Jürgen Chrobog

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Person.png Jürgen Chrobog  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(lawyer, diplomat)
Jürgen Chrobog1995.jpg
BornFebruary 28, 1940
Alma materFreiburg University, University Aix-Marseille, and Göttingen University
ParentsErich Chrobog
Member ofAtlantic Initiative, Global Panel Foundation/Board of Directors, Global Panel Foundation/Supervisory Board, Trilateral Commission
PartyFree Democratic Party (Germany)
German Ambassador to the United States from 1995 to 2001 and State Secretary from 2001-2005. Trilateral Commission. Global Panel Foundation.

Jürgen Chrobog is a German lawyer, diplomat, and German Ambassador to the United States from 1995 to 2001 and State Secretary from 2001-2005.

He is member of the Atlantic Initiative and the Trilateral Commission, and on the Board of the intelligence-connected Global Panel Foundation.


Chrobog is the son of Erich Chrobog, who was undersecretary in the Reich Forestry Office. From 1962 he studied law at the Albert-Ludwigs-University of Freiburg, the Georg-August-University of Göttingen and the University of Aix-Marseille.

Early Career

After the legal state examination (1967, 1971) he became a lawyer in Hanover. In 1972 he entered the diplomatic service. He initially worked in the German Mission to the United Nations in New York City. As a member of the Free Democratic Party, Chrobog worked from 1973 to 1977 as an employee of the Foreign Ministers Walter Scheel and Hans-Dietrich Genscher at the Federal Foreign Office and was responsible for European issues and the Third World. He was deployed to Singapore in 1977 and to Brussels in 1980.

From 1984 to 1991, Jürgen Chrobog was head of the press department and spokesman for the Federal Foreign Office and, from 1988, also headed Hans-Dietrich Genscher's ministerial office.

Later Career

Chrobog was German Ambassador to the United States from January 1995 to June 2001. He returned to Berlin to the Foreign Office as State Secretary, where Joschka Fischer had meanwhile taken over the ministry. Chrobog took over the areas of responsibility from Wolfgang Ischinger, who became his successor in Washington: United Nations, countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, foreign trade policy and legal, protocol and cultural issues. Since April 2003, when tourists were abducted inAlgerian Sahara (including nine Germans), he headed the crisis management team responsible for kidnapping Germans abroad as State Secretary in the Federal Foreign Office until his retirement at the end of June 2005.

From July 2005 to June 2013, Chrobog was Chairman of the Board of the BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt, a post held by Horst Teltschik until the end of 2003. He is also Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Global Panel Foundation, an anti-communist think tank of former spies.

Jürgen Chrobog is married to the linguist and literary scholar Magda Gohar-Chrobog, a daughter of the Egyptian writer Youssef Gohar, and has three sons Karim, Fabian and Felix.

Kidnapping in 2005

At the end of 2005, Jürgen Chrobog was staying in eastern Yemen with his wife and three adult sons at a private invitation from the Yemeni Deputy Foreign Minister. On December 28, 2005, he and his family, including Felix Chrobog, were kidnapped on an overland trip. The family, who were traveling in Yemen with a large tour group and were accompanied by security forces, had been kidnapped by members of the Al-Abdallah tribe from Shabwa province. The kidnappers had taken an opportunity when the security forces had withdrawn for lunch.[1]

According to the German Foreign Office, the kidnapped family had traveled to Yemen on Christmas Eve with a travel group traveling in an auto convoy. The family's car had, according to the foreign office, initially lagged behind the Convoy before finally getting lost. Chrobog, along with his family, was released on December 31, 2005.[2]

At noon on December 31, the abductees were released. Shortly thereafter, the Foreign Office confirmed the release of the Chrobog family. The kidnappers' demands for the release of detained tribesmen were not met. Instead, the tribal leaders signed an agreement with the Yemeni government, which pledged to arrest five members of a rival tribe.

Oddly enough, on December 20, 2005, just a few days before he was kidnapped, Chrobog spoke in an interview with Bavarian Radio about the kidnapping of Germans abroad. The reason for this was the kidnapping of the archaeologist Susanne Osthoff , who had been released in Iraq two days earlier:

“People are always putting themselves in danger and one generally expects all-round insurance from the state. If someone is in danger, if they are kidnapped, then you expect the state to intervene immediately and solve things. That has become increasingly difficult in this world. This almost social insurance thinking of German citizens is of course something that needs to be addressed. It really doesn't work that way. […] Anyone who puts himself in danger and knows this risk must of course also live with this risk. We will always do everything for everyone, even if they have put themselves in danger to get them out again. But we cannot work miracles.” [3]

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