“I don’t have to prove anything anymore”

Four years ago, life-threatening enteritis followed by urgent surgery forced then-Secretary of State in the Ministry of Defense and former CDU Secretary General Peter Tauber, 47, to end his federal political career and begin a whole new life. Since last summer, he has been a spokesman for the Hessian clothing manufacturer Engelbert Strauss. Tauber describes his experiences and insights from his illness in his book You Don’t Have to Be a Hero (2020), which he recently presented at Haus Volkersberg.


Peter Tauber didn’t really want to write a book at all, he told his audience at a Catholic educational center in Volkersberg. “There is nothing worse than a whining politician.” But when he spoke on a talk show about his emergency operation in January 2018 and the reasons for his complete withdrawal from politics to debunk rumors, the head of the Christian spirituality department at the publishing group Droemer Knaur convinced him: “There are many who have very similar problems. Write a book that encourages others. “

So Tauber now recounts in his book how he was hospitalized in late October 2017 – “in the midst of difficult negotiations over the Jamaican coalition” – with painful enteritis. The recovery phase did not last long. He had to undergo surgery in January. “It goes well 90 percent of the time, the doctor encouraged me. But I was in the other ten percent. ” After complications, the rescue operation took place two days later. “Call your mother, the doctor said.”

“I did not recognize my own health limitations”

During his rehab, Tauber had several weeks to rethink his life so far. He always tried to fulfill his task as secretary general: “This opportunity in federal politics only existed once.” He admired Chancellor Angela Merkel, who, even after the most difficult negotiations in Brussels and returning at night, the next morning chairman of the Chancellery meeting, apparently completely rested. Tauber: “I haven’t faced myself, but always others. But people are different. I did not recognize my own health limits. ” Moreover, his upbringing prevented him from admitting his weakness, but from doing his job. “As a political person, you are standing in a shop window. You must always be present. “

You ask yourself

It wasn’t until he was in rehab that he realized: you need to check your standards, you may not stand as much as the others, you have to be more careful. “Suddenly I wasn’t an ambitious young man in his forties.” Tauber started asking himself questions and realized, “You don’t have to be a hero.” It is not good to always work at the border. “Where is the extra power supposed to come from when you really face a challenge?” At the premiere of his book, Tauber spoke out against the undue pressure to perform and called for social rethink.

Guided by the faith of an active Christian, he came to the conclusion: “Jesus cannot be a direct example, because only he can do everything himself.” But if you can’t do everything yourself, “you have to find a team and ask others to help.” From then on, he was amazed and delighted to learn that other people would be happy to help if you asked them to.

“I don’t have to prove anything anymore”

After resigning from his post as Secretary of State at the Ministry of Defense in April last year, and most recently from his seat in the Bundestag in May, Peter Tauber has started a whole new life: “Now I’m doing cool new things that I like. I don’t have to prove anything to myself anymore ”. He currently works as a spokesman for the clothing manufacturer Engelbert Strauss, is a lecturer at the Bundeswehr University in Munich, where he also writes his habilitation, is a board member of the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation and a member of the Kurhessen-Waldeck Evangelical Church. “I am still a performance driven person. You have to be to create good things in the world. But now I can do what I want. ” Peter Tauber is also interested in the second book with stories about other people who achieved something: “A completely different book, but somehow a continuation.”

information about the book

Peter Tauber: “You don’t have to be a hero. Leading politicians, marathon runners but not indestructible “, bene Verlag, hardcover, 224 pages, price: € 18, ISBN 9783963401121

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