Otto Schily

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Otto Schily (2015)Otto Schily signature.jpg

Otto Georg Schily (* 20th July 1932 in Bochum ) is a lawyer and a German politician of the SPD . From 1998 to 2005 he was Federal Minister of the Interior . He was a co-founder of the party Die Grünen , from which he switched to the SPD in November 1989.


Education and legal practice

Otto Schily (1983)

Schily comes from a wealthy upper-class family and enjoyed an anthroposophical upbringing. His great-great-uncle was the lawyer Victor Schily who was involved in the 1848 revolution . His father Franz Schily , with a doctorate in legal history, was director of the Bochumer Verein smelting works , his mother a musician. His paternal grandmother was the painter Julia Schily-Koppers . Schily grew up in Bochum and from the end of the Second World War in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the Partenkirchen district . After graduating from the Graf-Engelbert-Schule in Bochum, Schily studied law and political science in Munich , Hamburg and Berlin up to the second state examination in law in 1962. He has been admitted to the bar since 1963. As a member of a white class, he did not have to do basic military service.

Until 1968 Schily represented clients in property and inheritance matters for the Berlin law firm Neufeldt. From 1968 he first represented Gudrun Ensslin because of the department store arson on April 2, 1968 . At the request of the chancellery senior, this led to the termination of his work in the legal community, and Schily opened his own law firm in Charlottenburger Kantstrasse .

Tape from the SWR archive , etc. a. with a press conference by Schily on the deaths of Baader, Ensslin and Raspe

Already during his studies he was politically active and was personally close to several members of the Socialist German Student Union (SDS), although he saw himself primarily as a civil rights activist in the liberal tradition and believed in the reformability of the German system. He became friends with Rudi Dutschke and Horst Mahler and was the representative of the accessory prosecution in the trial of the murder of Benno Ohnesorg . As a lawyer, he was the main tenant of what became known as the " Wielandkommune " and was partly anarchist- oriented residential community and commune in Wielandstrasse, Berlin-Charlottenburg .

In 1971 he was defender of the then RAF member Horst Mahler , from 1975 to 1977 the RAF terrorist Gudrun Ensslin.

During the Stammheim trials , on May 4, 1976, Schily applied for the hearing of Richard Nixon , President of the United States, who was responsible for the war effort in Vietnam and Cambodia , and the US Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird as witnesses. The interrogation of witnesses was intended to prove that the United States had committed crimes under international law through its war effort in Southeast Asia , which it had also coordinated from the soil of the Federal Republic of Germany, relevant to the decision on the question of the use of force against the exercise of violence contrary to international law. It should be clarified whether "the use of force against certain military facilities of the USA on the territory of the Federal Republic, such as bombing attacks on US bases in Frankfurt and Heidelberg, were justified". Because of the Stammheim wiretapping affair , Schily finally no longer appeared in the courtroom of the Stammheim trial . After the death of the accused, Schily doubted the suicides and blamed the state for the deaths . On October 19, 1977 he was present at the autopsy of Andreas Baader , Jan-Carl Raspe and Gudrun Ensslin. The tape recordings of the court hearings, in which Schily sometimes behaved uncontrollably and engaged in violent verbal battles with the chairman, were thought to be lost for 30 years; some of them were published by the WDR after their retrieval (see below: literature).

Until 2005 Schily ran a law firm in Berlin-Mitte , from 2006 an asset management company and from 2007 a management consultancy.

Party career

The green

Otto Schily and Petra Kelly at a press conference after the federal election in 1983

In 1980 Schily was a co-founder of the federal party Die Grünen , he was seen as an opponent of the right-wing conservative wing around Herbert Gruhl . Schily ran for the West Berlin State Association ( Alternative List for Democracy and Environmental Protection ) in 1981 in the early election for the Berlin House of Representatives . In 1983 he was elected to the German Bundestag and was a member of the first Green parliamentary group . His style polarized: on November 22, 1983, shortly after he first entered the German Bundestag as a Green politician, CDU politician Dietmar Kansy referred to Schily as "Mini-Goebbels".

Together with Marieluise Beck -Oberdorf and Petra Kelly , he held the position of parliamentary group chairman until 1984. Within the Greens, Schily was considered a realo at that time and advocated a possible coalition with the SPD.

Because of the rotation principle still prevailing at the time among the Greens , he resigned from the Bundestag in March 1986. In 1987 he was re-elected to the Bundestag. After he failed in 1989 with his candidacy for the executive committee of the Greens, he resigned from the Greens on November 2, 1989, resigned his parliamentary mandate and became a member of the SPD.


Election event in Munich 2005

On December 2, 1990, he was elected a member of the German Bundestag for the SPD . From 1993 to 1994 he chaired the Trust - Inquiry Committee held in the German Bundestag. From 1994 until joining the federal government in 1998 he was deputy chairman of the SPD parliamentary group . During the Schröder I government , he was a member of the judges' selection committee , the mediation committee and a deputy member of the home and legal committees as well as the joint committee under Article 53a of the Basic Law. Otto Schily was elected a full member of the Foreign Affairs Committee for the period from 2005 to 2009 .

With reference to client protection , Schily refused to specify the income he earned from his part-time work as a lawyer in addition to his Bundestag mandate . The Bundestag Presidium saw this as a breach of duty and therefore imposed a fine of 22,000 euros. In a judgment of September 30, 2009, the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig decided that members of the Bundestag must disclose their additional income down to the smallest detail, but the court overturned the fines against Schily because the judges saw a violation by the Bundestag administration of the equal treatment of all members of the Bundestag. While individual lawyers had to disclose their income from secondary employment, this was not the case for lawyers in law firms. This is an "administrative practice that is contrary to equality," said the presiding judge. The Bundestag was also asked to adjust the relevant rules.

As senior president, Schily headed the constituent sessions of the German Bundestag in 2002 and 2005. His constituency was Munich-Land .

Schily did not run for the 2009 federal election .

In August 2010, Schily was one of 40 prominent signatories of the Energy Policy Appeal , an initiative of the four major electricity companies to extend the life of German nuclear power plants .

Federal Minister of the Interior

Otto Schily (top left) at the meeting of the G8 ministers for home affairs and justice (2004)

After the victory of the SPD and Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen in the federal election on September 27, 1998 , Schily was appointed Federal Minister of the Interior on October 27, 1998 .

Accusations are made against Schily by politicians from all parties, including his own, because, as Federal Minister of the Interior , he was informed about the case of the German citizen Khaled el-Masri by the US Ambassador Dan Coats on May 31, 2004 , and then until autumn 2005 complied with the ambassador's request to maintain silence on the matter. As things stand at the moment, Khaled el-Masri was kidnapped by the CIA to Afghanistan in 2003 , tortured and finally flown back secretly in May 2004 and abandoned in a forest in Albania without explanation. The opposition factions in the Bundestag requested a current hour about the events. Schily said that at a time when he could have intervened, he had received no information that would have enabled him to ensure that no harm would happen to a German citizen.

In the years 2000 to 2003, his attempt to have the National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) banned ( NPD prohibition procedure ) failed . On June 11, 2001, the computer system, data carriers and documents were confiscated from Horst Mahler's apartment and office, now the representative of the NPD in the party ban proceedings, and on July 3, 2001 the Federal Constitutional Court ruled that the documents were to be returned. And after it had become apparent that statements made against the NPD by persons who had been secretly smuggled into it, the Federal Constitutional Court unanimously suspended the proceedings on January 22, 2002.

On the day after the nail bomb attack in Cologne on June 9, 2004, Schily stated in a press conference:

The findings that our security authorities have gained so far do not indicate a terrorist background, but rather a criminal milieu, but the investigations have not yet been concluded, so I cannot make a final assessment of these events at this point.

The investigations, which in the first report of the situation were based on a terrorist attack, were directed over the years in the direction of residents and victims of the attack, who described it as a traumatizing and stigmatizing "attack after the attack". After the self-exposure in November 2011, the attack could be assigned to the right-wing terrorist group National Socialist Underground . Schily apologized in April 2012 for his "serious error" at the time; he and the interior ministers responsible at the time bore political responsibility for ensuring that the NSU was not discovered earlier.

On July 15, 2005, Schily testified as a witness before the Bundestag's visa investigation committee . It was about the issuing of tourist visas for Germany at the German embassy in Kiev in connection with the so-called “ Volmer Decree ”.

In September 2005, Schily granted the authorization to initiate preliminary proceedings against employees of the Cicero magazine . At the request of the public prosecutor's office, a court then approved the search of the editorial offices of the magazine by the BKA , which led to a heated discussion about freedom of the press .

On October 18, 2005, the day the 16th German Bundestag was constituted, he and the other federal ministers were dismissed from office and at the same time commissioned by Federal President Horst Köhler to take care of the business until a new federal government was formed. After the election of Angela Merkel as Federal Chancellor , he finally resigned from office on November 22, 2005.

Supervisory board

After his time as Federal Minister of the Interior, Otto Schily became a member of the supervisory board of SAFE ID Solutions AG ( Unterhaching ) and Byometric Systems AG. This company offers solutions for personalizing ID documents. As Federal Minister of the Interior, Otto Schily was a major pioneer in the introduction of the controversially discussed biometric passport (ePassport). According to him, his own financial participation is less than one percent. The company filed for bankruptcy on March 23, 2011 .

Schily founded the management consultancy German Consult GmbH in 2007.

Tressa Verwaltungs- und Beteiligungsgesellschaft MbH is the successor to Otto Schily Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft. Through Tressa GmbH, Schily also owns the Berlin management and financial consultancy Ombrone Consulting.

The dapd group, which emerged from the former German service of the American news agency Associated Press (AP) and the news agency ddp, appointed Otto Schily to its advisory board in July 2011.

Since April 2013 Otto Schily has also been a member of the advisory board of the real estate company Ziegert Bank- und Immobilienconsulting GmbH. As part of this activity, Schily publicly speaks out in favor of stronger state subsidies for home ownership.

Other engagement

Otto Schily was a long-time member and board member of the civil rights association Humanist Union . He is also a member of the association Mehr Demokratie, co-founded by his nephew Daniel Schily , and a member of the support group of the foundation of the German Police Union .

Since February 2013, Schily and the law firm Lansky in Vienna have been forming a project team on the Aliyev case , as it became known at a press conference on February 18. This commitment is an important step in this case for the remaining widows of two murdered Nurbank managers who, with their association Tagdyr, have been demanding the complete clarification of the facts about Rakhat Aliyev since December 2008 .

Schily is an appointed member of the German Academy for Football Culture .


In 1966 Schily married Christiane Hellwag (* 1941), a granddaughter of the architect Bruno Taut . From this marriage the actress Jenny Schily emerged. Schily is married to Linda Tatjana Chajmovic for the second time and has two daughters. His younger brother Konrad Schily was a neurologist at the community hospital in Herdecke, founding president of the private University of Witten / Herdecke and member of the Bundestag of the FDP . Schily has two other brothers and a sister. He is an avid hobby chess player .

Political positions

While Schily appeared in the 1970s as a prominent opponent of a policy that seeks to restrict civil rights in the name of the fight against terrorism, critics today often refer to him as a representative of the Law and Order , mainly due to his extensive proposals on internal security and civil surveillance 2001. Critics believe that Schily, as Minister of the Interior, was closer to the Union parties than to the SPD because of his ideas about the fight against terrorism , immigration policy and restrictions on data protection . This accusation was justified, for example, by the fact that Schily did not only react to domestic political events, but had already had a large number of fully developed proposals for tightening the law; these could have been presented as a proposal to match the respective events and then implemented immediately (“plans in the drawer”). Schily was primarily responsible for the tightening of laws and regulations after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 in the USA . His two security packages were referred to in the press as 'Otto catalogs' in reference to the sales catalog of the mail order company of the same name . The fight against migration was increasingly seen as part of the security tasks under Schily.

Internet and new media

Online searches

As it became known after his term of office, Otto Schily agreed in 2005 to the change of a service instruction on the basis of which the constitution protection carried out covert online searches . According to the then Secretary of State Lutz Diwell , however, the instruction was only aimed at penetrating closed user groups and chat rooms (“offensive observation of the Internet”), but not at spying on private hard drive contents.

Data retention

Schily is a proponent of data retention and was one of the first German politicians to push ahead with its introduction.

Biometric IDs

As Minister of the Interior, Schily campaigned for the introduction of passports with biometric features, which have been issued since October 2005. On May 10, 2005, he announced a “National Plan for the Protection of Information Infrastructures in Germany”. This is to be developed together with the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI). "New strategies to combat attacks by hackers and viruses" are to be developed.

Right of asylum

In 1999 he drew attention to himself by stating that only three percent of the 100,000 or so people who wanted to go to Germany every year were “worthy of asylum”, while 97 percent were economic refugees. The previous asylum law should therefore be reviewed. The statements were discussed controversially, but did not result in any change in the asylum law.

Holocaust denial offense

In March 2015, in connection with the imprisonment of his former lawyer colleague, the well - known neo-Nazi Horst Mahler , Schily spoke out in favor of a reassessment of the Holocaust denial offense . Even if the denial of the Holocaust is hideous, morally reprehensible, grotesque and foolish, Schily doubts that years of imprisonment are justified for it. Denial of the Holocaust is a criminal offense in numerous countries, including all German-speaking countries. In the Federal Republic of Germany there is a risk of imprisonment for up to five years or a fine (Section 130 (3) of the Criminal Code (Germany) ). Mahler denied the Holocaust in court in 2009, having previously denied the Holocaust several times and filed criminal charges against himself.

energy transition

Schily considers the energy transition as it is being carried out in Germany to be a disaster in terms of economic, financial, ecological, social and climate policy and cited it as a deterrent example to the Swiss in 2017, ahead of a referendum on a Swiss energy law.

Conflicts of Interest

Schily was repeatedly accused of conflict of interests and nepotism. Schily himself saw no grounds for criticism in his activities on the supervisory boards of Safe ID Solutions and Byometric Systems AG, two companies that produce solutions for biometric applications, even before the end of the election period. From his point of view, there are no conflicts of interests with his previous work as Federal Minister.

The criticism of the mixing of his political activities with private economic interests was not limited to the environment of the biometric procedure. An old acquaintance of Schilys, the industrial manager Peter Zühlsdorff, acted temporarily as a partner of his company Consult. a. worked for Wella and Tengelmann. As Minister of the Interior, Schily commissioned him in 2003 to manage the Leipzig applicant society for the 2012 Olympics.

In 2015, Schily's paid work in the interests of the Kazakh government became public. In the case of Rachat Aliyev, who had fallen out of favor with the regime, Schily had personally intervened with NRW Justice Minister Thomas Kutschaty to promote his prosecution. He also tried to win the Spiegel to report on Aliyev, as the news magazine itself revealed.


Schily was awarded the Bavarian Order of Merit on June 20, 2001 and the Great Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany on June 29, 2004 . He holds the title of Dr. jur. hc Otto Schily is an honorary citizen of the Romanian city ​​of Sibiu . In 2003 he was awarded the Prize for Understanding and Tolerance by the Friends of the Jewish Museum Berlin . On May 7, 2006, the Luxembourg Minister of Justice, Luc Frieden , awarded him the Grand Cross of the Order of the Oak Crown . In 2009 the Association of Displaced Persons awarded him the plaque of honor . Schily is an honorary member of the German Football Association.

Negative awards

Locked oyster 2002

In 2002 the journalists' association Netzwerk Recherche e. V. Schily the negative price locked oyster for the blockade of the Freedom of Information Act and the rejection of interviews.

Big Brother Lifetime Award 2001 and 2005

On October 28, 2005, Schily was awarded the negative Big Brother Lifetime Award 2005 . He was honored "for the expansion of the German and European surveillance system at the expense of civil rights and freedom and for his persistent efforts to undermine data protection under the guise of security and the fight against terrorism". Schily had already received the award in 2001 for the first "Otto catalog".

Literature and source editions

Web links

Commons : Otto Schily  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Martin Block; Birgit Schulz: The lawyers - Ströbele, Mahler, Schily. A German story. Torch bearer, Cologne 2010, p. 17 ff.
  2. ^ Graf-Engelbert-Schule, Bochum (ed.): Festschrift for the seventy-five year existence of the Graf-Engelbert-Schule Bochum - 1910 to 1985 . Gebrüder Hoose GmbH, Bochum, 1985, p. 105 .
  3. Peter Carstens: turning point for Otto Schily. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, June 2, 2007, accessed on May 16, 2017 .
  4. See on Schily's role in the Stammheim trial: Christopher Tenfelde: The Red Army Fraction and the Criminal Justice. Anti-terror laws and their implementation using the example of the Stammheim process . Jonscher, Osnabrück 2009, ISBN 978-3-9811399-3-8 , pp. 147, 171 ff., 195; 200; 235 f. See also: The former judge Kurt Breucker writes about Otto Schily's role in the Stammheim trial .
  5. ^ Stefan Aust : The Baader Meinhof Complex . Hoffmann and Campe, 1986, p. 374
  6. Otto Schily , Living Museum Online (
  7. ^ Slip in the Bundestag. Süddeutsche Zeitung , August 28, 2010, archived from the original on August 28, 2010 ; Retrieved August 28, 2010 .
  8. Member of Parliament ( Memento from March 7, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) on
  9. Press release of the German Bundestag: Presidium imposes fines on Schily ( Memento from December 5, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  10. Decision BVerfG, 2 BvB 1/01, 2 BvB 2/01 and 2 BvB 3/01 of July 3, 2002
  11. Decision BVerfG, 2 BvB 1/01, 2 BvB 2/01 and 2 BvB 3/01. Federal Constitutional Court, January 22, 2002, accessed on May 16, 2017 .
  12. Frank Jansen : Schily admits serious error. In: Der Tagesspiegel , April 19, 2012; Friedrich Burschel: A question of biographical hygiene - Federal Interior Minister Otto Schily's handling of the nail bomb attack in Cologne's Keupstrasse. In: NSU-Watch , January 27, 2018; Tanjev Schultz : NSU. The terror from the right and the failure of the state. Droemer Knaur, Munich 2018, p. 234 f. See in detail Berthold Fresenius: Keupstrasse and the conduct of Interior Minister Otto Schily. In: Antonia von der Behrens (ed.): No closing words. Nazi Terror - Security Authorities - Support Network. Pleading in the NSU trial. VSA, Hamburg 2018, pp. 175–183.
  13. (accessed July 15, 2010)
  14. A new job. Retrieved April 2, 2012 .
  15. August 2006: Otto Schily new member of the Supervisory Board of SAFE ID Solutions AG ( ). “The former Federal Minister of the Interior Otto Schily has accepted a supervisory board mandate at SAFE ID Solutions AG, a provider of modern personalization solutions in the area of ​​secure travel documents. During his tenure as Minister of the Interior, Schily played a key role in the introduction of the biometric passport (ePassport). "
  16. SAFE ID is aiming for self-administered insolvency proceedings. Finanznachrichten Germany, March 24, 2011, archived from the original on April 14, 2011 ; Retrieved April 3, 2011 .
  17. a b c Otto Schily is today active as an entrepreneur on several fronts - with mixed success. Berliner Zeitung, April 11, 2011, accessed on May 16, 2017 .
  18. dapd: dapd appoints Otto Schily to the advisory board and strengthens the board. June 28, 2011, accessed September 3, 2011 (press release).
  19. Management. Retrieved on May 28, 2020 (German).
  20. Ziegert Bank and Real Estate Consulting GmbH, Ziegert Bank and Real Estate Consulting GmbH: Otto Schily on the importance of real estate ownership - openPR. Retrieved May 28, 2020 .
  21. The Humanist Union asks the Federal Government and the Bundestag: Where does the core area of ​​the rule of law begin? Humanist Union, July 8, 2011, accessed May 16, 2017 .
  23. ( Memento from June 12, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  25. ( Memento from May 16, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  27. ^ Unda Hörner: The architects Bruno and Max Taut. Two brothers - two paths in life , Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-7861-2662-1 .
  28. Otto Schily: The earth a good apartment. In: Bruno Taut: Masters of colored building in Berlin, published by Deutscher Werkbund Berlin e. V., Wilfried Brenne, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-935455-82-4 , p. 10.
  29. Stefan Reinecke: “At that time I had a more romantic relationship with Marx” . In: The daily newspaper: taz . May 5, 2018, ISSN  0931-9085 , p. 26 ( [accessed on May 6, 2018]).
  30. The gentle human catcher . In: Der Spiegel . No. 10 , 1989 ( online ).
  31. "I am nothing whole. I am an eternal skeptic". In: Zeit Magazin. Retrieved May 16, 2017 .
  32. Federal government admits: online searches are already running. In: heise online. April 25, 2007, accessed January 31, 2008 .
  33. Sniffing online without a license? In: May 2, 2007, accessed January 31, 2008 .
  34. ^ Rudolf Opitz: Otto Schily wants to save connection data longer. heise online, May 30, 2004, accessed on May 16, 2017 .
  35. ^ Christiane Schulzki-Haddouti: Schily announces “National Plan for the Protection of Infrastructures”. In: Heise online. May 10, 2005, accessed May 16, 2017 .
  36. Hardship case Schily. In: Spiegel Online. November 21, 1999, accessed May 16, 2017 .
  37. Schily doubts the Holocaust denial offense. In: Zeit Online. March 25, 2015, accessed May 16, 2017 .
  40. a b Falk Lüke: A new job. In: Zeit Online. August 11, 2006, accessed May 16, 2017 .
  41. Jürgen Dahlkamp: Money eats conscience. In: Spiegel Online. June 13, 2015, accessed May 16, 2017 .
  42. "nebulous Kazakhstan Connection": Gysi and Hofreiter demand the truth. n-tv, June 14, 2015, accessed on May 16, 2017 .
  43. ( Memento from July 11, 2012 in the web archive ) Schäuble and Johannis honored - ceremony in the atrium of Deutsche Bank in Berlin In: Hermannstädter Zeitung , December 14, 2007.
  44. Prize for understanding and tolerance. Jewish Museum Berlin, accessed on May 16, 2017 .
  45. ( Memento of October 4, 2006 in the Internet Archive )
  46. ( Memento from July 14, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  47. ^ "Locked oyster" 2002 for Federal Minister of the Interior Otto Schily . ( Memento from October 16, 2012 in the Internet Archive ); Retrieved July 21, 2012
  48. ^ "Locked oyster" for Schily. Spiegel Online, April 25, 2002, accessed May 16, 2017 .