Gaby Weber
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Lawsuit against Bundeskanzleramt for access to the records of former Chancellor Helmut Kohl  (initiated in 2017)


Like other German Chancellors, Helmut Kohl, when he left office, did not send the files he had created during his term of office to the Federal Archives but to the private archives of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. Although this is illegal, as these files are not personal souvenirs, it is tolerated or encouraged by the Chancellery. Thus, the files are withdrawn from public view, transparency does not take place, the Federal Archives Act and the Freedom of Information Act are annulled. But the Germans accept it.


After the verdict of the Federal Constitutional Court, which I won, it is clear that these files are still the property of the Federal Government. I therefore first asked Mrs. Maike Kohl-Richter to inspect these files stored in her cellar in Oggersheim, and after she failed to respond, I filed criminal charges against her. The public prosecutor's office refused to start the investigation, as "there is no initial suspicion" that Ms. Kohl-Richter possessed official files. The Kohl biographer, Dr. Heribert Schwan, had repeatedly stated that he had worked with these files in Oggersheim, and that the files had been sent by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. And the Federal Archives are not tired of demanding that these files should be transferred to them. But public prosecutors in Germany are not independent but bound by instructions from the Ministry of Justice, this means, by the government. Therefore, I was not surprised that they do not want to investigate this matter. My attorney, Raphael Thomas, has filed a complaint and initiated an enforcement procedure. This has been rejected by the Zweibrücken Higher Regional Court. Although the court has clarified the facts of the case - namely that Kohl's Chancellery files are indeed stored in Oggersheim, it has rejected criminal investigations, as these files would have to be claimed by the Chancellery (the legal owner) and not by journalists or citizens. Conclusion: It is indeed illegal that the files are hidden there, but Mrs. Kohl-Richter does not feel doing something wrong because the Chancellor's Office once voluntarily outsourced these files to private persons.


I already filed a constitutional complaint for refusing to open criminal investigation against Mrs Kohl Richter and I filed a lawsuit against the office of Mrs. Merkel. On May 26, the Berlin Administrative Court will hear the case.