Josef Joffe

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Josef Joffe (2012)

Josef Joffe (born March 15, 1944 in Łódź ) is a German publicist , publisher and lecturer . He has been editor of the German weekly newspaper Die Zeit since April 2000 .


Youth and Studies

Joffe came during the German occupation in the Polish city of Lodz to the world by the Nazis during the Second World War in Lodz was renamed. His family was of Jewish faith and after the end of the war moved to the Allied occupied West Berlin , where he spent the rest of his youth. Joffe then studied in the USA , where he received his MA in International Studies from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in 1967 and his Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard University .


Joffe began his journalistic career in 1976 with the weekly newspaper Die Zeit , first as a political editor, then as head of the Dossier department . From 1985 to 2000 Joffe was head of the foreign policy department at the Süddeutsche Zeitung . In April 2000 he became editor of Die Zeit alongside Helmut Schmidt , while Theo Sommer took on the task of "Editor at large". In January 2001 Michael Naumann also became editor of the Zeit . From 2001 to 2004 Joffe was also editor-in-chief of the newspaper together with Naumann.

His essays and articles have appeared in well-known media abroad: the New York Review of Books , the New York Times Book Review , the Times Literary Supplement , in Commentary , in the New York Times Magazine , in the New Republic , the Weekly Standard , in Prospect (London) and Commentaire (Paris). He is a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal , the New York Times and Washington Post , Time and Newsweek .

According to Joffe, he tries to avoid a rigid assignment to certain groups. He finds "ideas more interesting than identities". With the editorial management of Zeitdossiers and in his current position as editor, Joffe was not limited to a specific topic for a long time. One focus of his articles, books and research is on foreign policy issues and the international position of the Federal Republic and Europe in relation to the USA and Israel. The range of his work shows u. a. his participation, together with his wife, in the translation of Art Spiegelman's comic mouse - The story of a survivor into German. He also publishes automobile columns in the Zeit supplement

At the beginning of the Iraq war, Joffe was considered a supporter of US policy and a critic of the position of the German government. In view of the possible threats from Iran , he has since changed this position and considers the Iraq war to be a strategic error, especially for the Americans. In the Ukraine crisis , he described critics of American foreign policy as “understanding Russia” and accused them of trivializing, optimism and helplessness.


Josef Joffe at the Munich Security Conference 2014 (1st from right)

Joffe was and is involved in numerous organizations, boards of trustees and committees, such as the Deutsches Museum in Munich, the Aspen Institute Berlin, Jacobs University Bremen , the Atlantik-Brücke (until 2008) of the Hoover Institution and the American Academy in Berlin . As a representative of the restoration of the traditional German Reform Judaism , he is involved, among other things, as chairman of the board of trustees of the Rabbinical Seminary named after Abraham Geiger . He is also a member of the board of directors of the Leo Baeck Institute in New York, of the Ben Gurion University of the Negev and of the youth education center Humanity in Action in Berlin. He is an advisory board member of Hypovereinsbank , the Goldman Sachs Foundation , a member of the Trilateral Commission , the International Institute for Strategic Studies and the Munich Security Conference . He is an advisory board member of the Aspen Institute , an author and a board member of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies.

He is also a member of the following editorial boards: “ International Security ” (Harvard / MIT), “The American Interest” (Washington), “Prospect” (London) and “ Internationale Politik ” (Berlin).

Membership in, but not participation in, some of the institutions mentioned is contested by Joffe. Joffe was accused of networking with think tanks and political elites in the ZDF cabaret show " Die Anstalt " on April 29, 2014 . Joffe rejected this and described the study by Uwe Krüger on which the program was based as "not a good science". He obtained a temporary injunction against the ZDF at the Hamburg Regional Court , according to which the ZDF was not allowed to claim that he was a member, advisory board or board member of eight organizations, whereby the injunction was revoked. In the main proceedings, his complaint regarding the satirical nature of the program was dismissed in November 2014. The Hanseatic Higher Regional Court in Hamburg overturned this judgment on Joffes appeal on September 9, 2015. On January 10, 2017, the Federal Court of Justice rejected the judgment of the Hamburg Higher Regional Court and followed the opinion of the first instance that the satirical presentation of a situation may also contain inaccuracies. Accordingly, Joffes lawsuit was ultimately dismissed.


As a lecturer in international politics, Joffe taught in Munich, at Johns Hopkins University , at Harvard and at Stanford .


Joffe lives in Hamburg, is married to the journalist Christine Brinck and has two daughters, the model Jessica Joffe and the curator Janina Joffe.



  • Peace without weapons? The dispute over retrofitting. Heyne, Munich 1981, ISBN 3-453-01524-X .
  • That was the eighties. Looking back on a decade ahead. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1982, ISBN 3-499-14887-0 (together with Michael Naumann and others)
  • Eroding Empire. Western relations with Eastern Europe. The Brookings Institution, Washington, DC 1987, ISBN 0-8157-3213-9 .
  • The Limited Partnership. Europe, the United States, and the burdens of alliance. Ballinger, Cambridge, Mass. 1987, ISBN 0-88730-216-5 .
  • A Century's Journey. How the great powers shape the world. Basic Books, New York 1999, ISBN 0-465-05475-7 (with Robert A. Pastor et al.).
  • The hyperpower. Why the US rules the world. Hanser, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-446-20744-9 .
  • Think more beautifully. how to be politically incorrect. Piper, Munich 2007, ISBN 3-492-05016-6 (together with Dirk Maxeiner , Michael Miersch , Henryk M. Broder ).
  • Hyperpower and Peace Power: The Future of European-American Relations . Robert Bosch Foundation, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-939574-07-1 .
  • Don't make yourself so small, you are not that big. Jewish humor as wisdom, wit and weapon. Siedler Verlag, 2015.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b Chronicle . Zeitverlag Gerd Bucerius GmbH & Co. KG. Retrieved April 15, 2013.
  2. Dr. Josef Joffe . Robert Bosch Foundation. Retrieved April 15, 2013.
  3. a b c Josef Joffe, PhD ( English ) Stanford University. Archived from the original on August 7, 2014. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
  4. «I'm not a Giordano» . Jewish newspaper. September 2006. Archived from the original on July 16, 2010. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
  5. Christine Brinck and Josef Joffe: Audi Q3 2.0 TDI quattro: From A to B. In: December 11, 2012, accessed December 2, 2014 .
  6. Another war . Time online. October 4, 2001. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
  7. ^ Cowboy imperialist, stupid socialist, restrained pacifist . Time online. 2002. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
  8. "The wrong pig slaughtered" . ORF. October 5, 2006. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
  9. Josef Joffe: Russia understanders - psychologists, ultra-realists, business representatives: A small typology by Josef Joffe. In: March 20, 2014, accessed December 2, 2014 .
  10. Committees . Abraham Geiger College. Archived from the original on November 19, 2013. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
  11. - ( Memento from May 19, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  12. [1]
  13. [2]
  14. International Security - Editorial Board ( English ) Harvard University. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
  15. Masthead . The American Interest. Archived from the original on September 10, 2006. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  16. Staff . Prospect. Archived from the original on April 27, 2006. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  17. [3]
  18. Marcus Klöckner: Editorial writers and power elites. In: Telepolis. May 23, 2014, accessed December 2, 2014 .
  19. [4]
  20. [5]
  21. ^ "Zeit" editor Josef Joffe fails with lawsuit against ZDF. In: Hamburger Abendblatt. November 21, 2014, accessed December 13, 2014 .
  22. ↑ Findings of the verdict at
  23. ^ LTO: The institution loses before the Hamburg Higher Regional Court against Die Zeit. Retrieved October 7, 2019 .
  24. Markus Kompa: Hamburg Higher Regional Court is not a joke: satirists have to research carefully. Retrieved October 7, 2019 .
  25. ^ "Zeit" journalists fail with lawsuit against ZDF satire , Spiegel-Online from January 10, 2017
  26. Profile at the M100 media conference in Potsdam ( Memento from September 12, 2012 in the web archive ) via Internet Archive
  27. [6]