Jack Koehler

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Jack Koehler
White House Director of Communications
In office
March 1, 1987 – March 13, 1987
President Ronald Reagan
Preceded by Pat Buchanan
Succeeded by Tom Griscom
Personal details
Born Wolfgang Koehler
(1930-06-11)June 11, 1930
Dresden, Germany
Died September 28, 2012(2012-09-28) (aged 82)
Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.
Political party Republican
Education Dresden Business College
San Francisco State University
New York University

John O. "Jack" Koehler (June 11, 1930 – September 28, 2012) was a German-born American journalist and executive for the Associated Press, who also briefly served as the White House Communications Director in 1987 during the Reagan administration.[1]

Koehler was born Wolfgang Koehler in Dresden, Germany, but fled the city to escape the invasion of Soviet troops into Germany towards the end of World War II.[1] He soon found a position as a German language interpreter for the United States Army when he was a teenager.[1] He moved to Canada after World War II and then immigrated to the United States in 1954.[1] Koehler enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he worked in intelligence.[1] He legally changed his name to John Koehler after moving to the United States.[1]

Koehler took a position with the Associated Press as a foreign correspondent in Berlin and Bonn, West Germany.[1] He then became the Associated Press' bureau chief in Newark, New Jersey.[1] He rose to become the assistant general manager and managing director of AP's world services, a position he held until his retirement in 1985.[1]

The United States Information Agency recruited Koehler to lobby on behalf of Afghan rebels following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.[1] He traveled to Pakistan and France to focus on helping rebels get their messages out to journalists and foreign governments.[1]

In 1987, Koehler, who was friends with Ronald Reagan, became the White House Communications Director.[1] However, Koehler resigned after just one week in the White House after it became public that he had been a member of the Deutsches Jungvolk, a Nazi government youth division, when he was ten years old.[1] Koehler insisted that his membership in the Jungvolk was not the reason for his resignation, dismissing the Jungvolk as "the Boy Scouts run by the Nazi party."[1] Rather he wanted to give his successor time to choose a new communication team.[1] He then started an international consulting firm.[1]

He authored two books during his later life, Stasi: The Untold Story of the East German Secret Police and Spies in the Vatican: The Soviet Union's Cold War Against the Catholic Church.[1]

Koehler died from pancreatic cancer at his home in Stamford, Connecticut, on September 28, 2012, at the age of 82.[1] He was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.[1]


Political offices
Preceded by
Pat Buchanan
White House Director of Communications
Succeeded by
Tom Griscom