Plagiarism Scandal Within German Government

  • Franziska Giffey is a German politician of the Social Democratic Party .
  • She was the Mayor of Neukölln in Berlin from April 2015 to March 2018.
  • Hypocritically, she wants to continue to be a Federal Minister and run for the post of Chairman of the SPD land office in Berlin.

The large scandal erupted within German government pertaining the plagiarism accusation and reprimand.  Plagiarism is an unethical on all levels. At present, German Minister Franziska Giffey is forced to give up her academic degree. Ms Giffey is accused of plagiarizing her PhD dissertation from the  Free University of Berlin.

German Minister Franziska Giffey.

The Free University of Berlin is a research university in Berlin, Germany. The Free University of Berlin is one of eleven elite German research universities in the German Universities Excellence Initiative.

Franziska Giffey is a German politician of the Social Democratic Party who has been serving as Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth in the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel since 2018.

She was the Mayor of Neukölln in Berlin from April 2015 to March 2018. She should be immediately removed from  the ministerial portfolio. The example she is sending to youth is unacceptable and overall the situation is disturbing.

Moreover, Gifffey sent a letter to the Free University of Berlin on November 13 requesting to be stripped of the degree. The opposition is demanding her immediate resignation.

Hypocritically, she wants to continue to be a Federal Minister and run for the post of Chairman of the SPD land office in Berlin at the party Congress scheduled for the end of November.

At the same time, Giffey stressed that she wrote her dissertation “honestly and conscientiously” and relies on the conclusion of the Free University, according to which the cancellation of her academic degree would be “disproportionate”.

It should be noted, in the summer of the 2019, Giffey promised to give up her portfolio, if her PhD in fact would be revoked. In 2019, the Free University of Berlin chose to just issue a warning instead of the revocation.

Nevertheless, after the scandal made the news, the university decided to reconsider the decision and further review the level of the plagiarism that was committed. Additionally, the academic institution acknowledged that it received the letter penned by Giffey.

Unfortunately, Giffey is not the first German politician to plagiarize. In the 2011, the German Defense Minister from the Christian Social Union Party Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg was involved in the plagiarism scandal pertaining his degree. As a result, the unbecoming decision to plagiarize ended his political career.

Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf was founded in 1965 as the successor organization to Düsseldorf’s Medical Academy of 1907. Following several expansions throughout the decades, the university has comprised five faculties since 1993. At present, more than 20,000 full-time students are pursuing studies at HHU.

Mr Guttenberg even left Germany and moved to US,  due to the mounting pressure and embarrassment.

The following year, German Minister of Education Annette Schavan was accused of the same offense. She was stripped of her PhD from the University of Dusseldorf.  Schavan sued the university, but was unsuccessful. As a result, she had to retire. Disgustingly enough, she resurfaced a year later as a German Ambassador to Vatican.

Thereafter, a member of the Bundestag and Free Democratic Party of Germany Silvana Koch-Merhin announced her resignation after plagiarizing her dissertation as well.

Overall, in the past decade the plagiarism cases in Germany soared within the German government. It is a serious offense and should have serious consequences. Also, what other unethical behavior these German politicians engaged outside the academia?

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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