Drawer affair

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A political scandal in Schleswig-Holstein was described as a drawer affair in 1993 . It was triggered by the admission of the Schleswig-Holstein Minister of Social Affairs Günther Jansen ( SPD ) that he had given the trigger of the Barschel affair , Reiner Pfeiffer , a total of 40,000 to 50,000  DM in cash (there are contradicting information about the amount). In the course of the affair Björn Engholm , who was also the candidate for chancellor for the 1994 federal elections, had to resign, among others, the then Prime Minister of Schleswig-Holstein and federal chairman of the SPD .


In 1987/88 the Barschel affair rocked Schleswig-Holstein and the entire Federal Republic of Germany. This scandal started through the statements of the journalist and former Barschel employee Reiner Pfeiffer to the mirror .

According to Pfeiffer, this led, among other things, to the fact that he could no longer find employment. Following his admission, this caused Jansen to alleviate the emergency situation by donating money. He then asked various personalities in political life for a charitable gift. He kept the money he took in at home in his kitchen drawer and had it handed over to Pfeiffer in an envelope via the SPD spokesman at the time, Klaus Nilius , at two meetings . With this admission, Jansen reacted to the publication of a Stern interview with a former partner of Pfeiffer, in which she had spoken about such payments.

Committee of Inquiry

The opposition CDU suspected completely different motives behind the payments - namely that Pfeiffer from circles of the Schleswig-Holstein SPD could have been used as agent provocateur against Barschel. A parliamentary committee of inquiry was set up at their request . That was the "Second Kiel Investigation Committee", which was also called the "Drawer Committee". This should clear up the connections between Rainer Pfeiffer, the SPD, the SPD-led state government and their respective employees. In particular, donations of money to Pfeiffer and contacts of any kind between him and the SPD press spokesman at the time, Klaus Nilius, as well as other people from the sphere of the SPD and the government, should be investigated. It should also be examined whether the findings of the committee of inquiry into the Barschel affair should be supplemented. The investigations did not reveal any evidence that the funds came from the Schleswig-Holstein SPD. Doubts about Jansen's account remained. Rather, the public began to suspect that the money had been a bribe.

The committee found that the SPD leaders in Kiel, including Engholms, had already known before the state elections in 1987 that the spying on Engholm had been initiated from the state chancellery and had discussed countermeasures. This early knowledge had been denied by Engholm and the then SPD press spokesman Klaus Nilius - also before the committee to investigate the Barschel affair. Engholm and Nilius were guilty of the unofficial false testimony, but remained unpunished because of the statute of limitations.

The chairman of the committee, the later state parliament president Heinz-Werner Arens (SPD), held the payment for hush money for the knowledge of the SPD top.

Political Consequences

Social Affairs Minister Jansen resigned from his office on March 23, 1993. Engholm resigned all party offices on May 3, 1993 and resigned as prime minister. He was also no longer available as the SPD candidate for Chancellor in the 1994 federal election , which he had meanwhile advanced to.


  • Landtag Schleswig-Holstein : The Kiel Committee of Inquiry II. The questions and the answers. March 1993-December 1995; The state parliament debate of December 19, 1995 on the final report. Schmidt and Klaunig, Kiel 1996, ISBN 3-88312-1436 . Online from the LIS state parliament information system as the final report of the committee of inquiry into the drawer affair (Engholm / Jansen). Report and recommendation for a resolution First committee of inquiry of the 13th electoral term. December 12, 1995, printed matter 13/3225 (PDF) .
  • Thomas Ramge: Waterkantgate - Uwe Barschel's death in the bathtub. In Thomas Ramge: The Great Political Scandals - Another History of the Federal Republic. Campus Verlag, Frankfurt 2003, ISBN 3-593-37069-7 , pages 196 to 226.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Thomas Ramge: Waterkantgate - The death of Uwe Barschel in the bathtub. In Thomas Ramge: The Great Political Scandals - Another History of the Federal Republic. Campus Verlag, Frankfurt 2003, ISBN 3-593-37069-7 , page 219f.
  2. Kiel Committee of Inquiry II, Kiel 1996, p. 47 f.