Life and career
Augstein was born in Hamburg. He grew up as the son of renowned translator Maria Carlsson and of one of the most influential journalists and publishers of post-war Germany, Rudolf Augstein. After the death of Rudolf in 2002, his mother told Jakob that his biological father is the famous writer (novelist) Martin Walser; Jakob publicised this in 2009. His half-sisters are journalist Franziska Augstein, actress Franziska Walser, dramatist Theresia Walser and writers Johanna Walser and Alissa Walser.
After graduating high school (Abitur) at Christianeum Hamburg, Augstein studied political science at the Otto-Suhr-Institut at the Free University of Berlin and at the Institut d'études politiques de Paris (Science Po). From 1993 to 2003 he worked for Süddeutsche Zeitung in Munich and Berlin, from 1999 to 2002 being the chief editor of the "Berlin" section of SZ. In 2004, he bought the majority of Rogner & Bernhard, a Berlin publishing house (he sold it to Haffmans & Tolkemitt in 2011). Augstein holds 24 percent of the Augstein family's part of the Spiegel-Verlag publishing house, that his father founded in 1947.
On 26 May 2008 Augstein bought, and became editor of, the minor weekly newspaper Der Freitag.
Also since early 2011, he is the counterpart of Nikolaus Blome, a journalist for BILD newspaper, in a weekly debate on controversial issues of German politics, on German public television channel PHOENIX ("Augstein und Blome").
Augstein is married and has three children.
In a 2012 Top Ten Anti-Semitic/Anti-Israel Slurs, the Simon Wiesenthal Center ranked Jakob Augstein at a ninth position, which sparked a vast controversy in the media. Henryk M. Broder, a public commentator, was cited in the publication: "Jakob Augstein is not a salon anti-Semite, he’s a pure anti-Semite … an offender by conviction who only missed the opportunity to make his career with the Gestapo because he was born after the war. He certainly would have had what it takes." After this publication, Broder apologized for his "dramatizations." Apart from that, he held his criticism of Augstein upright.
In response to the ranking, the influential conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote that "the choice of Jakob Augstein for ninth place on the list of the 10 worst anti-Semites is a serious intellectual and strategic error made by the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Not only has a critical journalist been placed in a group into which he doesn't belong, the nine other people and groups who have justifiably been pilloried can now exculpate themselves by pointing to such arbitrariness." The Wiesenthal Center refused to speak to Augstein unless he would apologize first.
- Sieben Schüsse in Glienicke. Gerichtsreportagen aus Berlin. Epilogue by Gerhard Mauz. Carl Hanser Verlag, München/Wien. 1998.
- Die Tage des Gärtners. Vom Glück, im Freien zu sein. Carl Hanser Verlag, München. 2012.
- SABOTAGE: Warum wir uns zwischen Demokratie und Kapitalismus entscheiden müssen. Carl Hanser Verlag, München. 2013.
- Jakob Augstein. In: Munzinger Internationales Biographisches Archiv. No. 11/2010. 16 March 2010 (gi). Updated last in week 7/2012.
- Gerrit Bartels: Augstein und Walser. Vater und Sohn: Eine gewisse Ähnlichkeit. In: Der Tagesspiegel. 28 November 2009. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
- Simon Wiesenthal Center Top Ten Anti-Semitic/ Anti-Israel Slurs 2012
- Das war nicht hilfreich. Ich entschuldige mich., Die Welt, 11 January, 2013
- What Makes an Anti-Semite? Wiesenthal List Induces Hand-Wringing in Germany, Der Spiegel, 4 January, 2013
- Top Ten Anti-Semites Controversy: Wiesenthal Center Refuses Debate with Accused Author, Der Spiegel, 7 January, 2013
- Literature by and about Jakob Augstein in the German National Library catalogue
- „Permanentes Gespräch mit den Lesern“ – an article on Augstein in German media magazine kressreport (23 January 2009)
- „Jakob Augstein. Der Meinungsmakler“ – an article in German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (24 January 2009)
- „Wir sind doch alle total versoftet.“ – an interview in online magazine Planet Interview (16 June 2009=