Today in History
11.10.1987: Uwe Barschel Found Dead
This article published by "Spiegel" on September 12, 1987, a day before the Schleswig-Holstein state elections, got the ball rolling. Premier Uwe Barschel supposedly instructed his PR spokesperson Reiner Pfeiffer to carry out a defamation campaign against opposition leader Björn Engholm. This involved, as Pfeiffer told "Spiegel", hiring a private detective to spy on the SPD's leading candidate, anonymously reporting him for alleged tax evasion and a made-up telephone call to a doctor who told Engholm he was infected with AIDS.

It was a long story, which unfolded over years:

September 13:
The article made and impact and Barschel’s CDU lost the absolute majority in Schleswig-Holstein.

September 18:
At a four-hour press conference he made eight declarations to his employees in lieu of an oath, which were supposed to prove his innocence. In addition, Uwe Barschel declared the following: "Ladies and gentlemen, in addition to these declarations that I am about to give you in lieu of an oath, I give you, the citizens of the State of Schleswig-Holstein and the German public, my word of honour. I repeat: I give you my word of honour that the accusations made of me are unfounded".

September 25:
The increasing political pressure from his own party led Barschel to announce his resignation on 2 October.

October 6:
Barschel, whose health was suffering by this stage, went on holiday to Gran Canaria.

October 9:
In the evening, the CDU party in Kiel ordered Barschel to resign his seat in state parliament. Barschel expressed himself as "deeply disappointed" and announced his return to Kiel.

October 10:
Barschel made a detour via Geneva. There he allegedly wanted to meet a source who was supposed to have exonerating material for him.
One day later, on 11 October around 12.30 am: A "Stern" reporter found Uwe Barschel dead in the Geneva hotel "Beau Rivage". The photograph of the deceased in the bathtub spread across the world. The initial impression was that he has committed suicide; an overdose of medication was the suspected cause.

May 8, 1988:
The SPD won the absolute majority in the State Parliament elections: Björn Engholm was elected premier and later became the Head of the SPD and a candidate for federal chancellorship.

Just under five years later, on March 1, 1993:
Günther Jansen, Schleswig Holstein’s Social Welfare Minister admitted to having paid Reiner Pfeiffer around 40,000 marks from a private fund - "Out of pity", he said. Three weeks later he too was forced to resign.

May 3:
Björn Engholm resigned. He admitted having known about Pfeiffer’s activities even earlier than previously claimed.

December 21, 1994:
The Lübeck Public Prosecutor’s Office investigated Barschel’s suspected murder for the first time. Eike Barschel, the brother of the deceased, had long believed it was murder: "I’m hundred percent convinced of this. I always said that time isn’t on our side. A lot has been botched up; maybe deliberately as initially there was no end to the string of careless incidents".

October 23, 1995:
An investigative committee of the Kiel state parliament submitted a provisional final report, stating among other things that Barschel was no longer regarded as the one pulling the strings behind the defamation campaign against Engholm.

June 2, 1998:
The Lübeck public prosecutor’s office dropped the charges without result.

April 30, 1999:
The Geneva public prosecutor’s office dropped the Barschel case.

The most spectacular theories were developed over the course of the 12 years of investigations. These can only be partly investigated. It is still uncertain whether Barschel was involved in illegal arms dealings or had contacts with the GDR state security service. And what exactly happened in the Geneva hotel still remains unresolved.
Zitat des Tages
Zitat des Tages
What happened in the Geneva Hotel “Beau Rivage” on 11 October 1987?
  Princess Diana was photographed holding hands with a stranger
  German politician Uwe Barschel was found dead in a bath tub.
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