Jakob Augstein (born 28 July 1967) is a German journalist and publisher.
Life and career
Augstein was born in Hamburg. He grew up as the son of Maria Carlsson, translator, and Rudolf Augstein, publisher of the post-war news magazine Der Spiegel. After the death of Rudolf in 2002, his mother told Jakob that his biological father is the famous writer (novelist) and Nazi Party member Martin Walser; Jakob publicised his mother's alleged confession in 2009. His half-sisters or sisters are journalist Franziska Augstein, actress Franziska Walser, dramatist Theresia Walser and writers Johanna Walser and Alissa Walser.
After graduating high school (Abitur) at Christianeum Hamburg, Augstein studied political science at the Otto-Suhr-Institut at the Free University of Berlin and at the Institut d'études politiques de Paris (Science Po). From 1993 to 2003 he worked for Süddeutsche Zeitung in Munich and Berlin, from 1999 to 2002 being the chief editor of the "Berlin" section of SZ. In 2004, he bought the majority of Rogner & Bernhard, a Berlin publishing house (he sold it to Haffmans & Tolkemitt in 2011). Augstein holds 24 percent of the Augstein family's part of the Spiegel-Verlag publishing house, that his father founded in 1947.
After 2005, he also worked for the parliamentary office of Die Zeit, Germany's most prestigious weekly newspaper.
On 26 May 2008 Augstein bought, and became editor of, the minor weekly newspaper Der Freitag.
Since January 2011, he also writes a weekly column for Spiegel Online ("S.P.O.N. - Im Zweifel links" (i.e. "if in doubt, take a leftist position").
Also since early 2011, he is the counterpart of Nikolaus Blome, a journalist for BILD newspaper, in a weekly debate on controversial issues of German politics, on German public television channel PHOENIX ("Augstein und Blome").
Augstein is married and has three children.
In a 2012 Top Ten Anti-Semitic/Anti-Israel Slurs, the Simon Wiesenthal Center ranked Jakob Augstein at a ninth position, which sparked a vast controversy in the media. Henryk M. Broder, a public commentator, was cited in the publication: "Jakob Augstein is not a salon anti-Semite, he’s a pure anti-Semite … an offender by conviction who only missed the opportunity to make his career with the Gestapo because he was born after the war. He certainly would have had what it takes." After this publication, Broder apologized for his "dramatizations." Apart from that, he upheld his criticism of Augstein.
In response to the ranking, the influential conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote that "the choice of Jakob Augstein for ninth place on the list of the 10 worst anti-Semites is a serious intellectual and strategic error made by the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Not only has a critical journalist been placed in a group into which he doesn't belong, the nine other people and groups who have justifiably been pilloried can now exculpate themselves by pointing to such arbitrariness." The Wiesenthal Center refused to speak to Augstein unless he would apologize first.
- Sieben Schüsse in Glienicke. Gerichtsreportagen aus Berlin. Epilogue by Gerhard Mauz. Carl Hanser Verlag, München/Wien. 1998.
- Die Tage des Gärtners. Vom Glück, im Freien zu sein. Carl Hanser Verlag, München. 2012.
- SABOTAGE: Warum wir uns zwischen Demokratie und Kapitalismus entscheiden müssen. ("Why we must choose between democracy and capitalism.") Carl Hanser Verlag, München. 2013.