compulsory reading, German Politics, media

Skydiving. The Life and Death of Juergen W. Moellemann.

There are a lot of things one could say about Juergen W. Moellemann. And I am pretty sure that the German media is going to say pretty much all of them in the coming days and hours of reporting the details of the circumstances surrounding his dramatic death earlier today, when he – in what clearly looks like suicide for an experienced parachute enthusiast who often performed jumps as campaign events – jumped, then separated himself from his main parachute and did not use the spare one. Only fifteen minutes before this happened, the German Bundestag had lifted his Parliamentary immunity and police had entered several of his houses and his company’s offices with search warrants investigating several charges, especially tax related campaign funding fraud.

Despite his political record as federal minister, his self-declared role as vocal advocate of Palestinian cause, and last year’s unfortunate and eventually unsuccessful attempt to push the German Liberals even further to the non-economic right than they had gone on their own – including some forays into what many said was a verbal anti-semitism previously unheard of in post-war German politics that caused a huge stir of protest, and ultimately led to his latest political downfall, the sort-of-forced resignation from the party whose deputy leader he once was – most people will probably remember Juergen Moellemann for his abilty to crash and rebound. The teacher-turned-politician’s all-too-evident desire for public attention was certainly helpful to achieve this. And his ability to perform a good political show is hardly matched by anyone in the German political arena.

Political commentators in Germany have often dwelt upon how Moellemann’s high-risk hobby reflected his high-risk political life. Today, it seems the latter one was indeed the riskier activity. He had manoevered himself into a situation where he apparently felt that no parachute would assure a safe landing.

So he decided he did not need one anymore.

Check Stefan Sharkansky’s Shark Blog for English coverage of the story.