Stefan Aust

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Stefan Aust (2014)

Stefan Reinhard Aust (born July 1, 1946 in Stade ) is a German journalist and author . From 1994 to 2008 he was editor-in-chief of the news magazine Der Spiegel , since 2014 he has been publisher of the daily newspaper Die Welt and was also its editor-in-chief until September 2016.

Life until 1986

The son of the farmer Reinhard Aust and his wife Ilse, geb. Hartig grew up with four siblings on a farm (approx. 15 hectares) where his family ran a small dairy farm until the early 1960s. His father emigrated to America at the age of 18 and returned to Germany in the summer of 1939. His grandfather was a merchant and shipowner. Stefan Aust graduated from high school Athenaeum in Stade. Aust gained his first journalistic experience while working for the local school newspaper Wir , where he also got to know the later journalist Henryk M. Broder . He broke off a business degree after a few weeks. About Wolfgang Röhl , Klaus Rainer Röhl younger brother, whom he met in the school newspaper, came after the Aust High School for the magazine concretely , where he first took care of the layout.

From 1966 to 1969 Aust worked as an editor for the magazine concrete and the St. Pauli-Nachrichten . By his own admission, he was never a supporter of communism. In 1969 he was in the USA for half a year. From 1970 he worked for the Norddeutscher Rundfunk .

In September 1970 he freed the sisters Bettina and Regine Röhl on his own with the help of a dropout from the RAF , Peter Homann . The twins are the daughters of Ulrike Meinhof and the then concrete -Herausgebers Klaus Rainer Röhl , by members of the RAF after Sicily had been deported. Aust took her to her father. According to another account, Aust kidnapped the two children - who, according to Ulrike Meinhof's will, had to be protected from their father (for reasons not specified precisely) and were later to grow up with Meinhof's sister - in a lightning operation from Sicily and brought them to her father, although Ulrike Meinhof's lawyers had lodged a complaint in a pending custody dispute over the children against the provisional transfer of the right of residence to Klaus-Rainer Röhl.

According to their own statements, Andreas Baader , Horst Mahler and others are said to have tried to murder him once. However, he had been warned and escaped through a back exit at night, "so that Baader & Co. had to leave without having done anything".

From 1972 to 1986 Aust worked for the television magazine Panorama .

1988 - 2007: Editor-in-chief at Spiegel TV and the Spiegel print edition

From May 1988 Aust was editor-in-chief for Spiegel TV magazine . Initially commented critically, Aust was able to develop a profitable publishing department with journals and documentation. Aust was appointed editor-in-chief of Spiegel on December 16, 1994; he therefore resigned from the Spiegel TV editorial team. Since July 1995 Aust was also the managing director of Spiegel TV GmbH . He moderated the television program regularly.

On May 7, 2001, together with the production company dctp , he founded the Spiegel TV offshoot XXP, which has now been replaced by DMAX . The station XXP was sold to Discovery Channel . On July 6, 2007, Aust gave up his position as managing director of Spiegel TV GmbH and instead became editor of the series.

In October 2005 two shareholders of the newspaper ( employees KG and Augstein-Erben) came to a conflict with Aust, which was widely noticed in the media; he was accused of "quality defects in reporting". He prevailed with reference to the magazine's statutes, which guarantee the editorial staff complete journalistic independence.

Critics had long accused Aust of mixing his work with private interests. There were allegations that he was behind the particularly negative reporting by SPIEGEL about electricity generated by wind power, as wind turbines threatened Aust's own horse breeding. In addition, Aust had rejected an article by the editors Harald Schumann and Gerd Rosenkranz , in which there was a comparatively positive report on wind energy. A short time later, the use of wind energy was sharply criticized in a cover story ("Der Windmühlen-Wahn", Spiegel 14/2004). Schumann is reported to have spoken of “disinformation” and “propaganda” and for this reason submitted his resignation.

On November 15, 2007, it became known that the shareholders of the SPIEGEL publishing house had decided by mutual agreement and on the initiative of the employee partnership not to extend Aust's contract beyond December 31, 2008. The 61-year-old was said to have been charged with “poor management style and a lack of innovative strength”. On February 5, 2008, Aust was released with immediate effect. He was replaced by Mathias Müller von Blumencron , previously editor-in-chief of Spiegel Online , and Georg Mascolo , up to that point head of the SPIEGEL capital city office in Berlin. Aust filed a lawsuit against his dismissal.

On March 7, 2008, SPIEGEL and Aust announced that they had agreed on the basis of an out-of-court settlement that Aust would no longer be in the service of the publisher with immediate effect. Initially, nothing was known about the details and the amount of his severance payment. The journalist Hans Leyendecker later spoke of around four million euros that Aust had received.

In 2008 Erich Wiedemann conducted an interview with Stefan Aust, whose contract as editor-in-chief of Spiegel had been terminated by the publisher a few months earlier, and reported in Cicero that Aust held the SPD responsible for his fall. After the negative reporting by Spiegel about the SPD before the 2005 general election , their functionaries decided to launch a man they trusted as editor-in-chief in Mario Frank . Aust denied having said this and said that it was not the SPD but the shareholders of Spiegel that had overthrown him. Wolfram Weimer , then editor-in-chief of Cicero , countered that all quotations in the article had been authorized by Aust , which was what he wanted.


Since the beginning of 2009 Aust has held a half share in the agency agenda media GmbH , which develops concepts for print , television and online for the WAZ media group , among others . Before the 2009 Bundestag election , Aust produced and hosted five programs with Sabine Christiansen for Sat.1 .

Aust said about his time at SPIEGEL in an interview with Gentlemen's Quarterly in June 2011 : “I did this for 13 years, had a very good time, but it was actually too long. It is an incredibly delightful task, exciting, but also quite stressful. At the end a bit unpleasant, my exit could have been solved more elegantly [...] But in the end I was really happy that I was out. "

On June 16, 2010 ProSiebenSat.1 Media announced that the news channel N24 and its production company had been sold to a bidding consortium in which Aust is a participant. Aust holds a 26% stake in N24 Media and is also the managing director.

Aust has been an author for the weekly newspaper DIE ZEIT since November 1, 2011 .

In December 2013 it was announced that Stefan Aust will succeed Thomas Schmid as the new editor of the daily newspaper Die Welt . From January 1, 2016, he also temporarily took over the duties of the former editor -in- chief Jan-Eric Peters , until he was replaced by Ulf Poschardt on September 6, 2016 .

Aust wrote a biography about the journalist and author Konrad Heiden , which appeared in 2016. Heiden was one of the most successful journalistic opponents of National Socialism in the 1930s and 1940s, but after the end of World War II he was quickly forgotten. Aust had set himself the goal of bringing Heiden back into common memory, but his successful biography was critically evaluated by individuals. The Giessen scientist Markus Roth was able to prove that Aust has taken over text passages almost literally from Heiden in many places without indicating this.

With regard to man-made climate change, Aust takes a skeptical stance.


Aust lives in Lamstedt (Lower Saxony) and in Hamburg- Blankenese . He runs a horse farm with a Hanoverian stud in Armstorf near Bremervörde . He obtained prices for his breeding animals at a horse auction. Aust is married and has two daughters.





From 1980 Aust wrote various books on mostly political topics:

Two of his books were filmed: Der Pirat in 1997 by director Bernd Schadewald and Der Baader Meinhof Complex in 2008 by Uli Edel .


Aust has worked as a writer or director of various documentaries and feature films:

  • 1976: Death in Stammheim - the way of Ulrike Meinhof
  • 1980: The candidate - co-script, co-director with Alexander Kluge , Volker Schlöndorff , Alexander von Eschwege
  • 1982: War and Peace - co-script, co-director with Alexander Kluge, Volker Schlöndorff, Axel Engstfeld
  • 1983: Say No - Director
  • 1986: Stammheim - Screenplay (Director: Reinhard Hauff )
    Awarded the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival
  • 1986: Baader-Meinhof - script and direction (two-part WDR documentary about the RAF)
  • 2005: Case Germany - three-part Spiegel TV / ZDF documentary (with Claus Richter ) / German TV Prize 2005
  • 2007: Race around the world - three-part Spiegel TV / ZDF documentary (with Claus Richter)
  • 2007: The RAF - two-part documentary for ARD (with Helmar Büchel)
  • 2008: The Baader Meinhof Complex - consultant and book template (with Moritz Bleibtreu and Martina Gedeck )
  • 2009: Race around the world - ZDF documentary (with Claus Richter)
  • 2009: Risen from the ruins - ZDF documentary (with Claus Richter)
  • 2012: The hunt for Adolf Eichmann . German Version of a documentary, 2 parts, 115 min. Presentation of the film by the Israeli directors Dan Setton and Daniel Paran. With interviews from those involved in the search such as Zvi Aharoni and Isser Harel . Original title: L'Hidato Shel Adolf Eichmann , Israel, 1994, 91 min.
  • 2013: 45 min - The looted state: Secret billion deals in Germany (with Thomas Ammann), NDR
  • 2015: At the border - 24 hours at the hot spots of the refugee crisis, (N24 / Welt) / German TV Prize 2016
  • 2016: The NSU complex - script and direction (with Dirk Laabs), ARD documentation on behalf of BR / MDR / NDR


Web links

Commons : Stefan Aust  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. "Axel Springer takes over N24 / Multimedia news company emerges from N24 and WELT Group" , Axel Springer , December 9, 2013
  2. "Who is the boss now?" , FAZ , September 3, 2015
  3. Oliver Gehrs: The mirror complex: How Stefan Aust turned the tide for himself . Droemer Knaur, 2005, p. 34-35 .
  4. On the way with Stefan Aust Min .: 06: 19-06: 53. NDR, June 13, 2019, accessed on July 28, 2019 .
  6. On the way with Stefan Aust Min .: 07: 42-08: 23. NDR, June 13, 2019, accessed on July 28, 2019 .
  7. On the way with Stefan Aust Min .: 06: 56-07: 12. NDR, June 13, 2019, accessed on July 28, 2019 .
  8. On the way with Stefan Aust Min .: 19: 27-20: 40. NDR, June 13, 2019, accessed on July 28, 2019 .
  11. Aust's statement in the television program in dialogue on Phoenix, seen on September 24, 2008 (repetitive)
  12. Jutta Ditfurth: Ulrike Meinhof - The Biography. Ullstein 2007, p. 291 f.
  13. ^ "Chat on the RAF debate with Stefan Aust" , Spiegel Online , April 24, 2007
  14. ^ Aust becomes editor of "Spiegel TV" , FAZ , July 6, 2007
  15. ^ "Stefan Aust - Stages of a Career" , Süddeutsche Zeitung , November 15, 2007
  16. ^ "On the trail of the wind energy opponent Aust" ( Memento of August 6, 2004 in the Internet Archive ), Netzeitung , July 29, 2004
  17. ^ "The editor-in-chief of Germany" , the daily newspaper , March 12, 2005
  18. ^ "No contract extension for Stefan Aust" ( archive), ARD - Tagesschau , November 15, 2007
  19. ^ " Spiegel boss Aust should go. Early departure ” , Süddeutsche Zeitung , November 15, 2007
  20. "Blumencron and Mascolo new editors-in-chief of SPIEGEL" , Spiegel Online , February 5, 2008
  21. ^ "Stefan Aust wants to continue fighting" , Die Welt , February 5, 2008
  22.  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  23. Erich Wiedemann: The case of Stefan Aust , Cicero, 2008 (excerpt). Readable in full at: The Stefan Aust case , Cicero exclusive, Focus, June 18, 2008.
  24. Stefan Aust denies report about SPD intrigues , WeltN24, June 17, 2008.
  25. Joachim Huber: Ex-Spiegel boss: “That doesn't scratch me a lot” , Der Tagesspiegel, June 19, 2008.
  26. Hans-Jürgen Jakobs : Aust and the "Spiegel": Frank and free , Süddeutsche Zeitung, May 17, 2010.
  27. agendamedia
  28. ^ Süddeutsche Zeitung: New: Sabine Christiansen on Sat 1 - Now speed , July 1, 2009
  29. (Unclear distinction between literal and indirect quotations in the original) GQ
  30. ProSiebenSat.1 sells news channel N24 to a bidding consortium led by Torsten Rossmann and Stefan Aust June 16, 2010
  31. Shares of the owners in N24 Media GmbH ( Memento from July 8, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 92 kB)
  32. Stefan Aust goes to ZEIT , Sü from November 2, 2011.
  33. SZ of December 9, 2013: Stefan Aust becomes "Welt" editor
  34. Markus Roth: "Who is actually talking here?" , in: die tageszeitung , June 27, 2017, p. 15.
  35. Focus article about Maischbergersendung ~ Nov 2019
  36. Who's Who: Stefan Aust - biography
  37. ^ Spiegel boss Aust im Glück: 400,000 euros for his horse , Hamburger Abendblatt , October 15, 2007
  38. Norddeutscher Rundfunk , July 1, 2016: The thoroughbred journalist Stefan Aust
  39. ^ Visiting professorship from Stefan Aust at the University of Duisburg-Essen . Press release from the University of Duisburg-Essen, accessed on April 14, 2010.
  40. "Show the pictures" , the daily newspaper , March 28, 2007
  41. Toralf Staud: "The NSU complex": The reconstruction of the incomprehensible . In: The time . April 7, 2016, ISSN  0044-2070 ( [accessed August 15, 2016]).