Jürgen Wilhelm Möllemann (born July 15, 1945 in Augsburg , † June 5, 2003 in Marl-Loemühle ) was a German politician ( FDP ). Under Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl , he was Federal Minister of Education from 1987 to 1991, Federal Minister of Economics from January 1991 to January 1993 and from May 1992 also Vice Chancellor .
In January 1993 he resigned from these two offices because of the letterhead affair . In 2000 he was the top candidate of the North Rhine-Westphalian FDP in the state elections . The FDP received 9.8 percent of the vote; Möllemann became a member of the state parliament. In 2002/2003 he came under renewed criticism through some interview statements, an election leaflet not authorized by the FDP and irregular financial practices, lost his party offices and faced criminal proceedings. He died in a parachute jump in 2003 . It was suicide suspected -Absicht, but not proven, so conspiracy theories emerged.
education and profession
Jürgen Möllemann grew up on the left Lower Rhine in Appeldorn , today a district of Kalkar . He was a student at Klever Freiherr-vom-Stein-Gymnasium and switched to the Amplonius-Gymnasium in Rheinberg . After graduating from high school in 1965, he did military service as a reserve officer candidate in the paratrooper battalion 263 in Zweibrücken and Bad Bergzabern; after several military exercises he was promoted to lieutenant in the reserve . From 1966 he studied German , history and sport at the University of Education (PH) in Münster and graduated in 1969 with the first and in 1971 with the second state examination for teaching at primary and secondary schools . From 1969 he worked as a teacher in Beckum . In 1978 he worked for the Flick Group . From 1993 Möllemann was the owner of the company WEB / TEC - economic and export consulting.
Family and sport
Möllemann was married to Carola Möllemann-Appelhoff (* 1949) for the second time. She was a member of the FDP council in Münster from 1979 to 1994 and since 1999, and headed the Münster FDP council group from 1999 to 2019. From this marriage two daughters were born; Möllemann had another daughter from his first marriage.
From 1989 he was a member of the supervisory board (until 1994 board member) of the football club FC Schalke 04 , from 1993 to 1995 and 1998 to 2001 as chairman.
Party political offices
From 1962 to 1969 Möllemann was a member of the CDU . From 1970 until his departure on March 17, 2003 he was a member of the FDP. Möllemann was a member of the state board of the FDP in North Rhine-Westphalia from 1975 to 1982 - from 1982 to 1983 as deputy chairman, from 1983 to 1994 as state chairman. In 1994 he resigned from this office because of differences with the then FDP Federal Chairman and Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel ; from April 1996 to October 2002 he held this office again. In the state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia in 2000 , the FDP under his leadership succeeded in re-entering the state parliament after five years of absence with a result of 9.8 percent of the votes . In March 2003 he resigned from the FDP parliamentary group.
Möllemann was a member of the German Bundestag from 1972 to 2000 and from 2002 to 2003 . In February 2003 he was expelled from the FDP parliamentary group. From 1981 to 1997 and from May 1999 to March 2002 he was a member of the FDP Federal Presidium. From May 2001 to September 2002 he was Deputy Federal Chairman.
After the change of government in October 1982 Möllemann was appointed Minister of State in the Foreign Office headed by Hans-Dietrich Genscher . After the federal election in 1987 , he was appointed Federal Minister of Education and Science on March 12, 1987 in the Federal Government ( Kohl III cabinet ) led by Chancellor Helmut Kohl .
After the Bundestag election in 1990 , he took over the office of Minister of Economics in the Kohl IV cabinet . As a result of German reunification , the budget deficit had risen to its highest level since 1975. To consolidate, Möllemann called for state subsidies of 10 billion DM annually in the budget to be cut and threatened to resign as minister if this goal was not achieved. The CDU / CSU / FDP coalition decided to dismantle it, although subsidy cuts that had been decided earlier were included.
In addition to numerous successes and recognitions, for example as Federal Minister for Education and Science, there were some political scandals. He had to resign from the office of the Federal Minister of Economics in January 1993 because he had used his official stationery to advertise a business idea from one of his wife's cousins in a letter. This became known as the letterhead affair .
Forced resignation and comeback
In 1994 Möllemann spoke of a comeback as a minister, to which Kinkel did not respond publicly. However, in October of that year, the entire NRW state board of the FDP resigned in order to force chairman Möllemann to resign.
Just two years later he was again in the office of NRW state chairman and led the state party to an unusual success in the 2000 election campaign: The FDP, which was not represented in the Düsseldorf state parliament for five years, was thanks to its campaign strategy with 9.8 percent of the vote State Parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia re-elected. Möllemann was together with the former FDP federal manager Fritz Goergen initiator of Strategy 18 , which was adopted by the federal party in May 2001.
The Möllemann affair 2002/2003
Möllemann was President of the German-Arab Society from 1981 to 1991 and 1993 and again since 1995 . In this capacity, he made several comments on the Middle East conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Territories .
In spring 2002 Möllemann sharply criticized Israel's actions against the Palestinians and expressed understanding for suicide bombings , which he viewed as a form of resistance to an occupation that was contrary to international law. He stood behind Jamal Karsli , who was a member of Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen at the time. Karsli had spoken of a "war of extermination" by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon against the Palestinians , of Israel's " Nazi methods" and of a " Zionist lobby " in Germany that prevented a critical discussion of Israel's policy. After the federal executive of the Greens distanced itself from these statements, Karsli resigned from the party. On Möllemann's initiative, he was accepted into the FDP parliamentary group in North Rhine-Westphalia.
The Central Council of Jews in Germany (ZdJ) and some prominent FDP members, such as Hildegard Hamm-Brücher , protested against this , who viewed Karsli's choice of words as anti-Semitic . On May 16, 2002, Möllemann reacted to a corresponding criticism from Michel Friedman , the then ZdJ Vice President, in the heute journal as follows:
“Anyone who criticizes Ariel Sharon is placed in the corner of anti-Semitism by certain people in Germany . I forbid that in the strongest sense. I fear that hardly anyone has attracted more popularity to the anti-Semites that exist in Germany, unfortunately who we have to fight, than Mr. Sharon and, in Germany, Mr. Friedman with his intolerant and hateful manner. Arrogant. It doesn't work that way, you have to be allowed to criticize Sharon’s politics in Germany without being pushed into that corner. "
ZdJ President Paul Spiegel accused Möllemann of confirming "centuries-old anti-Semitic clichés", namely "the view of anti-Semites that Jews themselves are responsible for anti-Semitism through their mere existence or statements". Chancellor Gerhard Schröder called on the FDP to distance itself from Möllemann's attacks on the Israeli government. Other politicians from the SPD and the Greens also criticized Möllemann's statements. On May 31, the FDP federal executive regretted in a Berlin declaration “that statements by Jürgen W. Möllemann gave rise to misunderstandings” and dismissed the “accusation of anti-Semitism against the FDP as a whole or against individual leadership members of the FDP” "Defamatory and unjustified" back. After further accusations of anti-Semitism against Karsli, the FDP federal chairman Guido Westerwelle Möllemann finally called on Karsli's membership in the FDP parliamentary group to end.
On June 6, 2002, Möllemann announced Karsli's resignation from the FDP parliamentary group in the Düsseldorf state parliament and declared: “If I have hurt the feelings of Jewish people, I would like to apologize.” Westerwelle then showed demonstrative solidarity with Möllemann. Shortly afterwards, however, Friedman explicitly excluded Friedman from his apology .
On September 17, 2002, five days before the upcoming federal election , Möllemann had a leaflet printed with a circulation of over eight million copies and distributed to all households in North Rhine-Westphalia without consulting the party executive. Ariel Scharon and Michel Friedman presented it with portrait photos under the heading “Plain Text” and attacked them in the accompanying text. This action by Möllemann and the statements in the leaflet were rejected by representatives of all parties represented in the Bundestag . Most of the FDP regional associations also distanced themselves from his leaflet and emphasized that this was not official advertising material for the party.
Even though the FDP in North Rhine-Westphalia received 9.3 percent of the second votes (an increase of 2.1 percentage points compared to the 1998 federal election) and Möllemann gained an above-average number of votes in his constituency of Warendorf, the FDP federal executive board weighed on the weak nationwide election result of the FDP ( 7.4 percent) to Möllemann and asked him on the evening of the election to resign from the deputy party chairmanship. The following day he resigned on the grounds that he wanted to spare the FDP an "ordeal". He had a special party conference of his regional association scheduled for October 10, 2002, which was also supposed to deal with the financing of his leaflet, postponed on the grounds that he had suffered a fit of weakness. The FDP federal executive commissioned Günther Rexrodt to check the financing; he found evidence of criminally relevant violations of Möllemann's party law . Thereupon the NRW regional association moved away from him and wanted to call on him to "give up all political offices". Möllemann anticipated this by declaring his resignation from the chairmanship of the state party and parliamentary group on October 20, 2002.
It had become known by then that Möllemann had transferred 838,000 euros to the Post on September 12th for the direct mail of the leaflet from an account of his company WebTec. But then he asked the post office to transfer the money back and later to withdraw it from another account. On September 20, he had set up a special account for the FDP regional association and had Hans-Joachim Kuhl pay the sum in pieces and veiled it. By October 11, the account had received 145 individual donations between 1,000 and 8,000 euros, a total of 840,000 euros, from various locations in Germany. The short-term reopening and subsequent donations aroused the suspicion of a criminal offense: The breaking down of donations into partial amounts and their booking in order to conceal their origin was punishable by up to three years in prison since July 2002. The FDP federal executive gave Möllemann, who was in Gran Canaria , an ultimatum to state the origin of the donations. After the board of directors had taken legal steps to force this information, Möllemann announced on November 20 that he had paid for the printing and distribution costs of the leaflet in the amount of 980,000 euros from his own resources and that the sums had been broken down so as not to appear as a major donor to kick.
Further examinations by Rexrodt from October 28 to November 27, 2002 showed that the state association of North Rhine-Westphalia under Möllemann had concealed the origin of other considerable sums over the years by means of black accounts, falsified receipts, thank-you letters and faulty reports. Since November 2002, several public prosecutor's offices have also been investigating “unknowns” for alleged violations of the political party law, breach of trust and fraud . The FDP federal executive took this as an opportunity to ask Möllemann to leave the FDP, gave him an ultimatum to do so by December 2, 2002 and otherwise threatened him with a party expulsion procedure . Westerwelle accused him of wanting to turn the FDP into a right-wing populist party. Thereupon Möllemann threatened in an interview with the establishment of a new party that would mean the "death of the FDP". He let the ultimatum pass and called in sick at short notice before two hearings of the federal executive committee. An application of February 4, 2003 in the NRW-FDP to exclude him from the regional association did not receive a majority. He announced the return of his Bundestag mandate on February 8, but did not officially submit it. On February 11, the FDP parliamentary group decided with 39 of 45 votes to expel him. In March Möllemann's book Klartext was published , which depicted Westerwelle and other FDP celebrities as self-promoters and careerists. On March 17, he left the party on his own initiative, but, contrary to several announcements, retained his mandate in the Bundestag. With that he lost the remaining sympathies in the FDP.
On the morning of June 5, 2003, the Bundestag lifted Möllemann's immunity on suspicion of tax evasion and violation of the political party law . As a result, the police and public prosecutor's office searched properties and business premises in various federal states, including his private house, as part of an investigation against him.
According to the social scientists Samuel Salzborn and Marc Schwietring , “Anti-Semitism was openly articulated, strategically used, trivialized, ignored and thus normalized [...] as part of public policy in Germany's social center” as a result of the debate triggered by Möllemann. In addition, anti-Semitic thinking was “given the ability to discourse that acted beyond civilizational motives”. Möllemann himself referred to 35,000 positive reactions. In a Forsa survey at the peak of the debate, 35 percent of those questioned agreed with Möllemann's statement that Friedman's appearance and behavior strengthened anti-Semitism; only 24 percent were of the opinion that Möllemann strengthened him. The number of anti-Semitic crimes rose from 127 in the first quarter of 2002 to 319 in the second quarter. The then President of the Bundestag, Wolfgang Thierse (SPD), also linked this sudden increase with the anti-Semitism debate about Möllemann and said that one must have doubts that this was just a coincidence.
Möllemann was a passionate skydiver and had often staged his jumps for campaign appearances. Less than 30 minutes after his immunity was lifted, he jumped off the parachute at Marl-Loemühle on June 5, 2003 and opened the main parachute after the free fall phase, but then separated it. He did not open the reserve parachute, which led to an unchecked impact on a field near the Marl-Loemühle airfield. He died from serious impact injuries. As later investigations showed, the automatic opening device that would have automatically triggered the reserve parachute was not switched on.
The jumpers, who started in the same skipping machine with Möllemann, testified that they had asked him whether he would take part in a free-fall formation, a so-called "six star". He said he wanted to jump a "single star" (jokingly for a solo jump). He did not take part in the usual mutual checks on the opening machine because he wanted to get a glass of water. The criminal investigation against him has been discontinued. He was buried in the central cemetery in Münster, Westphalia .
Möllemann's death was investigated by the Essen public prosecutor. Statements by some of his friends led to speculation that he might have been murdered . In 2007 the public prosecutor's office published private film recordings of a parachutist showing Möllemann's last jump and which had been investigated during the 2003 investigation. Your final report, presented on July 9, 2007, ruled out third-party negligence as the cause of death. However, it could not be conclusively clarified whether it was an accident or suicide .
Möllemann had given his party colleague Wolfgang Kubicki a letter in April 2003, which Kubicki was only supposed to open if “something happened” to him. According to Kubicki, the letter did not contain any information on the motives for the death jump.
In July 2009, Wolfgang Thierse , Vice President of the German Bundestag , set sanctions and repayment obligations against the FDP for violations of the party law. These had been committed in the regional association of the FDP under Möllemann and amounted to a total of 3,463,148.79 euros. This already included 873,500 euros, which the FDP had deposited with the Bundestag administration as a precaution in 2002. The administrative court and the higher administrative court confirmed this decision on December 8, 2009 and November 2011, respectively. At the end of April 2013, the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig ruled on the due date of at least two million euros. For the remainder (approx. 1.4 million euros), the matter was referred back to the Berlin-Brandenburg Higher Administrative Court in the absence of sufficient factual findings .
Media reports that linked Möllemann's company WebTec with arms deals in the Arab world were classified as incomprehensible rumors by the then head of the North Rhine-Westphalia State Criminal Police Office .
In December 2004 an estate insolvency proceeding was opened, which was concluded four years later with outstanding liabilities in the amount of around three million euros. Due to the tax debts due to not properly reported party donations, the tax authorities are considered the main creditor.
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|ALTERNATIVE NAMES||Möllemann, Jürgen Wilhelm (full name)|
|BRIEF DESCRIPTION||German politician (FDP), Member of the Bundestag, Member of the Bundestag|
|DATE OF BIRTH||July 15, 1945|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||augsburg|
|DATE OF DEATH||June 5, 2003|
|Place of death||Marl-Loemühle|