Green Party leader regrets paedophile pamphlet

Investigation into party history reveals pro-paedophile sympathies

German Green Party leader Jürgen Trittin has conceded he once signed off on a pamphlet demanding the decriminalisation of paedophilia.

The revelation dates from 1981 when Mr Trittin, then a student, was running for office in Göttingen as a member of the Alternative Green List, forerunner to the Greens.

A week before Germany's federal election, the revelation is no dirty trick by Green Party opponents but from a political scientist commissioned by the party to examine its welcome to paedophiles in the early 1980s. Compounding the irony, it appeared yesterday in the left-wing Tageszeitung, a close ally of the Greens.

Mr Trittin, head of the Green election campaign, said he regretted his involvement in the pamphlet, which lists him as “responsible according to press law” for its contents.


He did not write any articles condoning paedophilia but conceded there was a “pronounced” pro-paedophile atmosphere in the local Göttingen party. For years the Green Party has faced accusations of viewing paedophiles as an oppressed sexual minority. The party funded a working group, “Gays, Paedophiles and Transsexuals”; at the first party conference the group called for the “legalisation of all affectionate sexual relations between adults and children”.

In a 1975 book Green Party MEP Daniel Cohn-Bendit wrote a book praising “erotic games” with young children.

'Overshot target'
Mr Trittin said the 1981 pamphlet had to be seen in the context of the time, in an atmosphere of discrimination in West Germany "you can hardly imagine today. The impetus for liberalisation and decriminalisation overshot its target because there was a fiction that there could be sexual relations between adults and children beyond violence or abuse of trust."

After long-simmering allegations resurfaced earlier this year, the Green Party commissioned Prof Franz Walter to examine party files. He wrote yesterday that the party “didn’t consider how subtly the will of a child can be broken beyond the use of violence”.

“Such warnings from informed contemporaries were, in the founding years of the Green Party, simply ignored.”

Green Party support is dipping below 10 per cent in polls.

Derek Scally

Derek Scally

Derek Scally is an Irish Times journalist based in Berlin