of state and for the initiation of the investigation on February 16. Prosecutor General Frank Lüttig reported in an interview that the time for an investigation had come “at the moment” “when it was read in the press that David Groenewold was trying to create evidence from the world”. In the opinion of lawyer Ulrich Sauer, however, the public prosecutor's office should not have relied on the Bild newspaper report . Because on February 14, the Cologne Regional Court had issued an injunction in which it forbade the newspaper from spreading further that Groenewold had asked the Sylt hotel to hand over bills and receipts, and that "apparently another luxury vacation was being covered up" should.

Discussion about honorary pay

After the resignation, it was publicly discussed whether Wulff was entitled to the retirement pension (" honorary salary ") due to the former Federal President . At the beginning of March 2012, the responsible Federal President's Office announced that he would receive the honorary salary. Christian Wulff currently (as of 2017) receives an annual gross salary of € 236,000.

Big tattoo

On March 8, 2012 Christian Wulff was bid farewell with a big tattoo of the Bundeswehr in Berlin. As a guest u. a. the German Chancellor and some members of the Federal Government took part. On the other hand, four Bundestag Vice-Presidents said that the four other Federal Presidents still alive said a. D. - Horst Köhler , Roman Herzog , Richard von Weizsäcker and Walter Scheel - as well as the President and Vice-President of the Federal Constitutional Court.

Acting as Federal President a. D.

As a former Federal President, Wulff is a regular representative of Germany on behalf of the Federal Chancellor or the incumbent Federal President.

Wulff represented Germany at the following state acts and ceremonies (selection):

  • January 2015: Memorial service for the funeral of King Abdullah (Saudi Arabia, Riyadh).
  • December 2015: Inauguration of the Argentine President Mauricio Macri (Argentina, Buenos Aires).
  • November 2016: Investment conference in Tunisia “Tunisia 2020” (Tunisia, Tunis).
  • February 2017: Opening of the art exhibitions as part of the German-Qatar Year of Culture (Qatar, Doha).
  • October 2017: Memorial service for the funeral of King Bhumibol (Thailand, Bangkok).
  • November 2017: German-Japanese Forum (Tokyo, Japan).
  • May 2018: Visit to Hefei University (Hefei, China).
  • May 2019: Inauguration of the Ukrainian President Zelenskyi (Ukraine, Kiev).
  • November 2019: Honor of the former President of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the peaceful revolution in the GDR (Moscow, Russia).
  • January 2020: Condolence visit to the late Sultan Qaboos bin Said Bin Taimour and inaugural visit to the new Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said (Oman).

Social offices

Wulff is Honorary Senator of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts .

Christian Wulff in 2014

Wulff is one of the patrons of the “ Schüler Helfen Leben” initiative , the German Multiple Sclerosis Society and the “ Mutmacher der Nation ” initiative . He is also the patron of Deutsche Welthungerhilfe , the foundation " A Chance for Children ", which aims to improve the living conditions of socially disadvantaged women and children, the KidCourage Prize , the committed children and young people of the district and the city of Osnabrück for special social behavior in public honors, the Lower Saxony Sports Foundation, which promotes activities for the benefit of grassroots, competitive, disabled and young sport in Lower Saxony, and the Lower Saxony food banks , which distribute food to the needy, and the German Life-Saving Society (DLRG). He is also active as a leading figure in the Atlantik-Brücke association , which is committed to strengthening Germany's relations with the USA.

As Minister-President of Lower Saxony, Wulff was also a member of the Volkswagen AG Supervisory Board .

Christian Wulff was elected President of the Euro-Mediterranean-Arab Länderverein (EMA) on August 29, 2014 in Hamburg . The aim of this association is closer economic cooperation with the countries of the Mediterranean and Middle East regions. In this organization, Wulff advocates the dialogue between cultures. The EMA also deals with immigration and the integration of immigrants.

Since the beginning of 2014, he has also been a mentor at the Deutschlandstiftung Integration. He has been Chairman of the Board of Trustees since 2017. In 2018 he was elected President of the German Choir Association.

Wulff is a member of the Board of Trustees of the DFL Foundation .


In the summer of 1995 the World Economic Forum in Davos voted Wulff one of the “100 Global Leaders for Tomorrow”.

In November 2003, Wulff received the German Mittelstand Prize from the Düsseldorf publishing group markt intern “for his outstanding and convincing commitment and his clear positions for the benefit of the Mittelstand”.

In October 2006, the Confederation of Self-Employed and the “Federal Association of Medium-Sized Entrepreneurs” awarded him (together with Hugo Müller-Vogg ) the German Medium -Sized Enterprises Prize “ because of his economic policy, which is predominantly oriented towards medium-sized companies and his advocacy of the teaching of Christian, conservative values ​​to children and young people ”.

On behalf of the government of Lower Saxony, Wulff was awarded the negative Big Brother Award in the category "Authorities and Administration" for the dissolution of data protection supervision in Lower Saxony in 2005 .

In 2006, Wulff was named Tie Man of the Year by the German Tie Institute based in Krefeld . In 2007, Tongji University in Shanghai awarded him an honorary doctorate . On April 15, 2011 he was awarded the Leo Baeck Prize of the Central Council of Jews in Germany and in October of the same year the Japanese University of Tsukuba awarded him an honorary doctorate.

In March 2014, Wulff was presented with the insignia of honorary citizenship of the Turkish city of Tarsus . Tarsus is the birthplace of the apostle Paul and twin town of the Hessian town of Langen .

"Wulff Affair"


The Wulff affair began in December 2011, with indirect forerunners in the months before, and led to Wulff's resignation as Federal President on February 17, 2012. It was initially about the allegation of an inquiry in the Lower Saxony state parliament that was related to the loan financing of his home to have answered incorrectly (so-called credit affair). Then Wulff was accused of trying to prevent reporting on it (so-called media affair). As a result, new allegations were raised again and again because of earlier behavior from Wulff's time as Prime Minister. The Hanover public prosecutor's office finally started investigations into suspicion of taking advantage of a holiday trip to Sylt, which David Groenewold is said to have paid for, and requested that Wulff's immunity as Federal President be lifted. Wulff then resigned.

Some legal scholars saw in Wulff's behavior violations of the Basic Law and the Lower Saxony Ministerial Law , in particular in the acceptance of the cheaper private loan, and partly assumed that the allegations were criminally relevant; others saw no legal violations and raised the question of proportionality . Wulff himself was of the opinion that he had not committed any legal violations, which was confirmed by the investigations of the public prosecutor's offices and in the court proceedings. In August 2013, charges against Wulff and Groenewold for accepting or granting benefits were admitted by a court in Hanover.


At the end of 2011, accusations were raised in the press that Wulff had incorrectly answered an inquiry in the Lower Saxony state parliament in 2010. The question was about business relationships with entrepreneur Egon Geerkens . Wulff had denied business relationships. However, the Bild newspaper found that Wulff had received a loan of 500,000 euros from the entrepreneur's wife for the purchase of a house in Großburgwedel in 2008. Geerkens later told the news magazine Spiegel that he had negotiated the loan and had been involved in its processing.

When Wulff found out about the planned reporting by the Bild , he called several leading personalities at Axel Springer Verlag and threatened, among other things, with a criminal complaint. The Bild newspaper saw a mailbox message from Wulff to Kai Diekmann as an attempt to stop the reporting. According to his own statements, however, Wulff only wanted to delay the reporting. On February 25, 2014, the Bild newspaper published a copy of the mailbox message.

The majority of the media saw this call as an "attack on freedom of the press" and presented the BILD newspaper as a beacon of investigative journalism. A case study by the Otto Brenner Foundation (OBS) has been published under the title “BILD and Wulff - pretty best partners”. The media scientist Hans-Jürgen Arlt and the publicist Wolfgang Storz have evaluated the last five years of BILD reporting on Christian Wulff. The study shows the dubious role that BILD played in the Wulff affair and how it used Wulff's call in a manipulative manner.

The reports of these events sparked a series of further research. It was criticized that Wulff had repeatedly accepted holiday invitations from managers and entrepreneurs. Wulff stated that the friendly invitations from his point of view had no relation to his administration. Another allegation related to the financing of the private business meeting “North-South Dialogue”, since the Wulff government's response to a request from the state parliament in this regard was incorrect. The organizer of this meeting, the event manager Manfred Schmidt , had also financed Wulff's celebration after his election as Federal President. It was also announced that Geerken's client was the law firm where Wulff worked until 2011, initially as an employed lawyer and finally as a freelancer. This relationship is partly viewed as a “business relationship” in the sense of the state parliament's request from 2010. Finally, at the beginning of February 2012 it became known that the film producer David Groenewold had paid several travel bills for Wulff; Wulff explained that he always reimbursed the costs in cash afterwards.

Above all, the Hanover public prosecutor's office took this last accusation as an opportunity to investigate Wulff for accepting benefits. Acceptance of benefits is a criminal offense under German criminal law. According to Section 331 of the Criminal Code, it exists when a public official or a person obliged to serve in the public service demands, allows or accepts an advantage for himself or for a third party for the performance of his duties. The media reported that “criminal investigations” were launched against Wulff.

Public prosecutors are bound by instructions; her supervisor was Bernd Busemann (CDU, until the state elections in early 2013). Even before that, several politicians, journalists and (legal) scientists publicly demanded Wulff's resignation. According to Infratest dimap , a majority of the population has been pleading for resignation since mid-January 2012.

In the corruption process against Wulff's former press spokesman Olaf Glaeseker , Wulff had testified that he was only vaguely informed about his trips to the French and Spanish vacation homes of the event manager Manfred Schmidt. Glaeseker was not available for him during his vacation. Glaeseker contradicted Wulff in mid-November 2012 as part of the process and referred to his wife's travel diary with several entries on telephone, SMS or fax contacts between Wulff and Glaeseker.

In February 2013 the journalist Michael Götschenberg published a book with background information on Wulff's rise and fall. He discussed the role of individual media in the affair and went a. a. the question of how the break between Wulff and Bild-Zeitung came about after Wulff was a Bild darling for years. He criticized that the media had deliberately scandalized processes , for example to increase circulation, or in the Wulff case scandalized.

In retrospect, a number of observers took the view that the investigations had been overdone. Heribert Prantl from the Süddeutsche Zeitung , formerly a public prosecutor himself, described the criminal proceedings as “a model of disproportionality”. The public prosecutor's office in Hanover is primarily to blame for this, because they did not have the sovereignty to discontinue the proceedings after excessive investigations without ifs and buts. And after the indictment and the hearing, she did not have the guts to apply for the acquittal for Wulff herself. "That would have been a good, conciliatory, constitutional gesture."

The Bonn attorney and constitutional lawyer Gernot Fritz, who was deputy head of the office of the Federal President until 1999, filed a criminal complaint in June 2014 on suspicion of perversion of the law and violation of private secrets by public officials. The duration and intensity of the investigative activity as well as the number of witnesses interrogations, searches and measures restricting fundamental rights had raised the suspicion that the law enforcement authorities were not limited to the necessary clarification of the facts, but rather pursued the goal of avoiding the legally required suspension of the investigative proceedings by constantly renewing them , to corroborate the allegation, traces that were not obvious, but nevertheless clearly reputational, were followed. This violated the principle of proportionality . In addition, incriminating investigation results and allegations have repeatedly reached the media.

Criminal trial and acquittal for accepting benefits

On April 9, 2013 Wulff declined the offer of the public prosecutor to initiate proceedings under § 153a Code of Criminal Procedure against the rest of the payment of 20,000 euros set .

On April 12, 2013, the Hanover public prosecutor's office then brought charges of bribery to the Hanover regional court . For a year, 24 public prosecutors and investigators had worked on the case and initially investigated Wulff and Groenewold only on suspicion of taking and granting an advantage . At the beginning it was about two vacation trips to Sylt and a visit to the Oktoberfest in 2008.

Several commentators expressed the opinion of the investigation that the results of the public prosecutor's office were in no relation to the enormous effort, the enormous costs and the possible offense. Some commentators see the disproportionately harsh treatment of Wulff by the prosecutors as a scandal. It was also criticized, u. a. von Zeit editor-in-chief Giovanni di Lorenzo that almost every detail of the investigation leaked to the public (see privacy , presumption of innocence ). Heribert Prantl from the Süddeutsche Zeitung criticized the fact that the investigation excess was followed by an excess of scandal .

On August 27, 2013, the Hanover Regional Court decided on the admission of the indictment. Accordingly, the main proceedings for the visit to the Oktoberfest 2008 should begin on November 1, 2013 in Hanover. In its opening order (which is exceptionally long with 14 pages), the court speaks of a "borderline case".

The opening order differs from the indictment: The prosecution's indictment of “bribery and corruption” was reduced to the accusation of granting and taking advantage, according to the original investigation.

The acceptance of benefits is a lesser offense in terms of validity and punishment, but this may have disadvantages for the accused: In the case of bribery, the court would have had to prove a specific injustice agreement (which the investigators did not succeed in sufficiently in the eyes of the court). In the case of the accusation of accepting an advantage, the assessment of criminal liability concerns the entire environment and the personality of the accused, which is explained by the large number of witnesses. The protective purpose of Section 331 of the Criminal Code is the trust of citizens that public officials (or someone who is obliged to serve in the public service) cannot be bought.

After the acquittal , Federal President a. D. Christian Wulff, here before the Hanover Regional Court with his defense lawyers Bernd Müssig (left) and Michael Nagel , is relieved that "... the law has prevailed."

The Second Large Criminal Chamber had initially scheduled 22 trial days until April 2014 for the proceedings and summoned 45 witnesses, including bodyguards, hotel staff and former employees of the Lower Saxony State Chancellery, other witnesses and Bettina Wulff. On November 14, 2013, the main hearing against Wulff and Groenewold began at the Hanover Regional Court . Wulff made a personal statement that lasted about 50 minutes. Groenewold said in his statement, among other things, that he was uncomfortable that the hotel costs were higher than he, who had booked the weekend with his own assumption of costs, had informed Wulff in advance. Therefore, he assumed part of the additional costs. According to the hotel, the acceptance of part of the invoice amount was not evident from the invoice. With a quick glance at his bill, Wulff noticed that the expenses for the babysitter were missing and, after asking, heard that Groenewold had taken care of it; he immediately reimbursed him in cash.

On February 27, 2014, Wulff was acquitted; the court also awarded him compensation for the searches he had suffered. Groenewold was also acquitted, but cautioned because of a false affidavit . The public prosecutor's office appealed against the judgment on March 5, 2014, but withdrew it on June 13, 2014, making the acquittal final .


Pogrom comparison

Christian Wulff (3rd from left) in the
synagogue of Speyer in 2011

In November 2008, Wulff defended high manager salaries in the N24 talk show Studio Friedman with the words "I think that if someone secures ten thousand jobs and pays millions in taxes, one shouldn't spread a pogrom mood against him ". Even when asked by the talk show host, Wulff did not distance himself from his choice of words. The Central Council of Jews in Germany later accused Wulff of having given an “arsonist speech”. The Central Council assumed Wulff had a lack of historical awareness and suggested that he resign.

Plane ticket affair

In December 2009, Wulff accepted a free upgrade ( “ticket upgrade” ) to the (more expensive) business class for himself and his family on a vacation flight with Air Berlin . Since, according to the implementing regulation for the Lower Saxony Ministerial Law, members of the state government are only allowed to accept gifts with a value of up to ten euros, the Hanover public prosecutor's office initiated an investigation after they had received a complaint. The subject of the investigation was the question of whether the criminal offense of accepting benefits applies. Wulff stated that his wife had spoken to the head of the airline in advance of the flight and was then offered the free upgrade. Only after a request from the news magazine Der Spiegel did he become aware of the objective violation of the law and then paid the airline the difference for the tickets. In response to a small request from the SPD in the Lower Saxony state parliament, the state chancellery replied that from 2005 to 2009 Air Berlin had sponsored the summer festivals of the Lower Saxony state representation in Berlin with 7,500 euros each; Funding from the state of Lower Saxony, however, never went to the airline. The investigation by the Hanover Public Prosecutor's Office revealed that there were “no sufficient, factual indications for a criminally relevant advantage”.

In connection with the upgrades, it was also announced that Wulff had spent his vacation in a villa owned by the entrepreneur Egon Geerkens. This led to the request of the state parliament about the business relations of Wulff to Geerkens, which was one of the causes of the Wulff affair .

Automatic diet increases

On June 8, 2010, the Lower Saxony state parliament adopted a diet increase in two stages (July 1, 2010 and January 1, 2011) of Euro 5595 to Euro 6000, d. H. by 7.2%, and further automatic increases from 2012. Wulff justified this with the words “The job must not become less and less attractive. MPs are also regularly entitled to an appropriate increase. ”Politicians from the Greens and Die Linke described this increase in the diet as unjustified in view of the high national debt and austerity measures. Furthermore, the automatic increase from 2012 was criticized by the taxpayers' association as not transparent and viewed as an attempt to avoid future public diet debates.

Connection to ProChrist and the Christian Journalists' Working Group

On the day that Wulff's candidacy for Federal President was announced on June 3, 2010, a critical discussion began in the media about his position as a member of the board of trustees of the missionary - evangelical association ProChrist . It was argued that such an office was not compatible with the required independence of the Federal President. The former EKD bishop, Wolfgang Huber , defended Wulff's membership in the ProChrist Board of Trustees, as it was a purely honorary body without "direct influence on the planning and design of 'ProChrist' events". Huber assessed the criticism of Wulff's membership of the board of trustees as "taking sides" and the recommendation to Wulff to step down from this body as "out of place and petty".

Wulff's appearance at the Christian Publicists Working Group (ACP) with a greeting in 2004 and a lecture in May 2010 was considered "political" by Hansjörg Hemminger , the sect representative of the Protestant regional church of Württemberg , who considers the ACP to be a “splinter group on the extreme right of Protestantism” questionable ". Matthias Drobinski pointed out in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, however, that Minister of Education Bernd Althusmann had declared before the Lower Saxony state parliament in June 2010 that Wulff, as Prime Minister of the ACP, "primarily defends the appointment of Minister of Social Affairs Aygül Özkan and 'set the standards in the crucifix debate'" have. “It's not clever, but Christian Wulff doesn't make it a fund either,” said Drobinski, who ascribed the criticism of Wulff's connection to ProChrist and ACP to “the left and religion-critical spectrum”.


Christian Wulff at the Radio Regenbogen Award 2019

He referred to Werner Remmers as his "political foster father", "one of the most prominent figures in political Catholicism in the 1980s and 1990s".

Like Wulff, two other main participants in the Wulff affair , the editor-in-chief of the Bild newspaper Kai Diekmann and the CEO of Axel Springer AG Mathias Döpfner , are graduates of the Atlantik-Brücke Young Leader program .

Wulff had a guest appearance in the television film Mein Alter Freund Fritz (ZDF, 2007; written and directed by Dieter Wedel ; with Ulrich Tukur , Veronica Ferres , Maximilian Brückner and Uwe Bohm ), in which he played himself as Prime Minister who gave a speech on the occasion a clinic opening.

Wulff is friends with the entrepreneur Carsten Maschmeyer . Maschmeyer was among the guests at Wulff's wedding in 2008. Wulff also held in 2009, the eulogy , as Masch Meyer (who had previously sponsored a professorship at the Institute of Psychology with a donation of 500,000 euros) from the University of Hildesheim , the honorary doctorate was awarded.

Wulff is an honorary member of the Rotary Club Hannover-Leineschloß.

The youth word "Wulffen" 2012 reached fourth place of the year . It can mean “gossiping someone's mailbox” or “living at the expense of others”.

On February 25, 2014 shone Sat.1 the " docudrama " The resignation of Nico Hofmann made over the last 68 days Wulff as president.

On June 10, 2014, Wulff presented his book Ganz oben Ganz unten at a press conference. In it, he writes about the time between his resignation as Federal President and the end of his trial. Wulff denounced a "dependency relationship between the media and the judiciary" and said that his case should "not be allowed to repeat itself in this way in ... [Germany]". After its publication, the book was number one in the relevant bestseller lists in the non-fiction category.


Book presentation in Cologne



  • Karl Hugo Pruys : Christian Wulff: I do my thing. A political portrait. Edition Q, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-86124-559-0 .
  • Ders .: Christian Wulff. Germany is making progress. Bebra, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-89809-068-X .
  • Armin Fuhrer: Christian Wulff. The marathon man. Olzog, Munich 2006, ISBN 978-3-7892-8167-9 .
  • Nikolaus Harbusch, Martin Heidemanns: Wulff affair . Federal President for 598 days - the story of a failure. 1st edition. Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-86265-155-9 .
  • Michael Götschenberg: The bad Wulff? The story behind the story and the role of the media. 1st edition. Plassen Verlag, Kulmbach 2013, ISBN 978-3-86470-084-2 .


Newspaper articles

Web links

Commons : Christian Wulff  - Collection of Images

Individual evidence

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