Obituary heinrich lummer: not an unsympathetic asshole

Christian Democrat Heinrich Lummer, Berlin’s Senator of the Interior from 1981 to 1986, died on June 15 at the age of 86

September 1981: Lummer enters a vacated house on Bulowstrasse Photo: dpa

A "great politician" he had been, the Berlin CDU chairman Kai Wegener paid tribute to his party colleague Heinrich Lummer, who has now died at the age of 86. Contemporary witnesses remember the popular and polarizing Christian Democrat as a rather small man who was often said to have the Napoleon syndrome; a small man with a big mouth. In any case, Lummer was an influential right-wing populist long before the term existed.

Heinrich Jodokus Lummer stood like no other for the right wing of the West Berlin CDU during the Cold War, was a tough anti-communist, and at the same time a jovial person who was popular with journalists and the B.Z. Berliners because he loved the open word and was always good for an entertaining quip.

Born in 1932 in Essen in the Ruhr region, he learned to be an electrician before graduating from night school and studying political science at the Otto Suhr Institute of Freie Universitat. In 1965, he entered West Berlin state politics as executive director of the CDU parliamentary group in the Berlin House of Representatives. In 1967, he became a member of parliament and in 1969, CDU parliamentary group chairman.

When Richard v. Weizsacker broke the dominance of the SPD in 1981, he made Lummer senator of the interior to clean up the squatters – which he did with glee. Spurred on by the Springer press, Lummer found himself. As the man for the rough stuff, he had nine squatters evicted in one fell swoop on September 22, 1981.

Heinrich Jodokus Lummer was not necessarily unsympathetic, but he was a real asshole.

After the police had dragged the squatters out of the houses with a martial array, Lummer took the opportunity to pose for a TV crew on the balcony of a house that had just been vacated. As squatters gathered on Bulowstrasse to protest against the commander, truncheon-wielding police officers drove them into the flow of traffic on Potsdamer Strasse. The young squatter Klaus-Jurgen Rattay got caught under a BVG bus and died.

Now Lummer was the bogeyman of the left, Weizsacker called him off, serious negotiations began and several squats were legalized. Lummer had done his duty, and Weizsacker was succeeded not by the polarizing right-winger, but by the liberal CDU man Eberhard Diepgen. When it emerged in 1986 that Lummer had wanted to procure state-owned apartments cheaply for a shady friend named Otto Putsch, he was forced to resign in the wake of the Antes scandal.

Entry ban in Israel

It was only after his resignation that Der Spiegel found out that the CDU right-winger had paid to paste over SPD election posters and had had himself skimmed off in a big way by a Stasi agent in East Berlin with whom he had sexual relations. He was a cheerful hedonist who also liked to have a drink too many times.

After leaving top politics following a brief stint in the Bundestag, Lummer slid further and further to the right: His 1999 book was called "Germany Should Remain German: No Immigration Country, No Dual Passport, No Land Rights." He warned against the "uberfremdung" of Germany, blasphemed about the "Holocaust industry" and wrote for the right-wing Junge Freiheit. After repeatedly drawing on the right’s anti-Semitic repertoire, he was banned from entering Israel.

Contrary to the commandment to report only good things in obituaries, it should be noted: Heinrich Jodokus Lummer was not necessarily unsympathetic, but he was a right-wing asshole.

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