Gerhart Baum

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Gerhart Baum
Gerhart Baum DAV 2008 detail.jpg
Baum in 2008
Federal Minister of the Interior
In office
8 June 1978 – 17 September 1982
Preceded by Werner Maihofer
Succeeded by Jürgen Schmude
Member of the Bundestag
In office
1972 – 1994
Personal details
Born (1932-10-28) 28 October 1932 (age 84)
Dresden, Germany
Nationality German
Political party Free Democratic Party (FDP)
Alma mater University of Cologne
Profession Lawyer

Gerhart Rudolf Baum (born 28 October 1932 in Dresden) is a German politician of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) and a lawyer.

Political career[edit]

From 1972, Baum served as Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of the Interior under minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, in the governments of Chancellor Willy Brandt and his successor Helmut Schmidt.

From 1978 until 1982, Baum was Federal Minister of the Interior. During his time in office, he liberalized routine loyalty investigations of candidates for public‐service jobs, a controversial practice intended to control radical activity that had led to a profound and disruptive debate about the extent of democracy in West Germany.[1] In 1981, with the backing of the Economics Minister Otto Graf Lambsdorff, he asked the German car industry to agree on goals to tighten emissions standards and cut fuel consumption on a voluntary basis.[2]

Following the collapse of the social–liberal coalition, Baum – alongside fellow FDP ministers Genscher, Lambsdorff, and Josef Ertl – resigned from the government on 18 September 1982.

Life after politics[edit]

Between 2000 and 2001, Baum and two other lawyers together represented about three-quarters of the Air France Flight 4590 crash victims' families. In May 2001, they reached a monetary settlement for compensation from Air France.[3] According to people familiar with terms of the settlement, it was between $100 million and $125 million (114.1 million euros and 142.6 million euros), an extraordinarily high sum for a plane-crash settlement in Europe at the time.[4]

From 2001 to 2003, Baum served as UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Sudan.[5][6]

In 2006, Baum presented a press freedom award to Berliner Zeitung for its resistance to an unpopular takeover by David Montgomery’s Mecom Group.[7]

In 2009, Germany’s national railway company Deutsche Bahn commissioned Baum and former Justice Minister Herta Däubler-Gmelin with investigating allegations according to which the company had, in violation of privacy laws and corporate guidelines repeatedly and on a large scale compared personal data of its employees with those of suppliers, in a bid to uncover possible corruption.[8]

In 2016, Baum joined members of the Green Party, lawyers, a journalist and a doctor in bringing suits against Germany’s 2009 antiterrorism law before the Federal Constitutional Court, arguing that covert surveillance, particularly in private homes and in the intimacy of bedrooms or bathrooms, could entangle innocent third parties. In a 6-to-2 vote, the court ruled that the antiterrorism laws were partly unconstitutional and demanded tighter control over surveillance.[9]

Other activities[edit]

  • Kunststiftung NRW, Member of the Board of Trustees
  • Stiftung Menschenrechte, Member of the Council[10]
  • Theodor Heuss Foundation, Member of the Board of Trustees
  • United Nations Association of Germany (DGVN), Member of the Presidium[11]
  • Stichting Volkswagen Car Claim, President of the Avisory Board[12]


Selected works[edit]

  • Die Finanzkrise und ihre Folgen für die Bevölkerung. Anforderungen an einen verbesserten Verbraucherschutz, in: Robertson-von Trotha, Caroline Y. (ed.): Herausforderung Demokratie. Demokratisch, parlamentarisch, gut? (= Kulturwissenschaft interdisziplinär/Interdisciplinary Studies on Culture and Society, Vol. 6), Baden-Baden 2011
  • Die Grundrechte im Spannungsverhältnis von Sicherheit und Freiheit, in: Robertson-von Trotha, Caroline Y. (ed.): 60 Jahre Grundgesetz. Interdisziplinäre Perspektiven (= Kulturwissenschaft interdisziplinär/Interdisciplinary Studies on Culture and Society, Vol. 4), Baden-Baden 2009


  1. ^ John Vicocur (January 19, 1979), Bonn Eases Loyalty Checks for National Employment New York Times.
  2. ^ John Tagliabue (August 25, 1981), Auto Exhaust Standard is Disputed in Germany New York Times.
  3. ^ Germans Reach Deal In Concorde Crash New York Times, May 14, 2001.
  4. ^ Daniel Michaels (May 15, 2001), Relatives of Concorde Victims Accept Monetary Settlement: Airlines, Insurers May Pay As Much as $125 Million Wall Street Journal.
  5. ^ Situation of human rights in the Sudan United Nations, Report of the Special Rapporteur, Gerhart Baum, submitted in accordance with Commission resolution 2001/18.
  6. ^ UN Human rights rapporteur in Sudan BBC News, March 11, 2001.
  7. ^ Katy Duke (May 4, 2006), German paper hailed for fighting Montgomery takeover The Guardian.
  8. ^ Susanne Amann (May 14, 2009), Repairing Spying Scandal Damage: New Era of Openness Dawns at Deutsche Bahn Spiegel Online.
  9. ^ Alison Smale (April 20, 2016), German Court Rules Antiterrorism Laws Partly Unconstitutional New York Times.
  10. ^ Stiftungsrat Stiftung Menschenrechte.
  11. ^ Presidium United Nations Association of Germany (DGVN).
  12. ^ Advisory Board Stichting Volkswagen Car Claim.