Martin Sonneborn

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Martin Sonneborn, MEP, in Strasbourg (2014)

Martin Hans Sonneborn (born May 15, 1965 in Göttingen ) is a German satirist , journalist and politician . In the 2014 European elections , he was elected a member of the European Parliament as the lead candidate of the Party for Labor, the Rule of Law, Animal Welfare, Promotion of Elites and Grassroots Democratic Initiative (Die PARTEI), of which he is the federal chairman , and moved into parliament again in 2019 .


Sonneborn in Stauffenberg disguise with party colleagues Nico Wehnemann and Maximilian Hahn at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2018
Martin Sonneborn (2014)

Sonneborn grew up with his brother as the son of a career advisor ( Engelbert Sonneborn ) and a housewife. He attended the Ursulaschule , a Catholic private high school in Osnabrück , where he passed his Abitur. After completing basic military service and completing an apprenticeship as an insurance salesman in Osnabrück, he studied journalism , German and political science in Münster , Vienna and Berlin . He wrote his master's thesis on the satirical magazine Titanic and the potential effects of satire . In 1995 he did an internship at the satirical magazine Eulenspiegel and then worked as an editor for the competing magazine Titanic , of which he became editor-in-chief in 2000. In October 2005, he handed this position over to his editorial colleague Thomas Gsella . From 2006 to 2016, Sonneborn was the editor in charge of the satire column “Spam” on Spiegel Online until it was discontinued.

Sonneborn is married to an Armenian woman and has two daughters.

Satire actions

His attempt at bribery at FIFA " How Titanic once brought the 2006 World Cup to Germany " caused a stir .

Sonneborn appeared together with editorial colleagues of the Titanic several times as a supposed politician of major German parties and parodied state and federal political election campaigns with fictitious political positions and statements :

  • In Eisenach , Thuringia , he appeared as a supposed FDP politician in the street election campaign, using slogans such as “Germans defend yourselves - Vote FDP” and “Finally give Friedman - Jew-free and have fun with it.” The background was attacks by the then FDP top politician Jürgen W. Möllemann on the journalist and politician Michel Friedman .
  • In Hesse in 2003, Martin Sonneborn posed as the SPD top candidate Gerhard Bökel and carried out a “grassroots campaign” in a residential area with fake election handouts by going from door to door and introducing himself. Most of the residents did not notice the vertigo.
  • During the Bavarian election campaign in 2003, Martin Sonneborn appeared as an SPD politician with the slogans “Lose with decency” and “We give up”.
  • In 1998, as the alleged office manager of DVU boss Gerhard Frey, he mobilized Mirko Mokry and other newly elected DVU members for the “March on Berlin” under the motto “Arbeit macht Frey” and for obtaining an Aryan certificate .


On August 2, 2004, Sonneborn and other editors of the Titanic founded the party “Die PARTTEI” , whose federal chairman he is and in whose jargon he is called “GröVaZ - Greatest Chairman of All Time”; see Gröfaz . During the federal election campaign in 2005, Sonneborn was seen in several television advertising spots. These were offered for auction by his party in advance as "TV advertising time on ZDF" and, when broadcast, contained massive advertising for the Hapag-Lloyd Express airline . This sparked a debate in the media and among politicians about tightening the rules for election advertising. Sonneborn explained that they only behaved like ARD: "Placing surreptitious advertising in a conspicuous manner."

The film Heimatkunde was released on October 2, 2008 , in which the documentary filmmaker Andreas Coerper accompanies Sonneborn on a wandering around Berlin.

Martin Sonneborn (2009)

From May 26, 2009 to September 26, 2014, Sonneborn was seen in the role of an outside reporter in the ensemble of the ZDF satellite program heute-show . After an interview between him and the pharmaceutical lobbyist Peter Schmidt was broadcast on May 14, 2010, the program came under fire because Sonneborn used Schmidt's statements during the interviews, even though they were not intended for the public. Schmidt was annoyed about the broadcast and described it as a “real mess”, because Sonneborn had lured him with the request for a ZDF interview, which is “if possible in one of the ' heute ' programs, preferably in ' heute-journal ', place “wool. Thomas Bellut , program director of ZDF, forbade the editorial staff of the heute-show to work with the brands heute und heute-journal . Diplomatic resentment between Germany and the People's Republic of China sparked Sonneborn in autumn 2009 when he put unsuspecting Chinese writers about human rights violations in China at the Frankfurt Book Fair , which hosted China that year.

The episode of the show Zimmer frei! Planned for October 4, 2009 . with Sonneborn as a guest, WDR did not broadcast as planned. A broadcaster said that Sonneborn was supposed to appear on the show as a private person, instead he only played the role of "PARTY" boss. The WDR was of the opinion that this was uninteresting and not funny for a 60-minute show. Sonneborn confirmed that the WDR asked not to appear as the “PARTY” chairman, but that he was also given the freedom to do what he liked on the show. Sonneborn was of the opinion that presenter Christine Westermann had not got along with him. The WDR countered allegations that the non-broadcasting of the program was connected with Sonneborn's call to boycott GEZ fees or the designation of Johannes B. Kerner as an overpaid moderator: “If you invite the former editor-in-chief of Titanic , then it is certainly not for a politically correct broadcast close". After a media vortex and numerous audience inquiries, the broadcast was finally rescheduled on October 20, 2009 shortly after midnight.

Together with the former Titanic editors-in-chief Thomas Gsella and Oliver Maria Schmitt , Martin Sonneborn has appeared as a satirical trio under the name Titanic Boy Group since 1996 . After it became known in January 2012 that the Office for the Protection of the Constitution is monitoring 27 members of the Left Party , Sonneborn took part in the campaign “Hello, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution! Monitor us too! ”.

Martin Sonneborn (2013)

The three-part series Sonneborn saves the world on ZDFneo , broadcast from October 10, 2013, was awarded a Grimme Prize in 2014.

In the European elections in 2014 he was elected to the European Parliament as the PARTY top candidate ; the PARTY received 0.6% of the vote. His “Report from Brussels” has since been published in Titanic . Since July 2014 he has been a member of the Committee on Culture and Education , the Delegation for Relations with the Korean Peninsula and was an alternate member of the Committee on Budgetary Control until June 2015. Since January 2017, he has been an alternate member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs . Since then he has been resting his media activities. His participation in the Today show was terminated by the broadcaster.

At the suggestion of the Pirate Party parliamentary group , Sonneborn was elected a member of the 16th Federal Assembly by the North Rhine-Westphalia state parliament . Here he proposed his father Engelbert Sonneborn as Federal President. In the election on February 12, 2017 that was defeated Frank-Walter Steinmeier and the other three candidates in the first ballot.

Sonneborn announced on August 22, 2018 in Brussels that he would run again for the European Parliament. The cabaret artist Nico Semsrott was part of his team. They also want to put up candidates with surnames of well-known Nazi giants in order to entice AfD voters and possibly “confused CSU voters” or “demented CDU voters” to cross for the PARTY. The background is that the CDU / CSU and SPD want to make it more difficult for German small parties to enter the European Parliament by 2024 at the latest.

At the 35th Chaos Communication Congress 2018 of the Chaos Computer Club , Martin Sonneborn gave a lecture about his work in the European Parliament.

In 2019, Sonneborn and Semsrott were elected as members of the European Parliament . The PARTY was able to quadruple its share compared to the 2014 election. While Semsrott joined the group of the Greens , Sonneborn remained a non-attached MP .


During the election campaign for the election to the Berlin House of Representatives in 2011 , Sonneborn was pictured in front of a PARTY election poster on which he had a face painted black and the slogan “Ick am an Obama”, alluding to John F. Kennedy's saying “ I am a Berliner “And the then US President Barack Obama was pictured. In the British press he was criticized for the racially connoted practice of blackface . Sonneborn later told the Berliner Zeitung that he stood by the action, although he would not repeat it.

In 2019, Sonneborn voted in a vote in the EU Parliament against a ban on so-called conversion therapies for homosexuals . The decision came about by chance because he alternated yes and no in votes with clear majorities. Sonneborn has been criticized by various media for his voting behavior.

Fonts (selection)


Web links

Commons : Martin Sonneborn  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Martin SONNEBORN. 8th Parliamentary term. In: Audiovisual Services for Media. European Parliament, June 5, 2014, archived from the original on September 4, 2017 ; Retrieved on February 23, 2017 (English, name of the image file).
  2. Federal Returning Officer: Elected European elections 2019. Accessed on May 27, 2019 .
  3. Ludger Fittkau : Björn Höcke's Frankfurt book presentation - Duped by Sonneborn . In: Deutschlandfunk Kultur . October 12, 2018 ( [accessed October 14, 2018]).
  4. a b Britta Stuff: The strange man. In: Berliner Morgenpost . July 11, 2010.
  5. Daniel Benedict: Peace ham messes up the political message: Party man Martin Sonneborn. In Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung , September 15, 2011.
  6. Harald Staun: The dear colleagues. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. July 16, 2016, p. 47 , accessed February 12, 2017 .
  7. SPAM adoption. In: Spiegel online. SPIEGELnet GmbH, August 31, 2016, accessed on February 12, 2017 .
  8. Our guest from March 22, 2009: Martin Sonneborn, satirist , “Guest List” for a conversation with Hajo Schumacher . Deutsche Welle , March 22, 2009.
  9. Martin Sonneborn , Internationales Biographisches Archiv 06/2009 from February 3, 2009, supplemented by news from MA-Journal up to week 35/2013, in the Munzinger archive , accessed on November 29, 2013. ( beginning of article freely available)
  10. ^ Martin Sonneborn: The party book. Verlag Kiepenheuer & Witsch, p. 18 ff.
  11. ^ Martin Sonneborn: The party book. Verlag Kiepenheuer & Witsch, p. 30 ff.
  12. T he complete idiot U nion. In: Hamburger Morgenpost . May 15, 1998.
  13. Titanic. 5/1998.
  14. Martin Sonneborn: The PARTY book. Verlag Kiepenheuer & Witsch, pp. 145 ff.
  15. Heimatkunde - Homepage for the film
  16. ZDF program director reprimands “heute-show” In: Spiegel Online , May 21, 2010.
  17. Andreas Lorenz: China accuses German media of vulgar reporting. In: Spiegel Online , December 22, 2009.
  18. Antje Hildebrandt: Martin Sonneborn tests the limits of satire on ZDF. In: Hannoversche Allgemeine . June 24, 2010.
  19. WDR: Sonneborn is not funny. In: Der Tagesspiegel . October 9, 2009.
  20. Ingo Juknat: How Martin Sonneborn gave the villain in "Zimmer frei!" In: DerWesten , October 23, 2009.
  21. ↑ The controversial "Zimmer frei!" Episode with Martin Sonneborn will be broadcast next Tuesday. Press release Westdeutscher Rundfunk , October 14, 2009.
  22. Michael Brake, Meike Laaff: Hello, Protection of the Constitution! Monitor us too! In: the daily newspaper , January 27, 2012.
  23. Episode 1 , Episode 2 , Episode 3
  24. Grimme Institute: Jury statement ( Memento from March 22, 2014 in the Internet Archive ), undated. Retrieved April 5, 2014.
  25. I am now seriously involved in EU politics. on: , July 29, 2014.
  26. ^ "Martin Sonneborn (MEP) report from Brussels. In: June 27, 2014, accessed on October 14, 2018 .
  27. Martin SONNEBORN Entry on the EP website, accessed on September 25, 2017.
  28. Martin Sonneborn at Fernsehkritik-TV, accessed on January 21, 2016, from minute 2:50
  29. ^ Result of the election of the members to the 16th Federal Assembly. LANDTAG NORTH RHINE-WESTPHALIA, December 14, 2016, accessed on December 16, 2016 .
  30. German satirist wants to run for European elections, August 22, 2018, accessed August 22, 2018.
  31. Luther Blissett: 35C3 - Martin Sonneborn: My adventures in the EU Parliament . Retrieved January 4, 2019 .
  32. ^ The party "The PARTY" Münster. Retrieved January 4, 2019 .
  33. Andrea Diener: Balance of the 35C3 in Leipzig: Some sense in maximum confusion . In: FAZ.NET . ISSN  0174-4909 ( [accessed January 4, 2019]).
  34. European elections 2019. The Federal Returning Officer, accessed on July 3, 2019 .
  35. Daily: Outrage at German comedian's blackface Obama billboard. September 17, 2011, accessed August 9, 2020 .
  36. Berliner Zeitung: Martin Sonneborn: "This is not racism, this is shoe polish". Retrieved on August 9, 2020 (German).
  37. RP ONLINE: Satirist in the EU Parliament: Sonneborn alternately presses "Yes" and "No". Retrieved August 9, 2020 .
  38. Markus Kowalski: The homophobia of Martin Sonneborn. Retrieved on August 9, 2020 (German).
  39. ^ Protest of the privileged. Retrieved August 9, 2020 .