Otto Graf Lambsdorff

Otto Friedrich Wilhelm Baron von der Wenge Graf Lambsdorff of ( born December 20, 1926 in Aachen, † December 5, 2009 in Bonn ) was a German politician ( FDP). He held office from 1977 to 1982 and from 1982 to 1984 as Federal Minister of Economics and from 1988 to 1993 as national chairman of the FDP. 1987 Lambsdorff was sentenced in connection with the Flick affair for tax evasion to a fine.

Education and work

Otto Graf Lambsdorff came from the Baltic German noble family of the von Lambsdorff. He attended from 1932 first schools in Berlin and from 1941 to 1944 as a boarding pupil of the former Knight Academy, the Saldern High School in Brandenburg an der Havel. During World War II he served in the spring of 1944 as an officer cadet in the Army and was severely wounded in Thuringia Easter 1945 in a strafing run. As a result of wounding his left leg had to be amputated above the knee, so he used a cane in later years.

After the captivity Lambsdorff was then 1946 Abitur at Pestalozzi -Gymnasium Unna and then earned a degree in law and political science at the University of Bonn and Cologne University, which he finished in 1950 with the first legal state exam. 1952 he obtained his PhD with the work farewell to the kingdom power law with special emphasis on current case law on the RLG. In 1955 he passed the second state examination.

From 1955 to 1971 he was in the banking industry, most recently as Executive Vice President of Düsseldorf private bank Trinkaus. Since 1960 he was admitted to the bar. From 1971 to 1977 he was a member of the Board of Victoria - Re. In 1978 he joined the Düsseldorf law firm Wessing / von der Goltz. From 1988 to July 2008, he was Chairman of the Iveco Magirus AG. Lambsdorff has held a position on the Advisory Board of the GML (Group Menatep ), whose majority shareholder Mikhail Khodorkovsky was.


Otto Graf Lambsdorff was the oldest of three children of Herbert Graf Lambsdorff (1899-1976) and Eva von Schmid ( 1904-1978 ). His brother Hagen Graf Lambsdorff ( b. 1935 ) was German Ambassador to Czechoslovakia and Latvia. Lambsdorff 1953 married Renate Lepper. He has made ​​this marriage, which was later divorced, with three children. Lambsdorff 1975 married his second wife Alexandra of Quistorp (* 1945). He lived temporarily in Bad Münster - Eifel Eschweiler and also in Bonn. His grave is located in a family tomb on the West Stahnsdorf.

His nephew, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff represents the FDP since 2004 in the European Parliament.


Lambsdorff was a member of the FDP since 1951. From 1968 to 1978 he served as treasurer Member of Executive FDP Executive of North Rhine -Westphalia. Since 1972, Lambsdorff belonged to the FDP Federal Board of, since 1982, the Bureau of the FDP. From 1988 to 1993 he was National Chairman and since 1993 Honorary Chairman of the FDP. From 1991 to 1994 Lambsdorff President of the Liberal International was. From 1995 to 2006 he was chairman of the board of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation. Documents on its activities for the FDP and the Liberal International are in the archives of liberalism in Gummersbach.


Lambsdorff was from 1972 to 1998 Member of the German Bundestag. Here he was from 1972 to 1977 and from 1984 to 1997 economic policy spokesman of the FDP parliamentary group.

Public offices and political goals

Role as Minister

On October 7, 1977, he was appointed as Federal Minister of Economics led by Chancellor Helmut Schmidt federal government. Convinced of the ordo-liberalism and the market economy, Lambsdorff argued for a for a new system of co-determination legislation. He tried doing that to prevent his view to extensive participation rights, which had been introduced as a result of Biedenkopf Commission to the Co-Determination Act of 1976. On the other hand, he turned against the " deficit spending " in the context of global control, which leads to an ever increasing debt burden of the state.

After the parliamentary election in 1980 Lambsdorff was including through the drafting, published on September 9, 1982 so-called Lambsdorff - paper ( concept for a policy to overcome the weakness in growth and combat unemployment, as a divorce paper or manifesto of secession known) instrumental in breaking the involved social-liberal coalition. On September 17, 1982, he resigned together with the other FDP Federal Ministers. After the election of Helmut Kohl as Chancellor Lambsdorff was re-appointed on 4 October 1982 Federal Minister of Economics.

Flick Affair and tax evasion

As part of the so-called Flick Affair of the Bundestag lifted on December 2, 1983, at the request of the investigating Bonn public prosecutor 's immunity of the incumbent Federal Economics Minister to Lambsdorff, who then, as the charges were approved, resigned on 27 June 1984. The trial before the Bonn District Court lasted about one and a half years. On February 16, 1987 Otto Graf Lambsdorff, together with the repair manager Eberhard von Brauchitsch ( "Care of the political landscape ") and the former Federal Minister Hans Friedrichs was convicted of tax evasion. Lambsdorff was fined in the amount of 180,000 DM from the accusation of bribery or corruption, the court said the defendants for lack of evidence freely. By the Federal Ministry of Economics him but DM 515,000 legal aid has been granted to cover his legal fees.

More offices

A well-known advocate of the market economy Lambsdorff remained popular in his party and was able to prevail in 1988 as the successor to Martin Bange man at the election of the FDP party chairman against Irmgard Adam - Schwaetzer. During his tenure came in August 1990 concluded the merger of the FDP with the Liberal Democratic Party and other liberal groups in the GDR. After German reunification, the FDP one of their best election results achieved since inception. Already at that time called Lambsdorff as one of the first a departure from the previous " redistributive policies " and the " return to more market principles and principles ", which would later determine the Wiesbaden-based principles of the FDP.

Role as special envoy

After retiring from the Bundestag he started in 1999 as an agent of former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder to lead the negotiations on the form and amount of compensation for former Nazi forced laborers. With the establishment of the Foundation " Remembrance, Responsibility and Future" this restitution in the summer of 2001 has begun. Lambsdorff received for his role in this case the Tolerance Prize of the Jewish Museum Berlin.

Non-public offices

Otto Graf Lambsdorff was honorary president of the DSW ( German Association for the Protection of securities owned). Since 2006 he was a consultant to the International Japan Art Association for the award of the Praemium Imperiale.


1962 Otto Graf Lambsdorff was a founding member of the Rotary Club Dusseldorf -south. In 1995 he co-founded and until 2003 of the Association Brandenburg Cathedral Board of Trustees Chairman. He was a member of the Chapter of the Cathedral of Brandenburg / Havel. From 1992 to 2001 he was European Chairman of the Trilateral Commission and from 2001 Honorary Chairman. Lambsdorff was a member of the jury of the Franz Werfel Human Rights Award and a member of the Protestant Knights Hospitaller.

Prizes and Awards (selection)

  • Order of the Sacred Treasure with shoulder tape (1993 )
  • Great Federal Cross of Merit with Star and Sash
  • Officer's Cross of the French Legion of Honour
  • Order of Marie - country Cross, First Class (1997)
  • Reinhold Maier Medal of Reinhold Maier Foundation (1998)
  • Ludwig Erhard Medal (1999)
  • Grand Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany ( 4 December 2000)
  • Eric M. Warburg Prize ( 2000 - Atlantik-Brücke eV )
  • Induction into the Hall of Fame of German Business ( 2001)
  • Commander with Star of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary ( 2002)
  • Friedrich A. von Hayek Medal (25 June 2004)
  • Tolerance Award of the Jewish Museum in Berlin (2005)
  • Light of Truth Award (16 June 2005)
  • Order of Merit of North Rhine -Westphalia (2006)

Publications (selection)

  • (Ed.): " The formation of individuality is the final purpose. " Wilhelm von Humboldt - today? Contributions of a Colloquium on Liberal Culture and education policy to mark the 75th birthday of Dr. Barthold C. Witte on 23 May 2003 in Berlin. Liberal -Verlag, Berlin 2003, ISBN 3-920590-05-8.
  • Fresh air for Bonn. A liberal policy with more market as a state. 2nd edition, DVA, Stuttgart 1987, ISBN 3-421-06373-7.
  • Rational use of energy. National measures and results as well as international aspects. Good luck, Essen 1981, ISBN 3-7739-0362-6.
  • Probation. Economic policies in times of crisis. Econ, Dusseldorf [ua ] 1980, ISBN 3-430-15888-5.
  • Objective. Challenges and opportunities of the market economy. Econ, Dusseldorf [ua ] 1977, ISBN 3-430-15887-7.
  • Farewell to the Empire power law with special emphasis on current case law on the RLG. University of Cologne in 1952. (Dissertation)