Bundesminister a. D.
|Federal Minister of the Interior|
8 June 1978 – 17 September 1982
|Preceded by||Werner Maihofer|
|Succeeded by||Jürgen Schmude|
|Parliamentary Secretary of State for the Interior|
15 December 1972 – 8 June 1978
|Preceded by||Wolfram Dorn|
|Succeeded by||Andreas von Schoeler|
|Member of the Bundestag for North Rhine–Westphalia|
19 November 1972 – 16 October 1994
|Constituency||State Wide Party List|
|Born|| (1932-10-28) 28 October 1932 (age 89)|
|Political party||Free Democratic Party (FDP)|
|Alma mater||University of Cologne|
Gerhart Rudolf Baum (born 28 October 1932) is a German politician of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) and a lawyer.
Gerhart Baum was born to a German father and a Russian mother. His paternal ancestors, whose roots lay in Plauen in the Saxon Vogtland, originally worked as craftsmen before later generations were able to pursue academic professions. His mother was born in Moscow; her own mother was from Łódź and of Polish ethnicity and her Ukrainian-born father was originally from Kharkiv. In 1917, her family had fled from Russia to Germany as a result of the October Revolution. In his childhood Baum was a forced member of the Hitler Youth. After the bombing of Dresden, his mother left the city in February 1945 and fled with her three children to Lake Tegernsee in Bavaria. His father, who had fought on the Eastern Front during the war, was captured by the Soviets and later died in captivity. In 1950, Baum's family moved to Cologne. After graduating from school in 1953, he studied law at the University of Cologne and subsequently worked as a lawyer. He has been a member of the FDP since 1954.
From 1978 until 1982, Baum was federal minister of the interior. During his time in office, he liberalized routine loyalty investigations of candidates for public‐service jobs, a controversial practice intended to control radical activity that had led to a profound and disruptive debate about the extent of democracy in West Germany. In 1981, with the backing of economics minister Otto Graf Lambsdorff, he asked the German car industry to agree on goals to tighten emissions standards and cut fuel consumption on a voluntary basis.
Following the collapse of the social–liberal coalition, Baum – alongside fellow FDP ministers Genscher, Lambsdorff, and Josef Ertl – stepped down on 18 September 1982.
Between 2000 and 2001, Baum and two other lawyers together represented about three-quarters of the Air France Flight 4590 crash victims' families. In May 2001, they reached a monetary settlement for compensation from Air France. According to people familiar with terms of the settlement, it was between $100 million and $125 million (114.1 million euros and 142.6 million euros), an extraordinarily high sum for a plane-crash settlement in Europe at the time.
From 2001 to 2003, Baum served as UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Sudan.
In 2006, Baum presented a press freedom award to Berliner Zeitung for its resistance to an unpopular takeover by David Montgomery’s Mecom Group.
In 2009, Germany's national railway company Deutsche Bahn commissioned Baum and former justice minister Herta Däubler-Gmelin with investigating allegations according to which the company had, in violation of privacy laws and corporate guidelines repeatedly and on a large scale compared personal data of its employees with those of suppliers, in a bid to uncover possible corruption.
In 2016, Baum joined members of the Green Party, lawyers, a journalist and a doctor in bringing suits against Germany's 2009 antiterrorism law before the Federal Constitutional Court, arguing that covert surveillance, particularly in private homes and in the intimacy of bedrooms or bathrooms, could entangle innocent third parties. In a 6-to-2 vote, the court ruled that the antiterrorism laws were partly unconstitutional and demanded tighter control over surveillance.
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