Helmut Kohl’s widow has not exhausted all the means she had previously threatened against the work of the new Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl Foundation. Maike Kohl-Richter announced last year that she would sue the public law foundation decided by the Bundestag.
She did not do this, explained the chairman of the foundation’s board of trustees, Volker Kauder (CDU), who was a long-time political companion of Kohl. “A lawsuit has not been filed,” said the former head of the Union faction in the Bundestag on Thursday in Berlin. The foundation, which is currently being set up, intends to hold its first public event in the near future.
The widow warned: This contradicts my husband’s last will
The Bundestag approved the foundation for the Chancellor of Unity in May 2021 and endowed it with 2.9 million euros annually. Kohl-Richter had previously warned: “The project contradicts my husband’s last will.” She referred to doubts on the part of her lawyers as to whether Kohl’s life and politics could actually be “objectively” processed in this model.
Lengthy negotiations to involve the widow in the work of a public foundation had previously failed. According to Kohl-Richter, who describes the processes from her point of view on the website “www.helmut-kohl.de”, the other side was not willing to give her any reasonable influence.
“We have no contact,” said Kauder, head of the board of trustees, when asked about the widow’s attitude. According to him, he maintained good relations with former Chancellor Kohl and his second wife at the time. However, she broke off contact the moment she found out about the intention to set up the foundation. “Then the oven was off,” said the CDU politician.
Kohl-Richter founded the “Helmut-Kohl-Foundation” with other personalities last year and is of the opinion that a foundation for the care of the politician’s legacy should not be based in Berlin, but rather in his hometown of Ludwigshafen. Kauder emphasized on the other hand, the task of his institution is to keep alive the memory of the political activities of the chancellor during his term of office. “We are not the Helmut Kohl Foundation, but the Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl Foundation,” he said. It is “a public institution and not a private inheritance”.
The foundation does not want to deal with the donation affair
Kohl was Prime Minister from 1982 to 1998. His greatest achievements are his contributions to the reunification of Germany and the growing together of Europe. In 1999, the donation affair cast a dark shadow on his life’s work. However, the foundation does not want to focus on this aspect of Kohl’s work. “The donation story was party and not Chancellor, so that will not become our topic, at least not in the foreseeable future,” said CDU politician Kauder.
Managing director Jacqueline Boysen assured that the foundation would not deal “uncritically” with Kohl when it came to financing the unit or asylum policy. “History can’t work if you only show the bright side,” she said. Boysen emphasized that the foundation was “friendly to everyone and open to everyone” from Kohl’s circle.
She understands that the perspective of a relative of a deceased politician “is always different from the scientific-historical one”. Their conclusion: “You have to endure this distance.” The legally defined task is “to draw a contemporary picture of Kohl”, to evoke the memory of his great historical merits and to ask current questions.
On the 40th anniversary of Kohl’s election as chancellor, the foundation invites you to its opening event on September 27th, which will bring together two politicians who otherwise do not appear together: the welcoming address will be given by CDU chairman Friedrich Merz, the closing address by former chancellor Angela Merkel.