Matthias Walden

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Matthias Walden (actually Eugen Wilhelm Otto Baron von Saß ; born May 16, 1927 in Dresden ; † November 17, 1984 in Berlin ) was a conservative German journalist .


Walden was born as Eugen Wilhelm Otto Baron von Saß on May 16, 1927 in Dresden. His father worked as a writer, albeit without attaining any major importance. At the age of 15, Walden was drafted as an air force helper. In 1945 he graduated from the Notabitur at grammar school in Dresden Blasewitz .

After the Second World War , he volunteered at the daily newspaper Die Union , published in Dresden by the East CDU , became head of the local editorial office and, as a court reporter, experienced how opposition members were dealt with in the Soviet occupation zone. In 1950, after sharp attacks in the SED district newspaper Sächsische Zeitung, groups of the FDJ (Free German Youth) ambushed him in front of the editorial building, threatened the use of physical violence and publicly vilified him ("Front SA, back SS, in the middle an AS, that is the master of SASS ”), he fled to the Federal Republic of Germany . In order to protect his backward parents, he adopted the pseudonym Matthias Walden here. The name is the main character of a detective novel that he had already written in his childhood.

Walden first worked for a few months in the press office of the Ministry for All-German Issues in Bonn. In the fall of 1950 he became a radio commentator for the Berlin RIAS . Six years later, he moved to the SFB , where he was promoted to deputy editor-in-chief and chief commentator. He worked there until the end of the 1970s. He also appeared as a columnist for the Illustrierte Quick from the mid-1960s . In 1980 Walden became co-editor of the daily newspaper Die Welt and was planned by Axel Springer as his successor in the group management.

In his reports Walden often dealt with the division of Germany and the division of Berlin , which he never took as a definitive fact. He also tried to keep the public aware of the human rights violations in the GDR .

His goal in life was the reunification of Germany. He was also politically committed to this by supporting the Bund Free Germany (BFD) in the 1975 election to the Berlin House of Representatives . In addition, he was active in the Arbeitsgemeinschaft 13. August eV .

Walden firmly rejected the New Ostpolitik conceived by Willy Brandt and Egon Bahr after the construction of the Berlin Wall . Alluding to the formula "change through rapprochement", he described the détente policy of the social-liberal government as "change through ingratiation", since, in his opinion, negotiations with the GDR leadership led to their appreciation.

Walden also took a stand against the 1968 movement and the terrorism that resulted from it. On November 21, 1974, in a television commentary on the murder of the Berlin Court of Justice Günter von Drenkmann , he said that the “soil of violence” had been “fertilized by the demons of sympathy with the perpetrators” and accused the writer Heinrich Böll of partly false, partly false inaccurate or out of context quotes claiming to have called the rule of law a “dung heap” and said that it only saw “remnants of decaying power defended with rat-like fury”; Böll also accused this state of pursuing the terrorists "in merciless hunt". Böll's lawsuit against Walden and the broadcaster Free Berlin for 100,000 DM in compensation for pain and suffering was initially rejected by the Federal Court of Justice. After the Federal Constitutional Court overturned this decision on June 3, 1980, the Federal Court of Justice awarded Böll 40,000 DM on December 1, 1981, but also charged him with 60% of the procedural costs.

Matthias Walden died of cancer in 1984 at the age of 57. His grave is in the Dahlem forest cemetery .


  • east blind - west blind. Ernst Staneck publishing house, Berlin 1963.
  • Kassandra calls. German politics in crisis. Publishing house Langen Müller, Munich, Vienna 1975.
  • Feeding the crocodiles. Views. Insights. Langen Müller publishing house, Munich, Vienna 1980.
  • When Germany turns red. Herbig Verlag, Munich 1983.
  • Of wolves and sheep. A selection of time-critical comments from two decades. Ullstein-Verlag, Frankfurt / M., Berlin, Vienna 1983.

TV reports

  • Berlin 9 a.m. 37th SFB, 1959.
  • The wall. SFB, 1961.
  • Barbed Wire. SFB, 1961.
  • A few days in the life of Franz-Josef Strauss. SFB, 1967.
  • A few days in the life of Willy Brandt. SFB, 1968.
  • A Berliner - Hildegard Knef. SFB, 1968.
  • The division of a nation. SFB, 1975.



  • DIED: Matthias Walden . In: Der Spiegel . No. 48 , 1984, pp. 252 ( Online - Nov. 26, 1984 ).
  • Bettina von Saß (ed.): "He was a good enemy". On the 15th anniversary of Matthias Walden's death, his critics speak out . Ullstein-Verlag, Berlin 1999, ISBN 3-548-26564-2 (with a foreword by Helmut Schmidt ).
  • Daniel Schwane: Conservative Pioneer or Forgotten Fossil of the Cold War? The publicist and journalist Matthias Walden as a champion for freedom and democracy. In: Germany Archive , Vol. 41 (2008), Issue 1, pp. 75–84, ISSN  0012-1428
  • Nils Lange: The political thinking of the publicist Matthias Walden . in: Sebastian Liebold / Frank Dish (eds.): New foundation based on old values. Conservative intellectuals and politics in the Federal Republic. Nomos Verlag, Baden-Baden 2017 ISBN 978-3-8487-3118-3 pp. 177–194

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Götz Bergander : The leader's student soldiers. Report on the fate of a generation , in: Die Zeit , No. 43, October 16, 1981.
  2. Matthias Walden , Internationales Biographisches Archiv 02/1985 of December 31, 1984, in the Munzinger Archive ( beginning of the article freely available)
  3. a b BVerfG, decision of June 3, 1980, Az. 1 BvR 797/78 , BVerfGE 54, 208 - Böll; in marg. 4 the relevant passage from Walden's television commentary is quoted.
  4. Der Spiegel: Rotting Remnants of July 21, 1980.
  5. ^ ARD: Legal dispute between Böll and Walden and SFB ended
  6. ^ Hans-Jürgen Mende: Lexicon of Berlin burial places . Pharus-Plan, Berlin 2018, ISBN 978-3-86514-206-1 , p. 590.