Gerhart Baum

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Gerhart Baum, 2018

Gerhart Rudolf Baum (born October 28, 1932 in Dresden ) is a German politician ( FDP ) and lawyer .

From 1972 to 1978 he was Parliamentary State Secretary to the then Federal Interior Ministers Hans-Dietrich Genscher and Werner Maihofer and was appointed Federal Interior Minister in the Schmidt II cabinet in June 1978 . Even after retiring from active politics, Baum, along with Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, is still one of the most prominent representatives of the left-liberal wing of the FDP, which advocates the protection of civil rights and tries to prevent their restriction through state surveillance measures.

Life and work

Baum with the party spokesman Josef Gerwald at the FDP federal party conference in 1976

Baum comes from an educated middle class family; his grandfather and father were already lawyers. His mother was Russian; in 1917, the year of the revolution, her family fled Moscow . After the bombing of Dresden on the night of February 13-14, 1945 , his mother fled with the children to the Tegernsee ; In 1950 they moved to Cologne . The father died in a Soviet captivity .

After graduating from high school in 1954, Baum studied law at the University of Cologne , which he completed in 1957 with the first state examination . After completing his legal preparatory service, he passed the second state examination in 1961 . From 1962 to 1972 he was a member of the management of the Confederation of German Employers' Associations (BDA). Since 1994 he has been working as a lawyer again. Baum has been a senior partner of Baum, Reiter & Collegen, which specializes in investor and consumer protection, as well as data protection, since 2007.

Baum has represented the victims of the Ramstein disaster , the relatives of the Concorde disaster and other plane accidents such as Lockerbie. He was an advocate for the Soviet forced laborers against the federal government and is an advocate for the majority of those affected by the Love Parade disaster . After 1990 he took on consulting assignments from the European Commission for the renewal of air traffic law in Eastern Europe. Together with Herta Däubler-Gmelin (SPD), Baum led the 2008/09 investigations into the data scandals at Telekom and the data protection affair of Deutsche Bahn AG .

Baum is married to Renate Liesmann-Baum for the second time, has three children from his first marriage and lives in Cologne and Berlin. He publishes political publications and occasionally guest posts in newspapers. He regularly takes part in public discussions.

Political party

Baum (center) on August 30, 1980 at an election rally in Bonn for the 1980 federal election

He has been a member of the FDP since 1954 . Here he was initially involved with the young democrats , in particular for the implementation of basic rights and for a new policy on Germany and the East in a social-liberal coalition. He was Federal Chairman of the Young Democrats from 1966 to 1968. From 1966 to 1998 he was a member of the FDP federal executive committee. From 1970 to 1990 he was also a member of the FDP state executive committee of North Rhine-Westphalia . From 1978 to 1991 he was a member of the FDP presidium and from 1982 to 1991 one of the deputy FDP federal chairmen.

Baum belongs to the left-liberal Freiburg Circle , which he founded , whose members refer to the principles of the so-called Freiburg FDP program of 1971.


From 1969 to 1973 he was a member of the Council of the City of Cologne and here chairman of the FDP - faction . From 1972 to 1994 he was a member of the German Bundestag . Baum has always entered the German Bundestag via the state list of North Rhine-Westphalia.

In the archive of liberalism of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Gummersbach there are extensive documents, above all about his activities as a member of the German Bundestag.

Public offices

Baum as Federal Minister of the Interior (1979)

On December 15, 1972, he was appointed Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of the Interior in the Brandt I cabinet . He initially retained this office under Federal Chancellor Helmut Schmidt . After Werner Maihofer resigned , he was appointed Federal Minister of the Interior on June 8, 1978. During his tenure as interior minister, Baum brought about a liberalization of the radical decree introduced by all parties by enforcing a "waiver of the rule request".

As Federal Minister of the Interior, in a phase of "new thoughtfulness", he slowed down the overzealousness of the law enforcement authorities, sought dialogue with those around the terrorists ( e.g. through a Spiegel talk with RAF member Horst Mahler ) and promoted political advisory, social science research into the causes and intellectual political confrontation with terrorism. As Minister of the Interior, he was also responsible for environmental policy at the time (there was no separate Federal Ministry for the Environment ).

After the break of the social-liberal coalition , he resigned on September 17, 1982 together with the other FDP federal ministers, but criticized the nature of the coalition change in a Bundestag speech and did not express mistrust to Chancellor Schmidt.

Afterwards he devoted himself to the protection of human rights. From 1992 to 1998 he headed the German delegation to the UN Human Rights Commission . In 1993 he headed the German delegation to the UN World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna, which was marked by human rights violations in the Balkans. He then worked for the UN , for example from 2001 to 2003 as UN commissioner for human rights in Sudan .

From 1969 to 1977 he was a member of the Advisory Board of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation .

Gerhart Baum,
at the presentation of the Humanism Prize to Leoluca Orlando in Göttingen in 2008

He is a member of the Presidium of the German Society for the United Nations and various committees of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Baum is co-organizer of the annual Dresden Prize for International Peace.

Constitutional Complaints

On March 3, 2004 the Federal Constitutional Court (BVerfG) ruled after a constitutional complaint - among others from Baum, along with Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger and Burkhard Hirsch - that large parts of the law to combat organized crime ( large eavesdropping ) violate human dignity and are therefore unconstitutional . Baum also hopes that the ruling will restrict telephone surveillance , especially among journalists.

Baum was also successful with another constitutional complaint (with Burkhard Hirsch and four other plaintiffs). The Aviation Security Act was declared unconstitutional and null and void on February 15, 2006 by the First Senate of the BVerfG. A shooting down of passenger planes in the case of hijacking violates the Basic Law, as this is not compatible with the basic right to life or the guarantee of human dignity.

In 2008, a constitutional complaint against the online search legalized by the North Rhine-Westphalian Constitutional Protection Act was also successful: On February 27, 2008, the relevant regulation was declared unconstitutional.

A constitutional complaint against data retention decided in November 2007 , in which Baum was one of the many complainants, was also successful. The Federal Constitutional Court ruled on March 2, 2010 that data retention was not fundamentally incompatible with the Basic Law, but that the statutory regulation at the time was not proportionate and therefore unconstitutional. The relevant paragraphs of the Telecommunications Act and the Code of Criminal Procedure have been declared void and the data that has already been collected should be deleted, provided that they were not required by the telecommunications provider for internal billing.

Baum, together with the lawyers Burkhard Hirsch and Peter Schantz, represented several professional confidentiality holders (including the journalists Michael Naumann and Christoph-Maria Fröhder and the lawyer Ulrich Schellenberg ) against various regulations of the BKA Act , which, among other things, the relationship of trust between doctors , psychotherapists , lawyers and Strongly restrict journalists with their patients, clients and informants. This constitutional complaint was also successful. The Federal Constitutional Court declared most of these provisions of the Federal Criminal Police Office Act, which were inserted as sub-section 3a by the "Law to ward off the dangers of international terrorism by the Federal Criminal Police Office" of December 25, 2008 with effect from January 1, 2009, to be unconstitutional.

Cultural engagement

In his capacity as Federal Minister of Culture, he campaigned for the improvement of the framework conditions for art and culture. Baum promoted new music . In 1996, Baum turned against the planned withdrawal of funding for the SWR of the Donaueschinger Musiktage , the most important music festival for new music, by the artistic director Peter Voss . In 2004 he campaigned for the continued existence of the SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart , which was counted among the best choirs in the world in the professional world. Baum was a member of the board of trustees of the “Donaueschinger Musiktage”, on the board of the Cologne exhibition hall “Fuhrwerkswaage” and in 2005 supported the controversial RAF exhibition at the Kunst-Werken Berlin. On July 1, 2005 he was elected as the new spokesman for the NRW Cultural Council in Cologne. Baum was chairman of the supervisory board of Suhrkamp Verlag from 2015 to 2017.

Baum is one of the initiators of the Charter of Fundamental Digital Rights of the European Union , which was published at the end of November 2016.


In 1980 Baum received the Great Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. In 2008 he was awarded the Theodor Heuss Prize “because of his tireless commitment to strengthening and securing civil and freedom rights” . In 2006 he was appointed custodian of medium-sized entrepreneurship by the markt intern publishing group and cooperating associations . In 2009 he received the Erich Fromm Prize for his advocacy of human rights and the fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed in the Basic Law, as well as in recognition of his “courageous action against a disproportionate striving for security [...] which in reality is the 'fear of freedom' ( Erich Fromm) strengthened and the trust in the freedom rights destroyed. "

In 2010, Baum received the Giesberts-Lewin Prize of the Cologne Society for Christian-Jewish Cooperation because throughout his life as a lawyer, politician and publicist he stood for the universal validity of human rights, for the importance of individual rights of freedom and for active tolerance in living together Völker, for example, at the United Nations, has worked successfully . In 2012, together with Bernd Wagner, the Arnold Freymuth Society awarded him the “Arnold Freymuth Prize” for moral courage and services to the democratic constitutional state.

On September 10, 2012, Baum received the Silver Tuning Fork from the State Music Council of North Rhine-Westphalia for his services to the musical life of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia .

Baum is the holder of the badge of honor of the German Composers Association.

In 2013 Baum became the third honorary member of the Kulturpolitische Gesellschaft (KuPoGe). This recognizes his cultural and socio-political commitment.

On February 24, 2014 Baum was awarded the Ring of Honor of the Rhineland for his decades of commitment to civil and human rights. The laudator Jürgen Wilhelm described Baum as a "missionary of the constitutional state". The ring of honor of the Rhineland is awarded by the landscape committee of the LVR "in order to honor the outstanding importance of regional self-government in a growing Europe".

On August 23, 2017 Gerhart Baum received the Order of Merit of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia .


  • alpha forum. Gerhart Rudolf Baum. Talk, Germany, 2009, 43 min., Moderation: Susanne Zimmer, production: BR-alpha , first broadcast: February 16, 2010, table of contents with text of the conversation.
  • We wanted to change the republic. The liberal Gerhart Baum. Documentary, Germany, 2012, 45 min., Script and director: Bettina Ehrhardt, production: bce films & more, WDR , first broadcast: October 26, 2012 on WDR, summary ( memento from May 21, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) with online Video.
  • How is Gerhart Baum doing? Documentary, Germany, 2013, 29:15 min., Script and direction: Birgitta Weber, production: SWR , series: Wie geht's actually ?, first broadcast: February 17, 2013 on SWR, synopsis from ARD and online video .

Publications (selection)

  • with Jochen Bölsche (ed.): The way in the surveillance state. With new documents and statements from Gerhart Baum. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1979, ISBN 3-499-14534-0 .
  • with Burkhard Hirsch : The Tree and the Deer. Germany from its liberal side . Propylaea, Berlin 2016, ISBN 978-3-549-07471-8 .
  • with Axel Jeschke and Wolfgang Malanowski (eds.): The Minister and the Terrorist. Conversations between Gerhart Baum and Horst Mahler . Rowohlt, Reinbek 1980, ISBN 3-499-33001-6 .
  • with Rudolf L. Schreiber (Ed.): Noah's Ark 2000. Our environment needs our help. Pro Natur-Verlag, Stuttgart 1982, ISBN 3-88582-002-1 .
  • German domestic politics. The state on its way to becoming a citizen. Econ Verlag, Düsseldorf / Vienna 1980.
  • Privatization. Profit for whom? Godesberger Taschenbuch-Verlag, Bonn 1980.
  • Technological administration. Relief or alienation of people? Godesberger Taschenbuch-Verlag, Bonn 1980.
  • Violence from the right. Articles from science and journalism. Edited by the public relations department against terrorism in the Federal Ministry of the Interior. Bonn 1982, ISBN 3-9800235-2-4 .
  • with Peter Juling : Up and Down of the Liberals from 1848 to the present day. Bleicher, Gerlingen 1983, ISBN 3-88350-007-0 .
  • with Sebastian Cobler : About the obedience hurrying ahead. Conversation with the predecessor Gerhart Baum. In: transatlantic . 1983, 11, pp. 44-47.
  • Protection of human rights in the practice of the United Nations. Nomos, Baden-Baden 1998, ISBN 3-7890-5746-0 .
  • Human rights policy is always meddling. An international inventory. In: operations . 43, No. 2 (2004), pp. 5-13.
  • End hell on earth. The situation in Sudan calls for interference. In: United Nations. Journal for the United Nations and its specialized agencies. 53, No. 2 (2005), p. 46 ff. ISSN  0042-384X .
  • I should have got off earlier! Gerhart Rudolf Baum . In: Wolfgang Bittner and Mark vom Hofe (eds.), I get involved. Striking German résumés. Horlemann, Bad Honnef 2006, ISBN 978-3-89502-222-7 .
  • The amendment to the BKA law - a legal-political and constitutional criticism (together with Peter Schantz). In: Journal for Legal Policy 2008, pp. 137 ff.
  • The fundamental rights in the tension between security and freedom . In: Robertson-von Trotha, Caroline Y. (Ed.): 60 years of the Basic Law. Interdisciplinary Perspectives (= Kulturwissenschaft interdisciplinary / Interdisciplinary Studies on Culture and Society , Vol. 4), Nomos, Baden-Baden 2009, ISBN 978-3-8329-4865-8 .
  • Save the basic rights! Citizenship versus security mania - a polemic. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 2009, ISBN 978-3-462-03980-1 .
  • Cashed in. The scandalous methods of the financial industry. Rowohlt, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-498-00662-4 .
  • The financial crisis and its consequences for the population. Requirements for improved consumer protection . In: Robertson von Trotha, Caroline Y. (Ed.): Challenge Democracy. Democratic, parliamentary, good? (= Kulturwissenschaft interdisciplinary / Interdisciplinary Studies on Culture and Society , Vol. 6), Nomos, Baden-Baden 2011, ISBN 978-3-8329-5816-9 .
  • My anger is young: taking stock of a political life, in conversation with Matthias Franck . Kösel, Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-466-37057-3 .
  • I want us to bite. - Enzensberger is right: We have post-democratic conditions. The state must protect us from surveillance. It is alarming that the issue does not ignite even after the election. Guest article,, September 24, 2013.


Web links

Commons : Gerhart Baum  - Collection of Images


  1. Susanne Führer: Gerhart Baum and Burkhard Hirsch. In: . March 21, 2016, accessed December 18, 2018 .
  2. “They had to have courage” . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , August 19, 2016, p. 6.
  3. Gerhart Baum. In: Sources on the history of human rights. Working Group Human Rights in the 20th Century, November 27, 2014, accessed on December 6, 2016 .
  4. DGVN Presidium (last accessed on October 17, 2017).
  5. BVerfG, judgment of March 3, 2004, Az. 1 BvR 2378/98, 1084/99, full text = BVerfGE 109, 279 - Large eavesdropping.
  6. BVerfG, judgment of February 15, 2006, Az. 1 BvR 357/05, full text = BVerfGE 115, 118 - Aviation Security Act.
  7. BVerfG, judgment of February 27, 2008, Az. 1 BvR 370, 595/07, full text = BVerfGE 120, 274 - online searches.
  8. Data retention: Constitutional complaint necessary - communication dated November 30, 2007 on .
  9. BVerfG, judgment of March 2, 2010, Az. 1 BvR 256, 263, 586/08, full text = BVerfGE 125, 260 - data retention.
  10. ^ Hesse Chamber of Psychotherapists .
  11. BVerfG, judgment of April 20, 2016, Az. 1 BvR 966/09, 1 BvR 1140/09, full text = BVerfGE 141, 220 - Federal Criminal Police Office Act.
  12. Praetor Intermedia: Excessive surveillance powers of the Federal Criminal Police Office | Right magnifying glass. In: Retrieved April 20, 2016 .
  13. Gerhart Baum: Order, not Benefit - Public Broadcasting and New Music (PDF). In: FAZ , March 23, 2005 and original ( Memento of February 21, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF)
  14. Eleonore Büning : “Notopfer” , Die Zeit , 1996, No. 20.
  15. Gerhart R. Baum: On the cultural mandate of the public broadcasters , new musikzeitung , 2006, No. 7/8.
  16. ^ Page of the SWR Vokalensemble
       SWR Vokalensemble , City of Stuttgart, 2009.
  17. ^ "RAF exhibition in Berlin opens" , Wikinews , January 29, 2005.
  18. "Kulturrat NRW elects Gerhart Baum as new chairman" ( Memento from June 28, 2007 in the Internet Archive ), Kulturrat NRW, July 4, 2005.
  19. Gerhart Baum: "Inner Security. The bitter truth ” ( Memento from April 16, 2008 in the Internet Archive ), April 15, 2008, thanks to the 2008 Theodor Heuss Prize winner.
  20. Gerhart Baum receives the “Custodian of medium-sized entrepreneurship 2006” | Gerhart Baum. Retrieved on May 31, 2020 (German).
  21. Erich Fromm Prize for Gerhart Baum | Gerhart Baum. Retrieved on May 31, 2020 (German).
  22. ^ Ceremony for Gerhart Baum at the State Music Council of North Rhine-Westphalia. ( Memento of August 23, 2018 in the Internet Archive ) Retrieved on August 23, 2018.
  23. ^ Homepage Kulturpolitische Gesellschaft , accessed on March 11, 2013.
  24. The LVR Presse of February 24, 2014: Gerhart R. Baum awarded the Ring of Honor of the Rhineland ( Memento of March 15, 2014 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on February 26, 2014.
  25. Prime Minister Armin Laschet awards the Order of Merit of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia to Gerhart Baum, Kurt Biedenkopf, Birgit Fischer and Reiner Priggen , press release of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia of 23 August 2017.