Peter Scholl-Latour

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Peter Scholl-Latour
Scholl-Latour at a lecture in the Bundeswehr University of Munich, 2008
Scholl-Latour at a lecture in the Bundeswehr University of Munich, 2008
BornPeter Roman Scholl-Latour
(1924-03-09)9 March 1924
Bochum, Germany (Weimar Republic)
Died16 August 2014(2014-08-16) (aged 90)
Rhöndorf, Germany
NationalityGerman and French
Alma materInstitut d'études politiques de Paris,
Saint Joseph University
GenrePolitical science
Notable worksDeath in the Rice-fields
Notable awardsChevalier 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 (9 March 1924 – 16 August 2014) was a German journalist and author.[1]


Peter Scholl-Latour, who was born in the Province of Westphalia and grew up in Lorraine, was the son of dermatologist Otto Scholl-Latour (1888–1960) and Mathilde Zerline Nußbaum (1896–1991; sister of the medical doctor Robert Nußbaum, who was killed in KZ Sachsenhausen) from the Alsace.[citation needed]

Youth and Education[edit]

Having a Jewish mother 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 Fribourg. 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 Lebanese University of Beirut.[citation needed]

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 became 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.

In 1985 Scholl-Latour became a member of the German-Arabian Association; since 2007 its chairman.

Despite his old age, he continued 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 was the best selling non-fiction author in Germany for the last 25 years.

He was critical of immigration into Europe, saying “He who half-absorbs Calcutta does not save Calcutta, but becomes Calcutta himself”.

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),
  • Honorary professor (Ruhr University Bochum, 1999)
  • Ehrenpreis des Deutschen Fernsehpreises (2001)
  • Hermann-Sinsheimer-Preis (2007)
  • 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
  • Honorary Professor (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. His 2002 book Kampf dem Terror - Kampf dem Islam? Chronik eines unbegrenzten Krieges [Fight against Terror - fight against the Islam? Chronicle of a Never Ending War], is a sovereign and poignant in-depth account of the bizar lines via which both exotic history and Western politics move, according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. His last book was 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.


  1. ^ "German-French Reporting Legend Scholl-Latour Dies - ABC News". 2014-08-16. Retrieved 2014-08-17.

External links[edit]