Bitter feud divides family of Germany’s reunification leader

Son of Helmut Kohl accuses second wife of controlling former Chancellor ‘like a stalker’

Berlin

A vicious feud dividing the family of Germany’s legendary “unification chancellor”, Helmut Kohl, erupted into the open yesterday after Mr Kohl’s estranged son accused his father’s new wife of imposing a contact ban on him and his children and of hero-worshipping her elderly husband like a stalker.

The bitter allegations against the 82-year-old Mr Kohl’s wife, Maike Kohl-Richter, who is 49, were made by the former chancellor’s son Peter, who used a television appearance and a series of magazine interviews to savagely criticise her.

Helmut Kohl was chancellor of West Germany from 1982 to 1990 and of the reunited Germany until 1998.

Peter Kohl, 47, said he had last visited his ailing father, who suffered a fall in 2008 and now cannot walk or speak clearly, with his daughter two years ago. He said his father has been “really pleased” to see both of them, but had told them they should leave almost immediately, “otherwise there will be a huge problem again”.

He said Mrs Kohl-Richter, who married Mr Kohl in 2008, had imposed a “contact ban” preventing him, his daughter and Mr Kohl’s other grandchildren from visiting his father. He also alleged that she vetted who his father was allowed to speak to and that he and his brother had been removed from a police list of approved visitors.

Similar accusations emerged in the German media last year, saying Mr Kohl was virtually a prisoner in the bungalow he shares with his wife in the Rhineland city of Oggerheim. Der Spiegel magazine described Mrs Kohl-Richter as “The Lady Macbeth of Oggersheim” and accused her of jealously controlling the ex-chancellor.

Mrs Kohl-Richter has made no public statements about her relationship with her husband or with his two sons by his first wife, Hannelore. A devoted supporter of Mr Kohl, Hannelore committed suicide in 2001 after suffering for years from photodermatitis, a crippling allergy to light.

Peter Kohl said: “For my father this is all unbelievably damaging and reprehensible. I find [Mrs Kohl- Richter] responsible for all this damage.”

He accused her of hero-worshipping her husband like a “stalker”.

He said previous visits to the home Mr Kohl shared with her had given him the impression that he was walking into a private Helmut Kohl museum. “There was Helmut Kohl photography wherever you looked. It was like being in a propaganda programme about my father,” he said.

Peter Kohl also claimed that Mrs Kohl-Richter had actually started an affair with his father in 1998, when she worked as an assistant in his chancellery, and not shortly before he married her a decade later.

Neither Mrs Kohl-Richter nor Mr Kohl responded to the accusations.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
Powdered colors are displayed for sale at a market ahead of the Holi festival in Bhopal, India
techHere's what you need to know about the riotous occasion
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Assistant / Credit Controller

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are an award-winning digit...

Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable