Diva with gutter bite
Man, that must be tough, I think, because their criminal bow wave is downright scary. The most famous of the who's who of the German felons defended them: the acid murderer Lutz R., who put his dead after hard S & M games victims in an acid barrel; Werner R., the "vampire", who first collapsed a drinking colleague and then drank his blood from the bowl; and finally the legendary Hamburg red-light figure Karl-Heinz Schwensen. How does a woman who is receiving death threats, often under police protection live? Once even a client under the nose was shot dead in the courtroom?
I'm assuming that she has a gun license. Has she. A weapon too. And she has a very idiosyncratic interpretation of her profession. "Criminal law is like a stage," she says in her bright, modern office on the Alster in Hamburg, while sipping water, the days of tougher drinks are over. "The environment is always exciting, judges and lawyers wear dark robes, it's about life and death."
Daily adrenaline rush, then. Great drama. She even takes her dress style into account. "For my clients, the process is a fateful day, which is why I show respect and always dress smartly."
I can not imagine them in jeans and T-shirt either. Very young, she looks very chic in a tight black skirt and a purple cashmere sweater, under which a white T-shirt flashes out, a woman for whom her age - she is 72 - is not an issue. It fits that she drives Porsche. And her third husband, the Tunisian Laid Frej, is 19 years younger. "A very dear," she says. It sounds very tender. While she's telling me, it pounded my head that I might have put me on the wrong horse: wrong study, wrong job, in which the age-old cleaver fell on me for the first time at 40 ("Let's let the younger ones run", said my former editor-in-chief). Nobody would say to Leonore Gottschalk-Solger: Too old, my dear.
Your day starts at eight o'clock in the morning and lasts at least twelve hours, mostly running, often in different cities, two processes at the same time. "At home, I start working," she says. Work is the drug of choice. Their study of the files is meticulous, with their pleadings write even veteran judges. For her clients, she drives outlapping, forgets to eat and drink, if Laid does not remind her. When she contracted cancer a few years ago, she did not miss a trial appointment despite the radiation.
What drives you? Why does not she rest easy on her laurels? She does not understand the question. "Many people want to help," she says, "I can do it, I can shape the future, I'm vital, it drives me." What impressed me about her: Leonore Gottschalk-Solger was already emancipated when the women of my generation did not even know that word, by the way, a word she herself finds ridiculous: "I've always been much better than most men." Also a sentence that I like.
Of course, the fact that she made a men career as a woman was only possible because her son Ilja and her daughter Katharina, who came from their two marriages with colleagues, were raised by their grandmother.
When Gottschalk-Solger began practicing 40 years ago, criminal law still had what was called a skin gout back then, the evil connotation of underworld and cloaca. But that's exactly what she, the "diva with the gutter bite", as a journalist once aptly called it, especially irritated. She has learned to face life in her childhood in Upper Silesia. Leonore Gottschalk-Solger has experienced war and flight very consciously. "If you did not make it, you were just shot and I still carry the horrible pictures of those days with me."
Therefore, probably her fearlessness from evil: she is not afraid of human abysses, even before her own. In fine salons, she is as at home as in the pouf, always meets the right tone. A trait she misses among the younger generation of judges and prosecutors: "They have no sense of other worlds - no idea what the other side of the sun looks like."
No one knows better than she how blind, blue-eyed and sometimes really evil the goddess Justitia can be. How often clients who are reported by women are wronged, simply because the criminal potential of men is underestimated and that of women is underestimated. "Every time I defend a sex offender, the women's shelters sit in the front row and insult me," she sighs. "Do not these women know that the presumption of innocence applies to men?" Only recently did she find out by chance that the man his roommate accused of rape is suffering from diabetes."50 percent of all diabetics are incapacitated," she pleaded in court. Acquittal!
Does she represent everyone? No, she says, she does not care about the milieu, but she does not represent who she does not like. For example, sexual offenders who do not face their guilt despite the overwhelming burden of proof. Or arrogant commodity fraudsters who have ripped off little people. And what about ex-client Jürgen Harksen, the impostor and economic criminals? "His victims were not rich, just greedy," she replies. Even with neo-Nazis she waves off. "During the Second World War, I experienced what we did to the Jews." And the acid murderer? The fact that she defends someone like him makes some people outrageous. "I defend people like him because I'm a defender and not a judge, I can not anticipate the verdict," says Gottschalk-Solger.
If she accepts a client, there are three options. "He can tell me the truth, he can keep silent or lie to me." She coaches her clients, every process is ultimately a drama with an uncertain outcome, in which the choreography must be as perfect as possible. "I only ask questions whose answers I know in advance," says Gottschalk-Solger. "I forbid some clients to talk too much, and the pros are often silent anyway."
Since her illness, she's trying to get a little shorter. In the past she served, celebrated and "let nothing burn". When she felt very bad, her husband tied her and his hands together in bed at night. "So I notice when you move," he said. With him, she can be very gentle and peaceful. Leonore Gottschalk-Solger is strong, she is controversial, but right after the interview I save her number in my mobile. You never know.
Recommended reading: Leonore Gottschalk-Solger with Anke Gebert: "The defense lawyer, memories" (253 p., 19.90 euros, Kindler)