Harald Martenstein

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Harald Martenstein at a reading at Leipzig Central Station in 2008

Harald Martenstein (born September 9, 1953 in Mainz ) is a German journalist and author .


Martenstein's father was one of the accompanists for Hanns Dieter Hüsch and later worked at Opel. After graduating from the Rabanus-Maurus-Gymnasium in Mainz, Martenstein worked for a few months in a kibbutz in Israel and then studied history and Romance studies at the University of Freiburg . In the 1970s he was a member of the DKP for a few years . His first journalistic work was done in Mainz around the carnival . From 1981 to 1988 he was an editor at the Stuttgarter Zeitung and from 1988 to 1997 editor at Tagesspiegel in Berlin. Then Martenstein took over the management of the culture department at the Abendzeitung in Munich for a short time , but shortly afterwards he returned to the Tagesspiegel as chief editor . Since 2002, he writes a column for also for the publishing group Georg von Holtzbrinck belonging Time , initially under the title signs of life and, since May 24, 2007 at the time magazine Life under Harald Martenstein. In a revised form, a selection of these satirical causeries appeared for the first time in 2004 in the anthology Drawn from life. For a few years Martenstein was also represented compactly with columns in the Geo . Martenstein has also been working regularly for Geo since the early 1990s , initially as a reporter and now primarily as an essayist. He currently writes a column for every Sunday edition of the Tagesspiegel , as well as regular glosses on the Berlin Film Festival and occasionally larger reports and essays.

In 2004 he received the Egon Erwin Kisch Prize for a text on inheritance and management disputes in the Suhrkamp publishing house in Frankfurt . Due to the publisher's lack of willingness to cooperate, this was also a report on investigative cultural journalism . In February 2007 Martenstein's novel Heimweg was published , in which he describes a German family chronicle of the post-war period and for which he was awarded the Corine Debut Prize in the same year . In addition, volumes with collected time columns appear regularly .

The second novel, Felt Nearness , is based on the form of Schnitzler's round dance and is about a young woman's unsuccessful partner search. Each chapter is written from the perspective of a different one of her 23 lovers. The novel was downright panned by some reviewers. At the Süddeutsche Zeitung , among other things, there was talk of a “revenge foul in the battle of the sexes”, Martenstein was “a kind of Mario Barth for Zeit readers”. On literaturkritik.de he was characterized in a similar style as “ Franz Josef Wagner for educated citizens”, who, in contrast to the tabloid journalist, translates his resentments and banalities into somewhat more verbose columns and now serves the genre of “men's literature” with a feeling of closeness .

Harald Martenstein on the blue sofa at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2010

From the beginning of 2007 to the end of 2008 there was a video column on watchberlin.de every two weeks with the title Martenstein! to see. In contrast to his Zeit- Kolums, the topics of these articles recorded in Martenstein's Kreuzberg kitchen often related specifically to politics and culture in Berlin. Together with columnist Rainer Erlinger (Süddeutsche Zeitung), Martenstein performed regularly in the Berlin Deutsches Theater in 2008 and 2009 . In their moral show , Martenstein and Erlinger discussed everyday moral issues and put them to the public's vote. Since 2006, Martenstein has been teaching journalistic craft, especially columns, at the Federal Academy for Cultural Education in Wolfenbüttel , the Academy of the Bavarian Press , the Swiss Journalism School MAZ and at the Austrian KFJ.

Since autumn 2007, Harald Martenstein has had his own radio column on radioeins . The NDR joined in 2013. Dieter Nuhr invited him in September 2014 to appear on the ARD cabaret show Nuhr in the First . Martenstein also performed with the singer and actor Georg Clementi , who turned some of his columns into songs.


Martenstein sparked a debate in 2013 with a critical article on gender research , which he described as an ideological “anti-science”. The Central Institution for the Promotion of Women and Gender Studies (ZEFG) of the Free University of Berlin accused Martenstein of only having “rudimentary gender knowledge” and ignoring serious research findings in order to support his established thesis of unscientificness. In “a perfidious tradition”, he defamed the findings of women as unscientific.

On a taz blog, Heiko Werning accused him of deliberately playing down discrimination against Jews, women and blacks, for example in the anti-Semitism debate about Jakob Augstein , the sexism debate about Rainer Brüderle or the racism debate about Astrid Lindgren . In all discussions he always shows the same reactions of the "prototypical German, white man". Robin Detje criticized Martenstein alongside Ulf Poschardt , Jan Fleischhauer and Matthias Matussek in an essay in Die Zeit . All make minority positions contemptuous and are thus jointly responsible for threats and violent comments against them on the Internet. Stefan Niggemeier judged that Martenstein stood “representative of the silent majority of white, heterosexual, old men who no longer understand the world”; he therefore wrote ignorantly against the loss of power.

Kai Sina certifies Martenstein to offer amusing and illuminating expansions of the field of vision, as exercises in pluralism , without ideological doggedness. In the spirit of Ralf Konersmann , he was spared the alleged crisis of cultural criticism because, in contrast to their classic representatives, he did not imagine and present himself as the owner of the superior point of view. Martenstein is by no means shy of counter-speech and always responds to reader comments. In this sense, Martenstein represents an attitude of "non-arrogance" according to Konersmann, which also emphasizes the preliminary and fallible of his statements.


Martenstein lives in Gerswalde ( Uckermark ) and Berlin . He is married to the cultural manager Petra Martenstein. In 2014 Martenstein became a father for the second time.

Prizes and awards

Works (selection)

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. https://www.hr2.de/programm/podcasts/doppelkopf/der-kolumnist-harald-martenstein-sehen-ua-ueber-die-mainzer-ranzengarde,podcast-episode41440.html
  2. ^ Philipp Peyman Engel: "Difficult tsu saijn a Jid zum Schein" In: Jüdische Allgemeine , May 28, 2013.
  3. https://www.hr2.de/programm/podcasts/doppelkopf/der-kolumnist-harald-martenstein-sehen-ua-ueber-die-mainzer-ranzengarde,podcast-episode41440.html
  4. Tell me where you are. In: tagesspiegel.de. Retrieved December 9, 2014 .
  5. Hilmar Klute: From the godly darling to the "old white man". Retrieved May 21, 2020 .
  6. Seed congestion winches. Süddeutsche Zeitung, October 20, 2010
  7. ^ Literature for "time" readers . Literary Review, No. 4, April 2011
  8. kfj.at: gloss and column
  9. zeitlieder.de
  10. Bad, worse, gender . Chargeable. Zeit-Magazin, No. 24/2013
  11. ^ Regina Frey , Marc Gärtner, Manfred Köhnen, Sebastian Scheele: Gender, Wissenschaftlichkeit und Ideologie. Arguments in the dispute about gender relations . Ed .: Heinrich Böll Foundation (=  writings of the Gunda Werner Institute . Volume 9 ). 2nd Edition. Berlin 2014, ISBN 978-3-86928-113-1 , pp. 18 ( online [PDF; 2.2 MB ; accessed on January 7, 2018]).
  12. Gender research polemics in the summer slump or “I roar, therefore I am” . ZEFG, June 2013
  13. Three different debates, always the same Harald Martenstein . taz, February 9, 2013
  14. Robin Detje: Swelling Disgust Factor , Zeit, November 24, 2014
  15. Stefan Niggemeier: Harald Martenstein sees himself as a victim of the victims . Blog comment by Stefan Niggemeier , March 19, 2013
  16. a b Kai Sina: Harald Martenstein: Views of a domestic pig More lemons to Wolfsburg . In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung . December 30, 2011, ISSN  0174-4909 .
  17. Harald Martenstein: About the sense and futility of having children. In: zeit.de. November 7, 2014, accessed December 9, 2014 .
  18. [Medium Magazin 1 + 2/2005, p. 32], online (accessed October 24, 2014)