Joachim Gauck (* 24. January 1940 in Rostock ) is a German non-party politicians and Protestant theologian . He was the eleventh Federal President of the Federal Republic of Germany from March 18, 2012 to March 18, 2017 .
During the GDR era, Gauck was an Evangelical Lutheran pastor and church functionary. During the last decade of the GDR, Gauck led the preparation and implementation of the two Protestant church days in 1983 and 1988 in Rostock. In the course of the peaceful revolution he became a leading member of the New Forum in Rostock. The first freely elected People's Chamber of the GDR, of which he was a member, elected him on June 21, 1990 as chairman of the special committee to monitor the dissolution of the former MfS / AfNS . With German reunification , Gauck was briefly a member of the German Bundestag for Alliance 90 . He resigned this mandate when he was elected the first federal commissioner for the Stasi files.
From October 1990 to October 2000, Gauck was at the head of the “Gauck Authority”, which is often named after him and which manages and makes accessible the written legacy of the Ministry for State Security (MfS). After Marianne Birthler took over from him, Gauck became involved in socio-political activities with lectures and media activities. He is one of the initiators of the Prague Declaration and the Declaration on the Crimes of Communism . Gauck was also chairman of the Association Against Forgetting - For Democracy . He has been honored and recognized several times for services and publications .
18 March 2012 elected the 15th Federal Assembly of the non-party Gauck a large majority for the President. Two years earlier he was defeated by his predecessor Christian Wulff in the third ballot in the 14th Federal Assembly . For reasons of age, Gauck decided not to run for president again in the 2017 election. His term of office ended after five years on March 18, 2017.
Origin and Childhood (1940–1945)
Gauck was born in Rostock in 1940. He spent most of the first five years of his life on the Baltic Sea in Wustrow on the Fischland - together with his mother and siblings in the house of his paternal grandmother. His father Wilhelm Joachim Gauck, who was born in Dresden , was captain of the merchant navy and first lieutenant at sea in the reserve, his mother Olga, nee. Warremann, trained office worker. She worked as an office manager in a law firm. The parents had married in 1938. Gauck's father passed his captain's examination with distinction in 1940. He was in World War II a . a. responsible for the detection of mines and spent the war time mainly in barracks z. B. in Stralsund . For half a year the family lived with their father in Gdynia (German Gdynia or "Gotenhafen" at that time), where he was stationed. Most recently he taught navigation and legal studies to junior officers at the Naval War School in Flensburg - Mürwik , and at the end of the war he was taken prisoner by the British .
The parents were NSDAP members, the mother from 1932, the father from 1934. They had three other children: Marianne, Sabine and Eckart († August 23, 2013).
Gauck , who was five at the end of the war, was hardly affected by the bombing in Wustrow. After Mecklenburg belonged to the Soviet occupation zone , the house of Gauck's grandmother, located directly on the Baltic Sea, was requisitioned by the Red Army for military purposes and later had to be leased for a very low rent to a large company that housed employees on vacation there.
At the end of 1945 the mother and the then three children moved to live with their own parents in Rostock.
School days (1946–1958)
In the summer of 1946, shortly before Gauck started school, his father returned from captivity and then worked as an occupational safety inspector for shipping at the Rostock Neptun shipyard . While visiting relatives in Wustrow on June 27, 1951, he was visited by two men and picked up in a car on the pretext that there had been a serious accident at the shipyard in which he had to help. For the next few years he disappeared without a trace from the family . All inquiries with the People's Police , the Criminal Police and the State Security remained inconclusive. Submissions to government agencies and requests to Wilhelm Pieck were unsuccessful.
Gauck and his two siblings were raised to reject the political system of the GDR, which was blamed for the disappearance of their father:
“Our father's fate became an educational club. The duty of absolute loyalty to the family precluded even the smallest form of fraternization with the system. That we do not, we gave the mother clearly. I had internalized this commandment so much that I was no longer even tempted by the leisure activities offered by the FDJ . For this I lived in the morally comfortable consciousness: We are the decent ones. Intuitively I fended off the regime's campaigning for acceptance of its moral and political goals, because it had brought suffering and injustice to us. "
In his autobiographical notes, Gauck described the popular uprising of June 17, 1953 as an “electrifying experience”. 5000 workers also struck at the nearby Neptun shipyard and demanded the resignation of the government. Despite the suppression of the uprising, Gauck remembered a temporary relaxation of the strictly " class struggle " course in everyday school life.
The father came back from the Soviet camp system in October 1955 (after more than four years in a labor camp) extremely weak. It took a whole year before he was able to work as a pilot again. After his disappearance, a secret Soviet military tribunal in Schwerin sentenced him to two 25 years imprisonment: “The first 25 years for espionage for a letter he had received from Fritz Löbau, his former superior at the Rosslauer Werft, with whom he worked in 1947 Had tried out speedboats for the Soviets. Loebau had gone to the West and invited my father to visit West Berlin; fifty marks for travel money were enclosed with the letter. Although my father had not responded, the invitation or the acquaintance became his undoing; Löbau is said to have worked with the French secret service. ”A nautical specialist magazine of western origin found at Gauck's father is said to have served as evidence for the conviction of another 25 years for“ anti-Soviet agitation ”, but it was legally obtained by mail. The father was sent to a Siberian labor camp. After just one year, he had to be classified as "invalidated" and only had to do relatively light work.
The return of the father was a consequence of the Moscow negotiations of Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer ; it did nothing to change the hostile attitude of the entire family towards the SED government. Gauck later summed up that he " grew up with a well-founded anti-communism ".
Studies and pastorship (1958–1989)
Gauck used the opportunity to leave the GDR, which was still available until the construction of the Berlin Wall , to travel to the “West”, saw Paris at the age of fifteen, went on a bicycle tour in Schleswig-Holstein and frequently visited West Berlin . According to his own statements, however, he did not seriously think of " going over it ".
"I loved my homeland seriously, my West like a lover."
One year after graduating from high school, Joachim Gauck and his school friend Gerhild "Hansi" Radtke married. The church wedding was performed on August 22, 1959 by his uncle, the Güstrow cathedral preacher Gerhard Schmitt . Gauck's career opportunities were limited in the GDR . His dream job as a journalist was eliminated from the start under GDR conditions. Gauck, encouraged by his uncle, decided against an apprenticeship and in favor of studying theology , which he completed from 1958 to 1965 in Rostock. According to his own admission, he was initially not concerned with qualifying for a pastorate, but primarily with increasing philosophical knowledge and arguments against the Marxism-Leninism prescribed by the authorities . The theological faculties in the GDR offered freedom for this.
“My path to theology was not unusual in the GDR. Before and after me, many chose this profession for similar reasons - which explains the strong commitment of many pastors to the political development in 1989. […] In contrast to parental or state authority, faith offered the opportunity to entrust oneself to a truth that could not be commanded by anyone and taken from anyone. He conveyed a mysterious power that enabled us to maintain our minority status, to remain courageous where others had already adapted, and to regard decency, loyalty and faith as more important than prosperity, career or public success. "
After the GDR in 1962, conscription was introduced escaped Gauck, whose vintage was already mostly not feed, as registered student of the convocation . After his marriage and the birth of his sons in 1960 and 1962, but also because of difficulties in his studies, he got into an orientation crisis. A study extension was only granted to him in 1964 after a neurologist's assessment. Even after completing his studies, Gauck had not yet decided on the pastoral profession. It was only during his vicariate in Laage that Gauck found himself confident in contact with the parishioners that he was up to the pastor's office as a person and in faith.
“In meeting the parishioners, however, I lost the fear of being swallowed up by doubt. I was able to grow spiritually and radiate something myself. I learned that belief is actually a belief in spite of the fact, a belief even against the face of it; and that it is permissible to enter the circle of believers with doubt, to also live and preach with doubt. Without this experience I would probably not have endured life as a pastor, because I often reached the limits of my theological possibilities. "
After his ordination he worked from 1967 in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Mecklenburg as a pastor in rural and comparatively religious Lüssow and from 1971 in Rostock-Evershagen , where Gauck claims to have been successful in missionary work and as a district and city youth pastor.
Since 1974 employees of the Ministry for State Security (MfS) have observed Gauck's activities. According to this, he had described the government of the GDR as a “clique” to an unofficial employee (IM) in May 1974, for example, “which subjugated the people together with the MfS and the NVA”. About a peace service in 1982 it says: “G. drew comparisons to fascism in Germany and our socialist development in the GDR in his sermon on the subject of truth, truthfulness, peace. "The Stasi officers recommended the" initiation of targeted dismantling measures ". Nothing is known about the actual implementation of decomposition measures against Gauck. He had no contact with the good dozen fundamental opposition groups that had come together in Mecklenburg and Western Pomerania since the mid-1980s .
Between 1982 and 1990 Gauck was the head of the Kirchentag work in Mecklenburg. The 1988 Kirchentag (motto: "Building bridges") was already under the impression of the reforms of the Soviet party leader Mikhail Gorbachev . According to Gauck, they wanted to force the SED to enter into an unrestricted dialogue that the party leadership should express its opinion on the environmental, peace and human rights issues that are intensely discussed in church circles. One of the highlights of this Kirchentag was a speech by the former Federal Chancellor Helmut Schmidt from the pulpit of Rostock's Marienkirche .
Both the leadership of the Protestant regional church and Gauck did not want to give those wishing to leave a spectacular stage or support protest actions. The participating opposition Heiko Lietz was only appointed as leader of a thematic group in advance when he complained to Gauck. According to an interim report by the MfS on August 26, 1987, Gauck was “not interested in any topics [...] that are openly directed against the state of the GDR. [...] Although in political terms there are essentially the same objectives between "Larve" (Gauck) and Lietz, they differ significantly in their methodical approach "
Assessments of the Stasi and from the point of view of other people
After the Kirchentag, Stasi captain Terpe went to Gauck for a longer conversation, which he said was "pleasantly surprised". Terpe then noted that this conversation will cause Gauck to “rethink his stance on the MfS”, but also stated that Gauck “is not ready for constant regular contact because it contradicts his basic opinion and there are too many things in between stand us ”. In November 1988, the Stasi decided to drop the anti Gauck Operational process larva: "As part of the transaction processing a significant contribution has been reached to discipline larva. Based on the processing status, it can be estimated that it will currently not lead to any activities that require further processing in the OV. "
When the citizens' protest against the GDR authorities turned into a mass movement in the north of the country in the second half of October 1989, Gauck gave a sermon on the prophet Amos on October 19 in Rostock , in which he contrasted “killing self-righteousness” with “saving justice”. As a result, he also pleaded for staying in the GDR: “Those who leave us no longer hope.” Gauck saw the revolution of 1989 as a defining experience and described the slogan “ We are the people !” As a translation of the in The ideals of freedom, equality, fraternity laid out in the French Revolution in the protest against the SED regime. The slogan has awakened citizenship. She made people aware that people are not at the disposal of a seemingly eternally secure power, “but that it is us who are in charge”. People have asked themselves: “Is that me? Is that us Are we really that brave, we common cowards? "
Gauck's own statements about his relationship at the time with the state organs of the GDR and especially with the MfS were questioned in 2000 by Peter-Michael Diestel , the last GDR interior minister in the de Maizière cabinet. Diestel brought into the debate affidavits from former MfS and SED functionaries, according to which Gauck was a "beneficiary of the GDR regime", based on the index that Gauck's sons Christian and Martin - against their father's will - are leaving the GDR and were allowed to re-enter the country for a visit. Before the Higher Regional Court of Rostock Gauck was unsuccessful in his lawsuit against Diestel's statement (“beneficiary of the Stasi”), but they reached an out-of-court settlement.
The GDR civil rights activist and Der Freitag co-editor Wolfgang Ullmann (1929–2004) denied any form of collaboration between Gauck and the Stasi; he wrote: “Gauck adhered to the regulation in force in the Mecklenburg regional church to inform the church leadership of discussions with the MfS and thus to prevent any conspiracy. If Diestel wants to deny that, he bears the burden of proof, not Gauck, for example. ”The provisions of the Stasi Records Act on beneficiaries of the MfS also do not apply to Gauck.
The GDR oppositionist Hans-Jochen Tschiche criticized Gauck's title as a “civil rights activist” in the media and said that the opposition movement did not notice Gauck . Heiko Lietz, also co-founder of the New Forum, said that he had been built into a fictional character, for which he could not be held responsible. Gauck “rejected this state. He was reliable ”, but when the opposition networked across the country, illegally, with risks, Gauck was not there and was also not rooted in the peace movement . The former dissident Vera Lengsfeld replied that the term “civil rights activist” had been applied to all those who resisted the SED regime in autumn 1989, and Tschiche in particular clearly contradicted her. In this respect, “Gauck rightly carries him”. The civil rights activist Werner Schulz also classified him as a civil rights activist. The journalist Gerhard Rein described him as the “civil rights activist of the last hour”. The Times described him as a former dissident : "a former east German dissident priest, regarded by many as a moral authority."
Member of the People's Chamber of the GDR (1990)
Gauck stood in the Volkskammer election on March 18, 1990 in the Rostock district for the Alliance 90 list connection , to which the New Forum (NF) belonged, and was narrowly elected. As a member of parliament, he dealt primarily with the role of the Stasi in the GDR. Within the NF, Gauck, who had been released from daily church service since October 1989, campaigned for the unification of Germany. On May 31, 1990, Gauck justified the motion in the People's Chamber "to set up the special committee to control the dissolution of the MfS / AfNS". Representatives of the citizens' committees were included in the committee work in an advisory capacity. In the constituent meeting of the special committee on June 21, 1990, Gauck was elected chairman.
According to Gauck, one of the central problems within the responsibility of the committee was the composition of the state committee that had existed since February 1990 to dissolve the MfS / AfNS. He had tried to put trustworthy representatives from the citizens' committees at the side of former MfS members who knew the matter and opposed West German demands for the Stasi files to be transferred to the Koblenz Federal Archives , and he also prevented the deliberate destruction of these documents. Gauck saw the files as an important asset for the future shaping of democracy as well as an indispensable basis for the legal right of the injured citizens to rehabilitation and the possibility to prove the injustice suffered. He became one of the initiators of the law on the security and use of personal data of the former Ministry for State Security / Office for National Security , which was passed on August 24, 1990 by the People's Chamber.
On September 28, at the last working session of the People's Chamber, Gauck was elected special commissioner for the personal documents of the former State Security Service of the GDR and on October 3, 1990, the day the GDR joined the Federal Republic of Germany, by Federal President Richard von Weizsäcker and Chancellor Helmut Kohl confirmed as special commissioner of the federal government for the personal documents of the former state security service in this function.
Officer for the Stasi files (1990-2000)
On October 4, 1990, Gauck resigned his mandate as one of the 144 MPs that the People's Chamber had elected to serve in the 11th German Bundestag in accordance with the Unification Treaty. To this day, he is the MP with the shortest term of office. He was dismissed from service as a pastor in the Mecklenburg regional church in November 1990 at his own request. As a special representative, Gauck initially resided with only three employees in the vacated complex of the SED central committee in Behrenstrasse , before the authority moved to a building complex on Glinkastrasse that was used by the GDR Interior Ministry before 1989 .
When taking over the Stasi employees, on whom the state dissolution committee had already relied, a pragmatic course was followed, according to Gauck: "Some you could not do without because of their specialist knowledge, while others were not arrogant and hateful during the transition period, but rather cooperative and behave kindly towards civil rights activists . So I asked my confidants in Berlin and in the districts to give me the names of those who might be considered for a takeover, archives specialists and technicians. This request was later repeatedly the subject of violent polemics. "
As a non-lawyer, Gauck saw his main responsibility in a political guideline competence, but not in the specific structure of authorities. Gauck made the former head of department at the Bavarian State Commissioner for Data Protection and later the Protection of the Constitution - and BND President Hansjörg Geiger - his deputy . In early 1991 the foreign press began to notice Gauck. The New York Times dedicated a first article to him on January 20th:
"Mr. Gauck is the official guardian of millions of files that had been collected over the past forty years by agents of the now dissolved East German secret police, the Stasi. His calm insistence that the Germans must face the truth about the Stasi made him a hero for some, especially for the victims of the communist leaders who ruled East Germany until last year. Others, however, including some prominent politicians in Bonn, do not wish him well. "
With the entry into force of the Stasi Records Act on January 2, 1992, the name of this office changed again: Gauck was now Federal Commissioner for the records of the State Security Service of the former GDR . On the same day, interested parties concerned were granted access to files for the first time by the Gauck authorities upon request . According to his information, 420,000 requests for private access to files and 130,000 requests for verification of persons in the public service were made in the first hundred days.
During his term of office there was a legal dispute between the authority led by Gauck and the Prime Minister of Brandenburg, Manfred Stolpe . The Berlin Administrative Court ruled on June 3, 1993 that Gauck was no longer allowed to claim that Stolpe was an important unofficial member of the State Security. The court rejected Stolpe's request to ban Gauck from all previously judgmental statements.
Unsuccessfully, Gauck turned against the extension of the limitation period , which expired on December 31, 1997, for moderate crimes from the GDR era. In his opinion, the previous extension had not had sufficient success. A year later, however, he also spoke out against ending the coming to terms with the GDR past, as a large number of applications for access to files in his authority had still not been processed.
Gauck's first term of office lasted until 1995. On September 21, he was confirmed by the German Bundestag with a large majority as Federal Commissioner for another five years . Since the law only stipulates two terms of office for this function, Gauck vacated his position as head of the authorities on October 10, 2000 for his successor Marianne Birthler. The abbreviation “Gauck Authority”, later also “Birthler Authority”, became established due to the cumbersome official title.
Gauck was criticized for employing Stasi employees in his agency. This is the subject of a confidential “report on the employment of former MfS members at the BStU”, which was prepared by Hans H. Klein and Klaus Schroeder in 2007 on behalf of the Minister of State for Culture Bernd Neumann and published by WikiLeaks . For 1991 they reckoned with at least 79 former Stasi employees, including five former so-called unofficial employees: “Almost all former MfS employees had the possibility of abuse in the first years of the establishment of the agency. They were able to destroy, misplace or smuggle files out because, as security guards, archivists, magazine employees or researchers, they had partially unhindered and unsupervised access to both developed and undeveloped material. " “On January 1, 1997, 15 former full-time employees of the MfS were employed by the Federal Commissioner as salaried employees or workers”, the experts dismissed Klein and Schroeder as “wrong”, since at least 46 such persons were employed at that time, including Former security guards and bodyguards of the MfS, three former members of the MfS guard regiment as well as another 16 former full-time employees who were not mentioned. The authority management rejected the allegation with a view to the practice of other authorities at the time. Roland Jahn , Gauck's second successor as head of the authorities, managed to separate such employees and called the employment of former Stasi members a “slap in the face of the victims”.
After leaving the "Gauck Authority" (2000–2012)
Journalistic activity and political engagement
In the ten years up to his candidacy for the office of Federal President, Gauck appeared as a speaker and panelist at various events and talk shows. From January to November 2001 he moderated the fortnightly broadcast WDR program Joachim Gauck on ARD .
From 2003 until his election as Federal President, Gauck was chairman of the Association Against Forgetting - For Democracy , which campaigns for the confrontation with National Socialism and the SED dictatorship. After his election, he resigned from this honorary position. He pleads for the establishment of a center against evictions in Berlin.
From 2001 to 2004, Gauck was Germany's honorary member of the administrative board of the European Monitoring Center for Racism and Xenophobia in Vienna . He is one of the speakers at the Weikersheim Study Center and the Veldensteiner Kreis .
Since 2007 he has been the honorary chairman of the independent committee for the clarification of Stasi questions of the German Olympic Sports Confederation . He left this position when he took office as Federal President.
Candidate for the office of Federal President 2010
Gauck was nominated for the federal presidential election on June 30, 2010 at the suggestion of the chairmen of the SPD and Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen . He had already been discussed as a candidate for the election of the German Federal President in 1999 , but at that time only within the CSU and not beyond the “preliminary considerations” stage.
The 2010 candidacy met with criticism from some of Gauck's former colleagues. At the same time, an initiative promoted the election of Joachim Gauck : “Nobody embodies the spirit of freedom more than Joachim Gauck.” Gauck, who received a lot of approval in surveys, was more often portrayed as a “candidate of the people” by the media. It was shown that with his vita and his political views he could just as easily have been a candidate for the conservative-liberal camp. In fact, CDU and FDP politicians such as Jörg Schönbohm and Holger Zastrow also made positive comments about the candidate Gauck. Nevertheless, since the CDU / CSU and FDP with their candidate Christian Wulff provided 644 of the 1244 members of the Federal Assembly , he was given little chance of success. However, Wulff only reached an absolute majority in the third ballot with 625 votes, while Gauck each received more than 30 votes over the 462 seats of the SPD and the Greens. This was interpreted as a “memorandum” from dissatisfied MPs to the CDU / CSU and FDP leaders.
Private life and family
Joachim Gauck has been married to Gerhild "Hansi" Gauck (née Radtke ) since August 22, 1959 and has four children with her. These were subjected to repression in the GDR. His two sons were denied the Abitur in the extended high school or a degree. They left the GDR for the Federal Republic with their wives and children at the end of 1987. Christian Gauck studied medicine in Hamburg and works there as a doctor. The eldest daughter left for Bremen in the summer of 1989.
Gauck has been separated from his wife since 1991; the marriage was not divorced. Gerhild Gauck lives in Rostock, where she works on a voluntary basis in the Café Marientreff , a meeting place run by the Drehscheibe association. Joachim Gauck's partner was the ZEIT journalist Helga Hirsch from 1990 to 1998 . This is still his confidante and advisor. He has lived with the journalist Daniela Schadt since 2000 .
Joachim Gauck originally intended to stay in his apartment in Berlin-Schöneberg as Federal President . In order to avoid inconvenience for his neighbors due to the security requirements, he and Schadt moved in July 2012 to the service villa for Federal President, the former Villa Wurmbach on Pücklerstraße in Berlin-Dahlem .
Federal Presidency (2012 to 2017)
The election of the Federal President and its history
After the resignation of Federal President Christian Wulff on February 17, 2012 as a result of the Wulff affair , Chancellor Merkel announced a proposal for his successor, which should also be approved by the opposition parties SPD and Greens; She ruled out talks with the Left Party . Joachim Gauck was first brought up again as a candidate by the SPD and Bündnis 90 / Greens. On February 19, Gauck initially received support from the FDP, and later, under pressure, from the Union . In the evening the party leaders of the CDU / CSU, FDP, SPD and the Greens met in the Chancellery and presented Joachim Gauck as a joint candidate. On February 20, 2012, a survey of 1,122 respondents showed an approval of 69% for Gauck as Federal President (16% rejection, rest: no opinion).
Gauck's comments on Sarrazin , Occupy Wall Street , Stuttgart 21 , Hartz IV and data retention sparked a brief controversy over his suitability for the office. This debate was particularly carried out on social networks on the Internet. Individual politicians of the Greens then announced that they would reserve the right to reject Gauck. The thesis has been expressed in some media that the criticism takes Gauck's statements out of context and assumes positions that he did not represent.
On March 18, 2012, Gauck was elected 11th Federal President of Germany by the 15th Federal Assembly . He received 991 of 1228 valid votes. His term of office began in accordance with BPäsWahlG when he declared the election to the President of the Bundestag Norbert Lammert after the announcement of the election results in the Federal Assembly .
In July 2012 it was announced that the journalist and author Ferdos Forudastan , an expert on migration and integration issues, would become the new spokesperson for Federal President Gauck.
On September 8, 2015, Gauck, the oldest incumbent Federal President, overtook his predecessor Theodor Heuss , the first Federal President.
On June 6, 2016, Gauck announced that he would not be available for a second term as Federal President. On March 17, 2017, one day before the end of his term in office, Gauck was bid farewell as part of a big tattoo . For the Zapfenstreich he had chosen the songs Over seven bridges you must go by the GDR rock band Karat , the folk song Freedom, which I mean, and the hymn A solid castle is our God chosen by Martin Luther .
Visits abroad as Federal President
|March 26th and 27th||Warsaw ( Poland )||Meeting with President Bronisław Komorowski , Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Speaker of Parliament Ewa Kopacz|
|April 16th and 17th||Brussels ( Belgium )||Meeting with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen , the Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo , the president of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso|
|Strasbourg ( France )||Meeting with the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz|
|May 4th||Stockholm ( Sweden )||Meeting with King Carl XVI. Gustaf and with Queen Silvia of Sweden|
|May 5th and 6th||Breda and Amsterdam ( Netherlands )||During his visit, he was the first foreign head of state to deliver the keynote speech on May 5, on the occasion of the celebrations for the anniversary of the liberation from German occupation in Breda . Under the title "Celebrating Liberation - Living Responsibility" he emphasized the awareness of German guilt and remembered the more than 100,000 Dutch Jews killed. Gauck also commented on the war criminal Klaas Carel Faber of Dutch origin (who died shortly afterwards) , who had lived in Germany since 1952 and, as a German citizen, could not be extradited without his consent: "We have no interest in protecting criminals." He said but also, the legal system must of course be respected: "I am not a king."|
|Yalta and Crimea ( Ukraine )||On April 25, 2012 it was announced that Gauck had canceled the planned trip to Ukraine. Central European presidents were supposed to meet there - in Yalta in the Crimea . When the presidents of Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovenia boycotted the meeting, it was canceled. The background to this was deep concern about the fate of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko .|
|May 28th to 30th||Tel Aviv , Jerusalem and Rehovot ( Israel ), Ramallah and Burin ( Palestine )||In Israel, Gauck spoke out in favor of a two-state solution and a change in Israeli settlement policy . The “legitimate concerns of the Palestinian people” must be taken into account, as must Israel's right to live in peace and within secure borders. “The advocacy of Israel's security and right to exist” is “decisive for German politics”. Gauck said the Iranian nuclear program was "a threat not only to Israel, but also a potential threat to Europe," but warned against a military solution to the conflict. In Ramallah , Gauck met the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas .|
|June 11th||Chur ( Switzerland )||Talks with the Austrian Federal President Heinz Fischer , the Hereditary Prince Alois von Liechtenstein and the Swiss Federal President Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf at the meeting of the German-speaking heads of state|
|15th June||Rome ( Italy )||Meeting with the Italian President Giorgio Napolitano and the Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti|
|2nd July||Paris ( France )||Meeting with the French President François Hollande|
|July 27th and 28th||London ( United Kingdom )||Attended the 2012 Summer Olympics|
|August 2nd||Küstrin ( Poland )||Meeting with the Polish President Bronisław Komorowski , joint opening of the Przystanek Woodstock Music Festival|
|August 16||Vienna ( Austria )||Meeting with the Austrian Federal President Heinz Fischer and the Austrian Federal Chancellor Werner Faymann|
|August 29th and 30th||London ( United Kingdom )||Attended the 2012 Summer Paralympics|
|September 11||Copenhagen ( Denmark )||Meeting with Queen Margrethe of Denmark|
|October 10th||Prague ( Czech Republic )||Meeting with the Czech President Václav Klaus and the Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas|
|November 13th||London ( United Kingdom )||Meeting with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip|
|November 19th and 20th||Naples ( Italy )||Trilateral meeting with the Italian President Giorgio Napolitano and the Polish President Bronisław Komorowski|
|December 5th and 6th||Vatican City ( Vatican City ) and Rome ( Italy )||including private audience with Pope Benedict XVI.|
|December 7th and 8th||Zagreb ( Croatia )||including meeting with the Croatian President Ivo Josipović|
|December 17th to 19th||Mazar-e Sharif and Kabul ( Afghanistan )||Visit of German Bundeswehr troops and meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai|
|February 25||Geneva ( Switzerland )||Gauck gave a speech to the United Nations Human Rights Council , visited the Museum of the International Red Cross and visited the German School in Geneva to discuss human rights with students .|
|March 17th to 20th||Addis Ababa and Lalibela ( Ethiopia )||u. a. Meeting with the Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn , the Ethiopian President Girma Wolde-Giorgis and the chairman of the African Union Commission Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma|
|March 24th||Sant'Anna di Stazzema ( Italy )||Meeting with the Italian President Giorgio Napolitano|
|April 22||Strasbourg ( France )||Speech to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, visit to the European Court of Human Rights|
|May 8-12||Bogotá and Medellín ( Colombia )||
|May 13-16||São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro ( Brazil )||
|30th May||The Hague ( Netherlands )||Visit to the International Criminal Court , the International Criminal Court for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Court of Justice|
|July 5th and 6th||Savonlinna and Turku ( Finland )||
|July 6-8||Riga ( Latvia )|
|July 8th and 10th||Valmiera and Tallinn ( Estonia )|
|July 10-13||Vilnius , Palanga , Klaipėda and Nida ( Lithuania )|
|July 19||Salzburg ( Austria )|
|3rd to 5th September||Paris , Oradour-sur-Glane and Marseille ( France )||5. State visit: France There Gauck visited Oradour-sur-Glane , where soldiers of the Waffen SS murdered 642 of 648 villagers on June 10, 1944 . Before that, Gauck was in Sant'Anna di Stazzema (Tuscany), Lidice (Czech Republic) and Breda (Netherlands).|
|the 9th of September||Innsbruck ( Austria )||Participation in the meeting of German-speaking heads of state|
|October 7th and 8th||Krakow ( Poland )||Among other things, participation in a trilateral meeting with the heads of state of Poland and Italy|
|October 18||Słubice ( Poland )|
|10th of December||Johannesburg ( South Africa )||Participation in the memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela|
On December 8, 2013, Der Spiegel reported that Gauck had informed the Russian government last week that he would not be traveling to the Winter Olympics in Sochi in February 2014 . According to Spiegel information, the rejection should be understood as a criticism of human rights violations and the harassment of the opposition in Russia. In contrast, a spokeswoman for Gaucks stated that his decision not to attend the games should not be understood as a boycott. In 2010, the then Federal President Horst Köhler decided not to travel to the Winter Games in Vancouver .
|February 4th to 8th||New Delhi and Bangalore ( India )||state visit|
|February 9-12||Yangon and Naypyidaw ( Myanmar )||state visit
|March 5-7||Athens and Ioannina ( Greece )||state visit
|April 1st to 2nd||Bern and Geneva ( Switzerland )||Meeting with the Swiss Federal President Didier Burkhalter and tour of CERN|
|April 26-29||Kahramanmaraş , Ankara and Istanbul ( Turkey )|
|May 5th to 7th||Prague and Mladá Boleslav ( Czech Republic )|
|May 13th||Uddel ( Netherlands )||Visit to the I. German-Dutch Corps|
|June 4th||Warsaw ( Poland )||Participation in the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the first semi-free elections in Poland|
|June 7th||Kiev ( Ukraine )||Participation in the inauguration of Petro Poroshenko|
|June 10-13||Oslo and Trondheim ( Norway )||state visit|
|June 16||Budapest ( Hungary )||Meeting with the heads of state of Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia to commemorate the peaceful revolution of 1989|
|June 23-25||Lisbon and Sintra ( Portugal )||state visit
|July 13th||Rio de Janeiro ( Brazil )||Attendance of the final of the soccer world championship between Germany and Argentina|
|3rd August||Hartmannswiller ( France )||Visit to the Hartmannswillerkopf ; Participation in a commemorative event for the outbreak of the First World War 100 years ago, together with the French President François Hollande|
|4th of August||Liège , Leuven and Mons ( Belgium )||Participation in commemorative events for the outbreak of the First World War 100 years ago, together with other heads of state|
|August 30th||Maastricht ( Netherlands )||Participation in the celebrations for the 200th anniversary of the Kingdom of the Netherlands|
|September 1||Gdansk ( Poland )||Participation in the commemoration of the German invasion of Poland in 1939|
|September 24-27||Ottawa , Toronto and Québec ( Canada )|
|September 29th to 30th||Braga ( Portugal )||Meeting of the Arraiolos group|
|November 3rd to 5th||Luxembourg , Vianden , Schengen and Esch an der Alzette ( Luxembourg )|
|November 16 and 17||Bratislava ( Slovakia )||
Participation in the official celebrations with the presidents of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary (Visegrád states) and Germany on the occasion of "25 years of the Velvet Revolution"
|Prague ( Czech Republic )||
|November 25th and 26th||Ljubljana and Nova Gorica ( Slovenia )|
|11th December||Turin ( Italy )||Address at the opening of the first Italian-German dialogue forum|
|January 27th||Oświęcim ( Poland )||Participation in the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and Auschwitz-Birkenau|
|February 3rd to 6th||Dar es Salaam , Zanzibar , Arusha and Seronera ( Tanzania )|
|February 22||Kiev ( Ukraine )||Participation in the memorial march for the victims of the protests on the Maidan|
|March 20th to 24th||Lima , Ayacucho , Cusco , Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu ( Peru )||
|Montevideo ( Uruguay )||
The state visit to Uruguay - a meeting with the Uruguayan President Tabaré Vázquez was planned - was canceled. Federal President Gauck broke off his trip to South America due to the Germanwings plane crash in southern France and flew back to Germany from Peru.
|April 27||Vienna ( Austria )|
|April 27-29||Tunis and Siliana ( Tunisia )|
|April 29th and 30th||Valletta , Marsa and Attard ( Malta )|
|May 4th||Warsaw ( Poland )||Participation in the funeral service for Władysław Bartoszewski|
|July 13th to 15th||Dublin , Galway and Cliffs of Moher ( Ireland )|
|September 16 and 17||Vaduz and Triesenberg ( Liechtenstein )|
|October 6th to 8th||Philadelphia and Washington, DC ( United States )|
|October 10-14||Seoul and Paju ( South Korea )||
|October 15-16||Ulaanbaatar and Karakoram ( Mongolia )||
|December 5th and 6th||Tel Aviv and Jerusalem ( Israel )|
|December 7th and 8th||Amman and Azraq ( Jordan )||
|January 20th||Davos ( Switzerland )||Participation in the World Economic Forum|
|February 8-11||Abuja and Lagos ( Nigeria )||
|February 12th||Bamako and Koulikoro ( Mali )|
|March 8-10||Brussels , Antwerp , Mechelen , Liège and Eupen ( Belgium )||
|March 20th to March 25th||Beijing , Shanghai and Xi'an ( People's Republic of China )||
|April 13th||Turin ( Italy )||Participation in the Italian-German dialogue forum and meeting with President Sergio Mattarella|
|May 31st and June 1st||Orkney and London ( United Kingdom )|
|17th of June||Warsaw ( Poland )||Meeting with President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Beata Szydło|
|June 20-22||Bucharest and Sibiu ( Romania )|
|June 22nd to 24th||Sofia and Pirdop ( Bulgaria )|
|June 24th||Ljubljana ( Slovenia )||Meeting with President Borut Pahor and participation in the celebrations for the foundation of the state and the 25th anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Slovenia|
|July 11-13||Santiago de Chile ( Chile )||
|July 14th to 16th||Montevideo ( Uruguay )||
|September 7th and 8th||Brussels and Eupen ( Belgium )||Participation in the meeting of German-speaking heads of state|
|September 14th and 15th||Sofia and Plovdiv ( Bulgaria )||Participation in the meeting of the Arraiolos group|
|September 29th||Kiev ( Ukraine )||Participation in commemorative events marking the 75th anniversary of the mass executions of Babyn Yar|
|30. September||Jerusalem ( Israel )||Participation in the funeral services for former Israeli President Shimon Peres|
|November 10th||Gdansk ( Poland )||Visit to the European Solidarity Center|
|November 13th to 18th, 2016||Tokyo , Kyoto and Nagasaki ( Japan )|
|November 28th||Szczecin ( Poland )||Visit of the North-East Multinational Corps of NATO accompanied by the Polish President Andrzej Duda|
|January 25th and 26th||Paris ( France )||Meeting with the French President François Hollande and receiving an honorary doctorate from the University of Paris-Sorbonne|
|February 1st||Madrid ( Spain )||Lunch with the Spanish King Felipe VI. and Queen Letizia as well as a visit to the Museo del Prado|
|February 6th and 7th||The Hague and Maastricht ( Netherlands )|
|February 9||Riga ( Latvia )||Meeting with the Latvian President Raimonds Vējonis , the Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė and the Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid|
Reception and controversy
On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Walter Eucken Institute , Joachim Gauck gave a speech on January 16, 2014 in Freiburg im Breisgau and paid tribute to the neoliberal economist Walter Eucken . The chairman of the Left Party , Bernd Riexinger , then criticized Gauck's plea for more free market freedom as “very partisan interference”. According to Riexinger, neoliberalism is not a reason of state in Germany . "The Basic Law protects the welfare state and not all-against-all capitalism."
On June 27, 2014, the Federal President criticized Russia on the occasion of an exhibition opening on the centenary of the Sarajevo attack : “Russia's resistance to Ukraine rapprochement with the European Union has confronted us with patterns of thinking and behavior that we have long had on our continent overcame. What we are experiencing today is old thinking in spheres of power and influence - up to the destabilization of foreign states and the annexation of foreign territories. "
On September 1, 2014, on the 75th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II, Gauck gave a speech in Gdansk. In it he criticized the fact that Russia had de facto terminated the partnership with the West that had existed since the end of the East-West conflict , and alluded to the Russian annexation of Crimea and Moscow's support for the separatists in eastern Ukraine : "History teaches us that territorial concessions often only increase the appetite of aggressors, ”warned the Federal President. A number of renowned historians commented on Gauck's political statements and the historical references in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, some approvingly and some critically.
In a speech on April 23, 2015, Gauck described the Armenian genocide as “genocide”. The Turkish Foreign Ministry then criticized the Federal President's choice of words. Gauck has "no right to accuse the Turkish nation of a crime it has not committed". The Turkish people will “neither forget nor forgive” Gauck's statements.
Farewell speech as Federal President
On January 18, 2017, at the end of his term of office, Gauck gave a speech on the question “How should it look, our country?” In the FAZ it was said in summary that the “republican defense readiness” called for by Gauck would “in future” be the German democrats stronger than before ”,“ inside and out ”.
Gauck calls himself a “left, liberal conservative”, describes himself as an “enlightened patriot” and a “lover of freedom ”. His concept of freedom is based on the poet and politician Václav Havel and on the work Die Furcht vor der Freiheit by the social psychologist Erich Fromm . Gauck explains the special role of the freedom motif in one's own political thinking with the experience in the GDR. The common oppression led to intense experiences and to a counterculture in faith, in music and in poems, which contained hidden messages and strengthened awareness: “We claim a free space against them . […] There is also something disenchanting about understanding that life in freedom provides easy access to the essential things. Freedom, which has become normal, then seems quite banal. "
When the red-red coalition in Berlin wanted to introduce " Lebenskunde, Ethik, Religion " (LER) as a compulsory subject in addition to the optional religious instruction in Berlin schools in 2005 , Gauck signed a list in which religious instruction was requested as an alternative to LER. In an interview published in 2010 in the Süddeutsche Zeitung , Gauck commented on the issues of patriotism and capitalism , integration policy and the role of the media in democracy.
Advocate of parliamentary democratic structures
On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Volkskammer election on March 18, 1990 , Gauck, as Federal President, affirmed his advocacy of parliamentarism and party democracy in an article in Die Zeit . Although the turnout was owed by that time 93.4 percent of eligible participants in this first free and secret elections in the GDR unique circumstances, but the fact general conclusions could be derived: "pressure for change" would lead to increased voter turnout, as well as the general election in 1972 with 91.1 percent participation of the electorate showed when it came to the new Ostpolitik .
Meanwhile, voter turnout in eastern Germany is often lower than in the west, perhaps because of disillusionment and disappointment with the economic and social consequences of reunification . This means a practical test for representative democracy, in which communication between rulers and governed is to be strengthened. "Just as you use staff and other resources to research issues and turn them into political projects, politics must use more resources to explain in an understandable way what it is doing for the benefit of the population in the general interest."
Gauck explains that 25 years ago he expected more from plebiscite elements than he does today. The partial interests of a regional, numerically limited population group could easily gain disproportionate political influence through a referendum and would by no means automatically have more legitimacy than the decisions of elected bodies. The parties are required “to relate individual phenomena to the bigger picture and to translate conflicting interests into politics.” Every democratic election is great. “Because it confers a double dignity: it makes those who vote sovereign; and it gives the elected the dignity of legitimacy. "
Citizen participation and protests
Looking back on the political developments in 2010, Gauck emphasized in a conversation with the Tagesspiegel the need for greater political commitment by citizens. He advocated debates on more plebiscitary elements at the federal level and on the direct election of the Federal President. In a speech to scholarship holders of the German Academic Exchange Service , he complained about the "lack of culture of frustration" prevailing in Germany. He initially rated the citizens' protests against the Stuttgart 21 rail project as positive: "Regardless of how you rate the protests about Stuttgart 21 in terms of content, you have to be happy that citizens get up from their sofas and participate in the democratic decision-making process." however, he also faces a culture of protest that only “flares up when it comes to one's own front yard”.
To the totalitarianism debate
“A sober consideration of the political situation will still come to a judgment that classifies communism as totalitarian as well as national socialism . [...] The diversity of ideologies is immediately apparent. A comparison of the forms of government, the organs of the state and the written law also reveals greater differences than correspondences. However, anyone who compares the specific technique of rule, the subservient role of law and the permanent use of terrorism, will find similarities as well as when examining the consequences of state terrorist rule on citizens. "
Gauck's views have met with criticism. The educational scientist Micha Brumlik affirmed that National Socialism and Stalinism are morally equated. However, Gauck's political judgment was "understandably impaired by personal concern" when he declared all regimes of the Eastern bloc before 1989 to be cases of totalitarianism. Brumlik pointed out that the political theorist Hannah Arendt , to whom Gauck had also invoked, only described Stalinism in the Soviet Union and its satellite states after 1945, but not the post- Stalin era after 1953, as totalitarian.
In an interview with the weekly newspaper Die Zeit , Gauck emphasizes his general suspicion as an adolescent regarding the Nazi past of the parents' generation, his piercing interest in the role of his father during the Nazi era and his anger, which can only be explained psychologically, about "that he was so little was entangled. "The anti-fascist orientation of the early GDR Gauck denied the consequence and judged:" It was Stalinist terror with only selective anti-fascism. "
Attitude to individual parties
A speech given by Gauck in the Saxon state parliament in 2007 on the Day of German Unity was boycotted by the parliamentary group of the Left Party . In the course of his candidacy as Federal President in 2010, Gauck spoke out in favor of the surveillance of the party by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution and emphasized that he could "still see no link between the Left Party and the European democracy project". Gauck welcomed the distancing of the SPD from the left following his presidential candidacy in 2010; he recognizes that among the radicals of the Die Linke party - Gauck mentioned Ulla Jelpke and Sahra Wagenknecht - “many references to old, Bolshevik ideas. These are partly not only Marxist , but also Leninist echoes ”.
Gauck viewed the pirates' successes in the German party system up to 2012 as a "very interesting phenomenon": a state of mind turns into politically relevant action there. People wanted to participate by being elected to parliaments. That makes him happy. "We'll see when they bring which answers into the political discourse."
In 2013, Gauck described supporters of the NPD as a "nut". After a complaint by the NPD, the Federal Constitutional Court found that the word could be defamatory when viewed in isolation, but in the specific case it had been used as a collective term for people "who did not understand history and were unimpressed by the devastating consequences of National Socialism , represent right-wing extremist beliefs ”. Therefore the complaint of the NPD against Gauck's statement was unsuccessful.
In early November 2014, Gauck criticized in an interview with ARD the possible formation of a red-red-green coalition in Thuringia under the leadership of Bodo Ramelow . "People who experienced the GDR and who are my age have to work hard to accept this," he said in the report from Berlin . Politicians from the left and the SPD accused him of interfering in the formation of a government in Thuringia, while he was defended by politicians from the CDU, the Greens and the FDP.
Social policy, Agenda 2010
In 1990 Gauck outlined the majority wish in the New Forum for a socially structured market economy based on the basic statement: "We want social security and the market should apply, but it should not determine everything."
In 2010 he said with reference to social policy : “We do not like to ask ourselves whether solidarity and caring do not also contribute to making us slack.” It is “still the dream of the authorities who mean well to us and in whose care we can safely place ourselves ”. Gauck is considered a supporter of Gerhard Schröder's reform policy ( Agenda 2010 ), which he praised in an interview with Die Welt : “When Chancellor Schröder once raised the question of how much care the country could still afford, he took a risk. […] We need such attempts with courage again today. ”In the Berliner Zeitung he called the term Monday demonstration under the sign of social protests against Hartz IV“ foolish and forgotten about history ”. He explicitly supported the exercise of the right to demonstrate; but whoever demonstrates with good reason does not need a false label. In June 2010, Gauck said about retirement at 67 : “If the population is getting older, we have to think about the participation of the generations.” There are many good reasons for retiring at 67.
After his election as Federal President, Gauck said that he did not want “the welfare state to be damaged.” He appreciated a social policy that trains those who are socially deprived to get back into work processes, and that “not just sedatives”. For solidarity pact for the new federal states he said that money should be strengthened distributed to needy regions and not only by geographical criteria. During his travels to North Rhine-Westphalia , for example , he “saw situations that I no longer know from East Germany”.
Data retention, Wikileaks, whistleblowers
With regard to data retention , Gauck said in December 2010 at the Burgtheater in Vienna that he shared the concerns about the unprovoked storage of electronic communication data for all citizens, but did not see the Federal Republic in danger of becoming a spy state. While Gauck's remarks on data retention particularly worried the Working Group (AK) on data retention , support came from other sources. For example, security researcher Sandro Gaycken from the Free University of Berlin praised him for his "very calm and sensible attitude".
The publication of “stolen material” on the online whistleblower platform Wikileaks was criticized by Gauck: “I cannot accept that this is celebrated, that is an elementary loss of rights.” In 2007, Wikileaks had a confidential report on, among other things Stasi employees published in the authority of the Federal Commissioner for the Stasi files.
After the US surveillance program PRISM became known in mid-2013, Gauck said in the 2013 ZDF summer interview : “We do not want a society in which we have what has been so laboriously achieved, namely our civil liberties, in which they are undermined. And that's why I'm wide awake when it comes to organizing security measures. I don't want my family or anyone in the country to be left open to danger. I want defense - but it has to be proportionate. "When comparing the National Security Agency with the Ministry of State Security , Gauck explained:" We know, for example, that it is not like the Stasi and the KGB , that there are thick volumes of files, in which the content of our conversation is all written down and nicely filed [...] for the time being we tolerate - this is also possible under our law - that certain search terms can then also be checked - the traffic via mobile phones. If certain terms appear that indicate dangers, it is also possible in Germany to intervene here and secure information. ”When asked whether he had any understanding or even sympathy for the Prism revelator Edward Snowden , he replied that he needed it even more information. For Snowden he would then have sympathy and respect, "if a government is about to bend the law, and those who feel called to make this bend of the law public [...] are also prepared to take responsibility for it", whereas he has no understanding for “pure betrayal” or for exceeding commitments made by himself.
Bundeswehr and German mission in Afghanistan
During his inaugural visit as Federal President in June 2012, Gauck also spoke in general about German soldiers' missions abroad in front of the Bundeswehr leadership academy . His words met with some criticism in the media and the political public. Bearing in mind the various past experiences with the organization of the military in Germany, he said:
“What luck that, after all the crimes of the National Socialist dictatorship and after the horrors of war, it was possible to create such an army in this country: an army of the people, in the best, true sense, no state within a state, none Party army, but a 'parliamentary army', tied to democratic values, to the Basic Law and the Soldiers' Law; an army under the authority of a civilian, recruited from self-reliant citizens and today also women who are formed into critical spirits in institutions like this one; an army whose operations are subject to the approval of our representatives and - even if not sufficiently - are discussed publicly. [...] We do not want to be bothered with the thought that in the long term it could affect us too if states collapse or terror spreads elsewhere, if human rights are systematically disregarded. We don't like to think that there are war invalids in our midst again. People who paid for their commitment to Germany with their physical or mental health. And the fact that there are Germans killed again is difficult for society to bear. [...] Many see freedom and well-being as the responsibility of the state and democracy. Some confuse freedom with thoughtlessness, indifference and hedonism. Others are very good at exercising their rights or, if necessary, vehemently demanding them. And we tend to forget that a functioning democracy also requires commitment, attention, courage, and sometimes the utmost that a person can give: life, one's own life. [...] Here, in the Bundeswehr, I meet people who are willing to stand up for something - to a certain extent, 'courageous citizens in uniform'! "
2010 Gauck took the view that the German soldiers deployed in Afghanistan fought there on behalf of the United Nations against terrorists and also contributed well for the Afghan population. In response to criticism from the party Die Linke, he made it clear that he found the deployment “not good, but tolerable and justified” and accused opponents of the Afghanistan deployment for earlier support for liberation struggles on the part of the political left , tactical, but not to cultivate ethical pacifism .
In October 2011, Gauck criticized the amendment to the Atomic Energy Act , which in response to the Fukushima reactor disaster resolved to shut down all power plants by 2022 at the latest - and the extension of the term of the Christian-liberal government coalition previously set in 2010 was withdrawn: You cannot make such important political decisions depend on the sentiments of the nation. But this is exactly what the government under Angela Merkel did because the fear of the next election defeat guided political action.
On June 5, 2012, Gauck warned that the energy transition would not succeed with “planned economy regulations” alone, nor with “excessive subsidies”; instead he called for “convincing innovations” in the context of fair competition. This referred to the planned cut in solar subsidies in view of the sharp fall in module prices, which the Federal Council had initially stopped and referred to the mediation committee.
At the same time, in view of global warming and other environmental damage , he spoke out clearly in favor of the energy transition, for which a reliable political framework is needed in order to avoid what is harmful and to achieve what is desired. For him, a market-based, growth-friendly environmental policy means charging the costs of environmental pollution and environmental risks to the polluters, not to the taxpayers. In contrast, environmentally friendly production should pay off for companies in competition. Gauck warned against burdening future generations with the costs of environmental policy, since such an attitude would be “simply irresponsible”. Every life on earth can only develop “in harmony with nature”; therefore, in the long term, only what is ecologically sensible makes economic sense. On the occasion of Peter Altmaier's appointment as the new Federal Environment Minister, Gauck called for a binding global climate agreement .
Debate on Capitalism, Occupy Wall Street
In the GDR, Gauck said he was at times benevolent towards socialism , where he identified a closeness to Christian ideas and an attempt to develop an emancipatory society. During the time of reunification, however, he complained that the GDR adhered to “Marxist dogmas” and that there was no “further development of an effective economy”. On behalf of a majority of the New Forum, Gauck assumed “that there is no such thing as a socialist and a capitalist economy, but that there are economic laws that apply”.
Since then, Gauck has been an advocate of the market economy : Anyone who wants “everyone to be fine, that there is a diversification of property, wealth creation in the hands of employees” and “a social network that deserves this name”, must, according to Gauck, “unite wish very well functioning capitalism ”. "Those who love freedom will have to be comfortable with wanting freedom in economic processes too," he demands. The neo-liberals and others had felt "that may join to this freedom in the economy will to create and design elements from the political sphere, but without destroying this principle." For a "dull unenlightened anti-capitalism " rejects Gauck from because its concepts are not impacted. Nevertheless, capitalist economic systems should be judged just as critically as the various political directions: “It should and must be debated whether conservative, liberal or leftist ideas of a social market economy are more fair or offer better solutions for future crises.” The system is capable of learning and has Exemplary character, even the East Germans and the left professors "realized that we could not devise a new, third way ".
He was skeptical about the Occupy Wall Street movement . He went so far as to call the anti-capitalism debate “unspeakably silly”, a dreamy romantic notion in which one wanted to get rid of the ties to markets in the mistake that one's own alienation would then be over. He added: "I lived in a country where the banks were occupied." Scientists like Hubertus Buchstein and Dieter Rucht contradicted Gauck's assessment, because there are serious questions and real problems like the regulation of banks.
Islam in Germany
In an interview with ZEIT in May 2012, Gauck distanced himself from the statement made by his predecessor Wulff that Islam belongs to Germany. He couldn't take over this sentence like that,
“But I accept his intention. The intention was to say: folks, please take a deep breath and open yourself to reality. And the reality is that there are many Muslims in this country.
ZEIT: How would you have formulated the sentence, did you ask yourself that?
Gauck: I would have simply said that the Muslims who live here belong to Germany. In my inaugural address, I spoke of the commonality of the different. Behind this is an idea of home not through birth, but the affirmation of the place and the norms that apply in this place. Anyone who has come here and not only pays taxes, but also likes to be here, also because he has rights and freedoms here that he does not have where he comes from, belongs to us as long as he does not negate these principles. That is why one-sentence formulations about belonging are always problematic, especially when it comes to delicate things like religion. "
Wulff's remarks sparked a long debate in Germany in 2010. Gauck's position received a lot of approval in the media and the public.
Gauck spoke out in the context of a controversial debate about the book Germany gets rid of the former Berlin Finance Senator Thilo Sarrazin . He attested Sarrazin “courage” and commented on his statements: “There he [Sarrazin] points out a problem that has not been adequately solved. The other is his biological derivations. ”He judged Sarrazin:“ He spoke more openly than politics about a problem that exists in society. ”The political class can learn from Sarrazin’s book success that“ their language of political correctness Makes people feel that the real problems should be covered up ”. In an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung , he stated, referring to the book, that the problem of integration does not consist in “the fact that there are foreigners or Muslims - but rather it affects those who are left behind in this society. That is why it seems necessary, and this is my criticism of Sarrazin, to differentiate more precisely and not want to explain everything with a single biological key. And suddenly the hype turns into a sober debate. ”“ Such debates ”also include“ populist exaggeration ”.
Gauck promotes responsible capitalism (speech from November 15, 2012). One shouldn't deprive the economy of its freedom just out of fear. Gauck continues to see the need for changes, especially in the financial sector. This not only requires new rules - people have to rethink their attitude. In the current economy, two things have been separated that belong together: "The freedom to do something and the responsibility to take responsibility for it." However, responsibility should not be a business to the detriment of third parties. Gauck said that for a long time he was one of those who, when it came to regulation , believed that less was more. But now he says: “Free entrepreneurship needs limits.” Because he recognized that without limits, freedom and responsibility would not be considered equally everywhere. Acting responsibly would mean for him "to be a friend of borders out of freedom", because the few who would take the liberty of not being responsible for anything "destroy the prerequisites of freedom". It is true that boundlessness can create “unheard of heights”. "But for many others, boundlessness does not create a living space, it creates a desert."
"New Power - New Responsibility"
On January 31, 2014, Gauck opened the 51st Munich Security Conference (MSC) with a keynote address on Germany's role in the world ; it was the first time that a German head of state performed this task. The MSC is considered to be the central place for the transatlantic exchange of views. Gauck formulated a plea for a fundamental realignment of German foreign and security policy, that Germany must become more involved internationally - including with military means. The Federal Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen and the German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier followed suit . This paradigm shift from a “culture of military restraint” in the Federal Republic of Germany until 1990 to a “culture of the ability to fight” was prepared over a year. At the end of 2012, two think tanks , the Science and Politics Foundation (SWP) and the German Marshall Fund (GMF), gathered a group of over 50 politicians, professors, representatives of the Foreign Office and other ministries as well as the Chancellery , as well as two editors from Die Zeit and der FAZ to think about foreign policy. The project was financed by the Foreign Office's planning staff. "New power, new responsibility" was the title of the project report in autumn 2013 ( list of those involved in the project New Power - New Responsibility ). The project manager Constanze Stelzenmüller stated: "We deliberately did not publish this during the election campaign, but rather at the coalition negotiations". The Gauck speech of January 2014 presented the essential elements of the project report to a broader public, which in fact served as a blueprint, with some even word for word core statements from "New Power - New Responsibility" being adopted.
A survey carried out especially for the "Munich Security Report 2015" (commissioned by the Hamburg Körber Foundation ) showed that German citizens increasingly rejected a "more active role" for German foreign policy in international crises - in 2014 60% rejected this (2015: 62%) ) the German citizen plays a “more active role”. Only 34% (2014: 37%) are in favor of greater involvement.
Refugee influx 2015
In a speech at the 40th Intercultural Week on September 27, 2015, Gauck was deeply impressed by the helpfulness and commitment of the "many thousands of voluntary and full-time helpers" in dealing with the current influx of refugees in Germany. At the same time, he addressed widespread concerns about possible excessive demands in the future: “We want to help. Our heart is wide. But our possibilities are finite. "
In addition to the prescribed order, flexibility and imagination are currently needed, a creative attitude "that does not say why something is impossible, but asks how it becomes possible." Fast action is required to avoid tensions between newcomers and the local population. The gyms, swimming pools and green areas used for other uses would not be considered for the establishment of emergency shelters in the long term. The integration of those entitled to stay must be accelerated, especially in the linguistic area, in working life and in associations.
Under the impression of historical experience, Germany was a country that had to offer refuge from war and persecution. In order to be able to do this while maintaining the internal order, it is also necessary that “states and an association of states like the European Union protect their outer borders.” Gauck appealed to those admitted to get involved in the German language, with neighbors and new ones Environment, on a land of justice and freedom, human rights and gender equality. He urged fellow citizens: “When we name problems and list difficulties, it should not weaken our compassion - our heart. Rather, it should activate our intellect, our political reasoning [...] So we will remain what we have become: a land of confidence. "
In his speech on the 25th anniversary of German unity on October 3, 2015, Gauck emphasized that the task of internal unity in Germany was being reassigned in view of the large number of refugees, "those in the face of wars, authoritarian regimes and crumbling states to Europe, to Germany be driven. ”This is a challenge that will occupy generations. Compared to 1990, it is about a more complicated growing together with people of different countries of origin, religions, skin colors and cultures. Gauck addressed the different attitudes in individual member states of the European Union towards the influx of refugees and asked for understanding: Even in reunified Germany, the attitude towards refugees was partly due to historical peculiarities that can be attributed to the fact that West Germans had been around for decades can get used to becoming a country of immigration, while East Germans hardly came into contact with immigrants until 1990.
Activities and statements after the Federal Presidency
After his term in office ended in January 2017, Gauck was invited by Rector Anja Steinbeck to the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf , where he accepted the Heine visiting professorship for 2018 . In the winter (January 31) and summer semesters (April 18, 2018) he gives a lecture on the topic of his own choice, "Thinking about what is one's own and what is foreign". On February 1, he also took part in an in-depth panel discussion, moderated by the Journalist Ulrich Wickert , who, before Gauck, held the Heine visiting professorship for 2016 with three events on the subject of “Journalism, Power and Responsibility”.
In August 2017, Spiegel reported on the costs that Gauck caused as former Federal President. The annual personnel costs for office manager, speakers, secretary and chauffeur alone amount to 385,000 euros. The office manager is classified as a ministerial conductor in salary group B 6, which otherwise only senior officials are entitled to. As Gauck's office manager in the presidential office, he received at least 1500 euros less per month. The state also grants all other former federal presidents five employees, including a company car and office. At Gauck, however, the cost range is surprising. Gauck received nine offices on the first floor of the Bundestag building with a total of 197 square meters. Gauck's office area was rebuilt for 52,000 euros. The furnishing of Gauck's personal office space cost 35,000 euros.
Occasionally Gauck expresses himself on political and social issues. In an interview in June 2018, he complained to Bild that some migrants were not willing to integrate: “I find it unacceptable if people who have lived in Germany for decades cannot speak in German, do not attend or attend parenting evenings for their children even keep them away from classes or sports. ”Gauck opposed“ false consideration ”for fear of being seen as a xenophobia. In 2019 Gauck said that many East Germans lacked the "absolute will to assert themselves". They could not have developed a competitive mentality like their compatriots in the west naturally.
On June 15, 2019, in an interview with the news magazine Der Spiegel , Gauck called for an "extended tolerance towards the right ". Gauck explained that tolerance demands "not everyone who is heavily conservative is seen as a danger to democracy and would prefer to push them out of the democratic game." A distinction must be made “between right-wing - in the sense of conservative - and right-wing extremist or right-wing radical.” A line must be drawn there “when people are discriminated against or disregard the law”. However, one has to argue about where this limit is reached. If the Basic Law is not questioned, but only unpleasant theses are uttered, this is an expression of an open society . In the Frankfurter Rundschau , Katja Thorwart criticized the fact that Gauck had named the former chairman of the CDU / CSU parliamentary group Alfred Dregger , who did not classify the National Socialist war of aggression against the Soviet Union as fundamentally wrong, as an example of his formulation "heavily conservative" I used the release of imprisoned German war criminals or marked the term “ liberation ” by the Allies as “one-sided” during World War II. Gauck would certainly like to know "only differentiated right from right-wing radicals ", but is putting himself "on very thin ice" because, as the example of Dregger makes clear - "the boundaries here are fluid". For the Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung , these statements damage “Joachim Gauck's term of office in retrospect”. With reference to the murder case of Walter Lübcke that happened at the same time and the "mockery of dissidents" that preceded such an act, she wrote: " Walter Lübcke would possibly still be alive if this society weren't so terribly tolerant of intolerance."
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- 1992: On the dignity of the oppressed . 1992 (article).
- 1993: loss and arrogance. A chapter about the subject as an inhabitant of modernity . 1993 (article).
- 1994: The legacy of the Stasi files . In: German Studies Review 17 . Totalitarian rule - totalitarian inheritance . 1994, p. 187-198 , JSTOR : 40575005 .
- 1995: “I have a choice!” Remembrance of dictatorship in democracy . In: Ilko-Sascha Kowalczuk , Ulrike Poppe & Rainer Eckert (eds.): Between self-assertion and adaptation. Forms of resistance and opposition in the GDR. Ch. Links, Berlin 1995, ISBN 3-86153-097-X .
- 1997: Constitutional Understanding in East Germany . In: Stephan Detjen (Ed.): In the best possible condition ?! 50 years of the Basic Law . Accompanying volume for the traveling exhibition of the Federal Agency for Civic Education and the Federal Bar Association. O. Schmidt, Cologne 1999, ISBN 3-504-10003-6 , pp. 213-217 .
- 1998: With Ehrhart Neubert : The coming to terms with socialism in the GDR . In: The Black Book of Communism - Oppression, Crime and Terror . Piper Verlag (German edition), Munich 2004, ISBN 3-492-04053-5 .
- 2002: Mentality and change in mentality in post-totalitarian societies. The situation of the Germans after 1945 and 1989 . In: Ibrahim Özkan, Annette Streeck-Fischer, Ulrich Sachsse (eds.): Trauma and Society. Past in the present . 1st edition. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht ,, Göttingen 2002, ISBN 978-3-525-45893-8 , pp. 12-33 .
- 2007: Germans' experiences of dictatorship in the 20th century and what we can learn from them . In: Series of publications on the fundamentals, goals and results of the parliamentary work of the CDU parliamentary group in the Saxon state parliament . tape 42 . Dresden 2007.
- 2009: Winter in Summer - Spring in Fall: Memories . Siedler Verlag, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-88680-935-6 .
- 2009: The escape of the inmates. Freedom as a risk . In: Setting the course for the future . Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung , Sankt Augustin / Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-941904-20-0 .
- 2010: Justice, reconciliation and punishment as social and political challenges . In: Michael Bongardt (ed.): Reconciliation, punishment and justice: the heavy legacy of injustice states . Göttingen 2010, ISBN 978-3-7675-7132-7 , p. 17-28 (contexts; 40).
- 2012: freedom. A plea . Kösel, Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-466-37032-0 .
- 2019: with Helga Hirsch : Tolerance: simply difficult . Herder, Freiburg 2019, ISBN 978-3-451-38324-3 .
- July 19, 1996: Submission, adaptation, resistance - remarks on life under totalitarian rule - lecture in the Otto-Braun-Saal of the State Library of Prussian Cultural Heritage, Berlin (PDF; 89 kB)
- November 9, 1999: Speech on the 10th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall - special event in the German Bundestag (DOC; 29 kB)
- March 28, 2006: What memories does Europe need? , Foundation lecture of the Robert Bosch Stiftung as part of the lecture series "Building Europe, Shaping Change" in Stuttgart (PDF; 2.9 MB)
- April 21, 2009: 3rd Berlin speech on freedom at the Brandenburg Gate (video; 1:07:43)
- October 10, 2010: Laudation for the award of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade to David Grossman
- 2010 Lecture: The Unjust State of the GDR: Arbitrariness, violence, power . In: Unrechtsstaat DDR: Arbitrariness, power, violence; 21st Bautzen Forum of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Leipzig Office, May 6th and 7th, 2010 , documentation. Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Leipzig Office, 2010, pp. 23–38.
- Keynote address, Deutsches Theater , Berlin, June 22, 2010
- 2011: Joachim Gauck: Freedom, Responsibility, Community Spirit - Challenges for Citizens, State and Politics ( Info and Video ( Memento from June 20, 2011 in the Internet Archive ))
- 2011: Keynote speaker at the Salzburg Festival : "The spoken word counts!"
- September 19, 2011: Laudation at the presentation of the 2011 Human Rights Prize of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation to the Tunisian blogger Slim Amamou and the Egyptian blogger Khaled Said (posthumously)
- March 18, 2012: Speech to the Federal Assembly ( text and video )
- March 23, 2012: Speech after being sworn in as Federal President in the German Bundestag ( text and video )
- February 22, 2013: " Bellevue Forum ", speech on perspectives for the European idea ( text )
- July 20, 2013: Address at the solemn vow of soldiers of the Bundeswehr on the anniversary of the assassination attempt on July 20, 1944 ( text )
- September 4, 2013: Speech in Oradour-sur-Glane ( text ). During a state visit to France, Gauck gave this speech and looked back at the Oradour massacre .
- October 3, 2013: “Ceremony for the Day of German Unity” ( text ). Gauck names and describes three major challenges: demographic change, digital revolution and Germany's role in the world.
|Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany|
|Order of the Marienland Cross, IV class, received in 2005|
|insignia in Bellevue Palace when taking office as Federal President|
|Order of St. Charles , received in 2012|
|Merit of the Italian Republic , received in 2013|
|Order of the Marienland Cross , received in 2013|
|Order of the Falcons , obtained in 2013|
|Order of Vytautas the Great , obtained in 2013 (Decree: 1K-1511)|
|Legion of Honor , received in 2013|
|Saint Olav , received in 2014|
|Order of the White Lion , obtained in 2014|
|Order of El Sol del Perú , obtained in 2015|
|Order of the Bath , received in 2015|
|Order of Stara Planina , received in 2016|
|Leopold , received in 2016|
|Royal Order of the Seraphines , received in 2016|
Awards and honors
Honorary doctorates were among others in 1999 by the Faculty of Theology him University of Rostock , 2001 by the Faculty of Arts University of Jena , 2005 Social Sciences Philosophy of the faculty of the University of Augsburg , in 2015 by the National University of Ireland in Galway and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem awarded and In 2017 from the Paris Sorbonne , the Académie française , the University of Maastricht , the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster and in 2018 from the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel .
- 1991: Theodor Heuss Medal , representing "The peaceful demonstrators of autumn 1989 in the former GDR"
- 1996: Hermann Ehlers Prize
- 1997: Hannah Arendt Prize together with Freimut Duve
- 1999: Imre Nagy commemorative plaque in Budapest.
- 1999–2000: Visiting professor at the University of Lübeck
- 2000: Dolf Sternberger Prize
- 2000: Wartburg Prize in Eisenach
- 2000: Cicero Speaker Prize (Politics category) awarded for promoting speech culture
- 2001: Erich Kästner Prize
- 2002: Wittenberg Award from the American Luther Institute, Washington, DC
- 2002: Golden Lot , an honor from the Association of German Surveying Engineers
- 2003: Courage Prize from the Lower Saxony city of Bad Iburg ( Osnabrück district )
- 2005: Heinz Herbert Karry Prize , Frankfurt am Main
- 2008: Thomas Dehler Prize in Munich
- 2010: " Golden Hen " in Berlin's Friedrichstadt-Palast
- 2010: Geschwister-Scholl-Preis Munich for his work Winter in Summer - Spring in Autumn
- 2010: " Victoria of Honor ", Prize of the Association of German Magazine Publishers
- 2010: The International German PR Award
- 2011: Ludwig Börne Prize
- 2011: Hambach Prize
- 2011: " Sharpest Blade ", honorary award from the city of Solingen
- 2012: Honorary citizen of his native Rostock
- 2012: Patron of the German War Graves Commission
- 2014: Leo Baeck Medal
- 2017: Ewald von Kleist Prize
- 2017: Dr. Leopold Lucas Prize
- 2017: Ukrainian Order of Freedom
- 2017: Bambi 2017 category Millennium
- 2018: International Prize of the Friedrich-August-von-Hayek-Foundation
- 2018: Reinhard Mohn Prize
- 2018: Visiting professor at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
- 2018: Carlo Schmid Prize
- 2018: Winfried Prize of the City of Fulda
- 2018: Simon Snopkowski Prize
- 2018: Award of the Mercator professorship from the University of Duisburg-Essen
- 2018: European Craft Prize
- 2018: Freedom Prize from the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for freedom
- 2018: Wilhelm Leuschner Medal of the State of Hesse
- 2019: Max Imdahl guest professorship at the Ruhr University Bochum
- 2019: Holder of the 21st Johannes Gutenberg Endowed Professorship for the 2020 summer semester
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- cit. based on Klaus Blessing / Manfred Manteuffel, Joachim Gauck, The right man ?, edition berolina, Berlin, 2014, 7th edition, p. 172 f.
- cit. according to Klaus Blessing / Manfred Manteuffel, Joachim Gauck, The right man ?, edition berolina, Berlin, 2014, 7th edition, p. 53.Facsimile of the judgment p. 50ff - hearing of September 22, 2000 (AZ 3 O 245/00 ). "The plaintiff (Gauck) has no claim against the defendant (Diestel) to omit the statement that he is a 'beneficiary' within the meaning of the Stasi Records Act."
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- Quoted in Robers 2000, p. 79 f.
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- Quoted in Robers 2000, p. 126.
- See the law (PDF; 331 kB) and the minutes of the meeting of the People's Chamber (PDF; 2.1 MB). In place of the People's Chamber Act , the Stasi Records Act passed by the German Bundestag came after reunification . See also description of BArch DA 1/16631 - digitization and online placement of the DA 1 Volkskammer of the GDR, part 10th electoral period ( memento of February 8, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) ( Federal Archives ).
- Press Regional Bishop Dr. von Maltzahn on the nomination of Joachim Gauck , press office of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Mecklenburg, February 20, 2012.
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- Gauck 2009a, p. 252 f.
- Gauck 2009a, p. 253.
- This short form - hereafter also "Birthler Authority" - became popular because of the bulky official title.
- Gauck 2009a, p. 270 f.
- ARD Tagesschau on June 3, 1993, 20:00 .
- Chronology of the BStU for the year 2000 ( Memento from June 10, 2011 in the Internet Archive ).
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- Benedict Maria Mülder: Shining light with a shadowy side , Der Tagesspiegel of December 27, 2011.
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- DOSB homepage Retrieved on May 1, 2012.
- PR of the DOSB of April 25, 2012 ( Memento of May 16, 2012 in the Internet Archive ). Retrieved April 25, 2012.
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|ALTERNATIVE NAMES||Gauck, Joachim Wilhelm (full name)|
|BRIEF DESCRIPTION||German pastor and politician (Neues Forum), Member of the Bundestag, Member of the Bundestag, first Federal Commissioner for the Stasi files, eleventh Federal President of the Federal Republic of Germany|
|DATE OF BIRTH||January 24, 1940|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Rostock|