Thursday December 09, 2021

Kohl's widow unlikely to win legal dispute over biography

Published : 25 Oct 2021, 23:26

  DF News Desk

Maike Kohl-Richter, widow of former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, stands next to the portrait of her husband. Photo: Andreas Arnold/dpa.

An attempt by former German chancellor Helmut Kohl's widow to claim compensation due to her husband for the publication of a controversial biography looks doomed to fail, reported dpa.

On Monday Germany's Supreme Court ruled that a claim for compensation for infringement of privacy cannot normally be inherited by the claimant's next of kin, and that it saw no reason to make an exception in this case. The court will announce its final judgement in the case at a later date.

Maike Kohl-Richter is seeking at least 5 million euros plus interest from Kohl's ghostwriter Heribert Schwan. The legal action was originally launched by Kohl himself before his death in 2017.

Schwan, a journalist and one-time confidant of the former chancellor, was contracted to write Kohl's memoirs and for his research spoke with the former CDU leader for hundreds of hours at his home in Ludwigshafen. The two fell out after the third of four planned volumes had been published, however.

Schwan then published his own book "Legacy: The Kohl Protocols" in 2014, without Kohl's permission. It quoted Kohl's often scathing comments about fellow politicians and other public figures made in private to Schwan.

Kohl-Richter's lawyer told the Supreme Court that a court in Cologne Regional had awarded Kohl 1 million euros compensation shortly before his death, but that the debtors had never paid up.