Jürgen Todenhöfer

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Jürgen Todenhöfer

Jürgen Todenhöfer (born 12 November 1940 in Offenburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany) is a German author, journalist, politician, and executive.

Education and work[edit]

Todenhöfer studied law at the universities of Munich, Paris, Bonn and Freiburg. He graduated as a doctor of law in 1969 and worked as a judge from 1972 on.


He became a member of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) in 1970 and was a member of the Bundestag from 13 December 1972 to 20 December 1990 (five election periods) where he represented Tübingen and was affiliated with the pejoratively named "Stahlhelm-Fraktion."[1] He also acted as party spokesman for development policy and arms control. He was vice chairman of the executive board of German media company Hubert Burda Media until 2008.

He is considered to be a pacifist although he pointed out that he is not.[2][3]


He is a Christian.[4]


In 1980 he visited Soviet-occupied Afghanistan and started to raise money for refugees. Todenhöfer is one of the most prominent German critics of the US-led wars against Afghanistan and against Iraq in 2001 and 2003, respectively.

He claims that during the war in Iraq the Bush administration was deceiving the public and that the US war in Iraq has killed several hundred thousand Iraqi civilians. He has visited Iraq several times and did original research for his book Why do you kill, Zaid?[5]

Following the International Criminal Court's arrest warrant against the Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir, he sent an open letter to the Prosecutor General of the ICC, Luis Moreno-Ocampo. He asked for the reasons which led the prosecutor to indict the Sudanese dictator but not the US president George W. Bush or the British prime minister Tony Blair, seeing that neither Sudan nor the US have recognized the International Criminal Court.[6]

First western journalist to visit ISIL[edit]

In 2014 Todenhöfer visited Syria and Iraq, becoming the first Western journalist to be allowed extensive access to ISIL-controlled territories and to return safely.[7][8] In a subsequent interview he explains that ISIL is a reaction to violent actions taken by western countries in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. "The organization [ISIL] is the baby of George W. Bush. And the violence that we face now is the fallout or boomerang effect of our own wars."[9]

Interview with al Nusra commander[edit]

In 2016 Todenhöfer filmed an interview with an alleged Syrian rebel commander near Aleppo. The commander, said to be with the al-Qaeda affiliated group the Al-Nusra Front (later Jabhat Fateh al-Sham), claimed to have American support and said his group opposed humanitarian aid to civilians. Whether the commander was truly a Nusra fighter was later questioned and the authenticity of the video disputed.[10]

Major works[edit]

  • Wer weint schon um Abdul und Tanaya? (2003)
  • Andy und Marwa. Zwei Kinder und der Krieg (2005)
  • Warum tötest du, Zaid? (2008)
  • Why Do You Kill?: The Untold Story of the Iraqi Resistance, (2008), ISBN 978-1-934708-14-9
  • Teile Dein Glück (2010)
  • "Du sollst nicht töten: Mein Traum vom Frieden " (2013)
  • Inside IS - 10 Tage im "Islamischen Staat". (2015), ISBN 978-3-570-10276-3.


  1. ^ " Der Spiegel 48/1987
  2. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VT5W6aGHdc
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ " WDR5 interview in "Tischgespräch", broadcast 15 September 2008, 03:03 to 04:00
  6. ^ Jürgen Todenhöfer (11 August 2008). "Open Letter to Luis Moreno Ocampo!". hoa-politicalscene.com. 
  7. ^ Withnall, Adam. "Inside Isis: The first Western journalist ever given access to the 'Islamic State' has just returned – and this is what he discovered". The Independent. Retrieved 22 December 2014. 
  8. ^ "Rare Islamic State visit reveals 'brutal and strong' force". BBC. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  9. ^ "ISIL is the baby of George W Bush". Euronews. January 16, 2015. Retrieved January 21, 2015. 
  10. ^ Christoph Reuter, Momentous Syria Interview Under Fire Der Spiegel 1 October 2016

External links[edit]