Peter Scholl-Latour

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Peter Scholl-Latour
Scholl-Latour at a lecture in
the Bundeswehr University of Munich, 2008
Born (1924-03-09) March 9, 1924 (age 90)
Bochum, Weimar Republic
Nationality German and French
Fields Political science
Alma mater Institut d’études politiques de Paris,
Lebanese University
Known for Death in the Rice-fields
Notable awards Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur , 2005
Cross of Merit, First class, 2006
Gerhard Löwenthal Honor Award, 2008
(issued by Junge Freiheit)

Peter Roman Scholl-Latour (born March 9, 1924, in Bochum, Germany) is a Franco-German professor, journalist and publicist.


Peter Scholl-Latour is the son of the doctor Otto Scholl-Latour, born in the Saarland and grown up in Lorraine, and a mother from Alsace.

Youth and Education[edit]

Having a mother with Jewish background and thus suspicious to the national socialists (under the so-called Nuremberg Laws he was considered to be a Mischling, a "crossbreed" of first degree), his parents baptized him as a Catholic and sent him to the Jesuit Collège Saint-Michel in Swiss Freiburg. When his parents were forbidden to keep transferring money to Switzerland he had to quit the Collège and return to Germany in 1940. He finished High School at the Wilhelmsgymnasium in Kassel in 1943.

In his book Living with France, he gives account of how, after France was liberated from German occupation in 1944, he chose to sign up with the French army. Since he failed to reach French controlled territory at Metz, he decided to join Tito's Partisan army, but was arrested in the region of Steiermark in Austria and subsequently put in a Gestapo prison. After he was freed, Scholl-Latour was a member of the Commando Parachutiste Ponchardier from 1945 to 1946, a unit of French paratroopers, with whom he fought in the First Indochina War.

After taking a master's degree at Institut d’études politiques de Paris and subsequently completing his doctoral studies at the Sorbonne, he gained another master's in Arab and Islamic studies at Saint Joseph University of Beirut.

Work as a Journalist[edit]

In 1948 he enrolled as a voluntary trainee with the Saarbrücker Zeitung and traveled to America, Africa, the Middle East and large parts of Southeast and East Asia.

In the years 1954 and 1955 he was the speaker of the government of the state of Saarland under its governor Johannes Hoffmann. In 1956 he definitely opted for journalism and traveled to Africa and Southeast Asia. From 1960 to 1963 he was permanent correspondent for Africa with the ARD. From 1963 to 1983 he was head of the Paris bureau of both the ARD and the ZDF. From 1969 to 1971 he was executive director and programming director of the WDR.

From Paris he regularly traveled the world, as special correspondent to Vietnam, where he and his camera team were taken prisoner by the Vietcong in 1973. During that week of imprisonment he was allowed to film a documentary about his experience, which would be called "8 Days with the Viet Cong". Further trips included again Vietnam in 1976, Canada in 1978, Cambodia in 1980 as well as Afghanistan and China in 1981.

In 1983 Scholl-Latour become Editor in Chief of the magazine Stern and member of the board of Gruner + Jahr. As of 1984 he has been member of the board of advisors of the UFA Film- und Fernsehen GmbH. Since 1988 Scholl-Latour has been working as a free author publishing a great number of books, producing reports and appearing as speaker or "Expert" on various TV and Radio shows.

In 1978 Scholl-Latour had contact with Ayatollah Khomeini, who was in exile in Paris at that time. He was one of the few privileged journalists who were allowed to travel with the revolutionary leader on the plane upon Khomeini's return to Iran.

Since 1985 Scholl-Latour has been member of the German-Arabian Association; since 2007 its chairman.

Despite his high age, he continues writing and traveling the world. In 2008 he visited East-Timor, the only country on the planet he hadn't visited before. In the years after 9/11 he published at least one book annually, all of them bestsellers. According to Scholl-Latour, he has been the best selling non-fiction author in Germany for the last 25 years.

Rewards and Honors[edit]

Goldene Kamera (1969), Aristide-Briand-Preis (1971), Goldener Bambi (1974), Adolf-Grimme-Preis (1977), Elsie-Kühn-Leitz-Preis (1989), Bayerischer Fernsehpreis (1991), Telestar (1991), Straßburger Goldmedaille für deutsch-französische Annäherung, Sonderpreis Deutsch-Französischer Kulturrat (1992), Hildegard-von-Bingen-Preis für Publizistik (1999), Ehrenpreis des Deutschen Fernsehpreises (2001) und Hermann-Sinsheimer-Preis (2007).

Honorary professor with the Ruhr University Bochum in 1999.

Henry Nannen-Price 2005

Member of the Legion of Honor since 2005

Karl-Carstens-Price 2006

Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, First Class 2006

Steiger Award 2007

Professor with the University of Duisburg-Essen 2009

Publications (Excerpt)[edit]

Among his most successful books are the best-sellers Der Tod im Reisfeld [Death in the Rice-fields] (1980), Allah ist mit den Standhaften [Allah is with the Steadfast] (1983), Mord am grossen Fluss [Murder at the Great River] (1986), Mit Frankreich leben [Living with France] (1988), Der Wahn vom Himmlischen Frieden [The Delusion of Heavenly Peace] (1990), Das Schwert des Islam [The Sword of Islam] (1990), Den Gottlosen die Hölle [Hell to the Godless] (1991), Unter Kreuz und Knute [Under cross and knout] (1992), Eine Welt in Auflösung [A world in dissolution] (1993), Im Fadenkreuz der Mächte [In the crosshairs of the Powers] (1994), Schlaglichter der Weltpolitik [Highlights of International Politics] (1995), Das Schlachtfeld der Zukunft [The Battlefield of the Future] (1996), Lügen im Heiligen Land [Lies in the Holy Land] (1998), Allahs Schatten über Atatürk [Allah’s Shadow Over Atatürk] (1999). His 2001 book, Afrikanische Totenklage [African Dirge], was on the Spiegel bestseller list from 2001 to 2004. Russland im Zangengriff [Russia Surrounded] (2007), Der Weg in den neuen kalten Krieg [The road to the new cold war], 2008

Peter Scholl-Latour.

Documentations and Interviews (Excerpt)[edit]

In 2006 he broadcast the TV documentary "Russia Surrounded: Putin's Empire faces NATO, China and Islam"

Junge Freiheit, „Schleichende Islamisierung“ Peter Scholl-Latour über die Geiselnahme von Jolo, den Bürgerkrieg auf den Philippinen und die drohende Islamisierung

Interview with FOCUS magazine printed in: Der Weg in den neuen kalten Krieg [The road to the new cold war], 2008


  • Peter Scholl-Latour ranks at No. 147 on the Unsere Besten list of all-time greatest Germans.


External links[edit]