Hallervorden poem: This man is behind the scandal

A poem by Dieter Hallervorden about the Middle East conflict is causing a stir. The comedian accuses Israel of genocide. A well-known left-wing politician is behind the campaign.

The sounds to which Dieter Hallervorden recites in front of a projection screen are gentle and wistful. “Gaza, Gaza” is the name of the poem that the comedian published on Facebook on Tuesday and which has since attracted heavy criticism. In front of images of rubble, corpses and desperate people in the Gaza Strip, the 88-year-old says sentences like “No one is born a terrorist” or “And that shouldn’t be genocide?”

It’s about Israel’s military action in the Gaza Strip, which has led to many deaths among the civilian population. Hallervorden mentions that the trigger for the offensive was the brutal terrorist attack by the Palestinian Hamas on Israel on October 7th and that around 100 Israeli hostages, including children, old people and young women, are still being held hostage in the Gaza Strip not.

The actor and director Dieter Hallervorden

The comedian Dieter Hallervorden caused a stir with a poem about the Middle East conflict.

© Christoph Hardt / Imago Images

“Anyone who provides an example of anti-blame anti-Semitism in connection with the perpetrator-victim reversal in… Middle East conflict, Hallervorden’s work is a picture-book example,” said Volker Beck, chairman of the German-Israeli Society, to the “Bild” newspaper. CDU Bundestag member Gitta Connemann finds the poem “shocking,” “Self-righteous anti-Semitism as a lyrical sentiment. Instead of honey, there’s dirt in the head,” she said in the “Bild” newspaper, alluding to a well-known film by Dieter Hallervorden.

Dehm celebrates himself

One man, on the other hand, is completely thrilled. “Probably the most famous actor and theater person in Germany, @DHallervorden, has unexpectedly clearly, albeit in subtle lyrics, sided with the people bombed in the #Gaza Strip,” cheers Diether Dehm, a left-wing member of the Bundestag, on the news service X. The video shows “hard images with a sensitive song”.

The song of praise is not without a certain humor. Because Dehm composed and wrote the song and poem himself, together with Hallervorden.

The 74-year-old sat for the Left in the Bundestag until 2021 and is one of its most colorful figures. Almost every German knows him, but not because of his political commitment. Dehm became successful as a songwriter, composing and writing lyrics with and for the singer Klaus Lage, among others, including hits like “1000 and 1 Night (Zoom!)” or the “Faust auf Faust” song about the cinema crime scene with Götz George.

His drinking song “What do we want to drink for 7 days” was very popular for a while at the federal meetings of the CDU’s youngsters, the Junge Union. Dehm also temporarily appeared as a singer under the stage name “Lerryn” (“The singer with the better songs”).

At the same time, he managed other artists such as Wolf Biermann, whom he helped to gain a foothold in West Germany after his expatriation from the GDR in 1976. It later emerged that the State Security had Diether Dehm as an unofficial employee (“Willy”). There are numerous reports in his file – about Biermann, but also the SPD and events. Dehm has always denied having worked with the Stasi. He claims that he was skimmed against his will. In 1996, however, the Frankfurt regional court ruled that Dehm could be called a “Stasi informant.”

The Stasi listed him as an “unofficial employee”

On the left, he was always an exception as a “red millionaire,” but also notorious. He liked to fall out with his comrades. He even applied for an injunction against a colleague from Magdeburg, accusing her of “character assassination” because she had complained in an email about his behavior in a political debate. Dehm also always had a soft spot for conspiracy theories: he liked to assume that journalists from the “bourgeois media” were “controlled” by the Federal Intelligence Service.

In contrast to his music, Dehm has not become a man of nuances even as he has gotten older. He celebrated his 60th birthday in Berlin with one of his favorite political demands: “45 years for the nationalization of Deutsche Bank – 60 years of Diether Dehm.” CSU veterans Peter Gauweiler and Oskar Lafontaine were invited as star guests of the evening.

He repeatedly caused a stir: sometimes because he employed the former RAF terrorist Christian Klar as a freelancer for his Bundestag office, sometimes because he smuggled an African refugee from Italy to Germany.

At the same time, he made more and more enemies in the party because he didn’t think much of party discipline. In 2021, he ended up in a hopeless place when drawing up the Lower Saxony state list for the federal election and missed out on returning to parliament. Despite the intercession of Sahra Wagenknecht, whose camp Dehm had always belonged to.

Dehm would have liked to have played a larger role in Wagenknecht’s new alliance. But even there they didn’t want him anymore. The former companion was not among the founding members, who were selected by Wagenknecht himself. Left-wing circles say he is too unpredictable.

Dehm has already worked in the past with the comedian and actor Dieter Hallervorden, who was once successful with TV sketches and films and is now director of the “Schlosspark Theater” in Berlin. Three years ago he composed a song for him in which Hallervorden combines skepticism about the Corona measures with criticism of large corporations.

It wasn’t a hit. Neither for Dehm nor for Hallervorden.

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