A German court has rejected an attempt by Helmut Kohl to stop a controversial biography of the former Chancellor from being published.
In “Legacy: the Kohl Protocols” he is less than flattering about world figures such as the current German leader Angela Merkel and former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.
The 84-year-old, now partially paralysed, launched a new version of his autobiography this week. He has long tried to stop the unauthorised book from seeing the light of day.
A spokesman for the publishers said their stance had been reaffirmed by the court’s decision.
The biography quotes Kohl as saying his then protegee, the young Angela Merkel, couldn’t eat properly with a knife and fork, and had to be told to “pull herself together” after hanging around at state dinners”.
Gorbachev’s legacy is called into question beyond calling time on Communism, “partly against his will”.
Kohl, in power when the Berlin Wall fell 25 years ago, also cautions against overestimating the role of civil rights activists in the subsequent German reunification.
The book is based on hundreds of interviews recorded with the journalist Heribert Schwan in the early 2000s.
Late last year a court ruled in Kohl’s favour over the interview tapes. But Schwan appealed against the decision and was able to prepare transcripts before handing the recordings back.
Excerpts of the book have been published online in the German magazine “Der Spiegel”.