Titanic (magazine)

Last updated

Titanic (magazine) cover - November 1989.jpg
Titanic's famous cover of November 1989: "Zonen-Gaby's first banana"
Chief Editor Julia Mateus
Categories Satirical Magazine
Circulation 37,000 [1]
First issue10 July 1979
CompanyTITANIC Verlag GmbH & Co. KG
Based in Frankfurt
Website titanic-magazin.de

Titanic is a German monthly satirical magazine based in Frankfurt. It has a circulation of approximately 37,000.



Titanic was founded in 1979 [2] by former contributors and editors of pardon , a satirical monthly, which the group had left after conflicts with its publisher. (Pardon ceased to exist three years later.) The founding writers and cartoonists of Titanic were mainly based in Frankfurt. [2] They called themselves Neue Frankfurter Schule (New Frankfurt School), alluding to the Frankfurter Schule of the 1930s. The heading of Titanic's monthly reviews of humorous publications bears the portrait of philosopher Theodor W. Adorno wearing a fake goatee.

As of October 2022, the editor-in-chief is Julia Mateus  [ de ]. [3]

Chancellor Helmut Kohl was a favourite subject of the magazine, appearing on the front page more often than any other person. In the 1980s, Titanic coined his nickname "Birne",[ citation needed ] the German word for pear (accompanied with drawings of his head resembling a pear). One of Titanic's most widely known cover pages appeared in November 1989, following the Fall of the Berlin Wall. The East Germans' perceived obsession with bananas was spoofed by a Titanic cover depicting "Zonen-Gaby (17) im Glück (FRG): My first banana", where Gaby is shown holding a large peeled cucumber. [4] "Zone" refers to the GDR's informal name "sowjetische Besatzungszone" (soviet-occupied area). To make light of the prevailing public sentiment that strongly favoured German reunification, Titanic purported to oppose it. This culminated in the founding of the Titanic party Die PARTEI (The Party), whose sole agenda is to revoke reunification and to reconstruct the inner German border. The former editor-in-chief Martin Sonneborn is the party leader. In addition, Titanic changed its mission to "The ultimate division of Germany — our commitment".

Titanic staff members have frequently engaged in activities that took aim at the media and entertainment. For example, then editor-in-chief, Bernd Fritz, made an incognito appearance at the game show Wetten, dass..? , followed by his revelation of how easy it was for him to cheat on the show. In recent years, the magazine has repeatedly attracted attention, for example by attempting to bribe a FIFA delegate to bring the football world cup to Germany (see below).

Before the German federal election, 2005 Titanic was running a campaign against "das Merkel" ("das" being the neutral gender definite article) and was publicly searching for a female contender for chancellor with the slogan "Frau? Ja, aber schön" ("Woman? Yes, but beautiful").

Titanic has generated a number of scandals, some of which have resulted in lawsuits against the magazine. Up to 2001, 40 plaintiffs had brought lawsuits against Titanic. Politician Björn Engholm, for example, received 40,000 Deutsche Mark in compensation, and the magazine incurred 190,000 DM in legal fees. [5]

The July 2012 issue of the magazine was banned by a state court in Hamburg due to its front cover being an image of Pope Benedict XVI soiling himself. [6]

In September 2023, Titanic announced it's facing bancruptcy, requiring money or new subscribers. As reason, Titanic cited high paper and publishing costs as well as subscription cancellations due to inflation. Editor in Chief Julia Mateus said, "Our finances have never been in good shape. But if we don't do something now, our magazine will cease to exist in a few months." [7]

2006 FIFA World Cup bribery affair

In July 2000, Martin Sonneborn (then Titanic's editor-in-chief) sent hoax bribery faxes to a number of delegates of the FIFA World championship committee. In these letters, he offered the delegates gifts if they showed their support of the German bid for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Leading up to the vote, it had been widely expected that the tournament would take place in South Africa. However, New Zealand's representative, Charlie Dempsey, who had been instructed to vote for South Africa by the Oceania Football Confederation, abstained from voting at the last minute. His vote for South Africa would have brought the tally to 12:12, resulting in FIFA's President Sepp Blatter—who had supported South Africa's bid—having to break the tie. Dempsey was one of the eight members of the executive committee who had received Sonneborn's fax on Wednesday, the night before the vote. In his letter to Dempsey, Sonneborn promised him a cuckoo clock and Black Forest ham in exchange for Dempsey's vote for Germany:

In this difficult situation, Germany would like to emphasize the urgency of its appeal to hold the World Cup 2006 in Germany.

Let me come straight to the point:
In appreciation of your support we would like to offer you a small gift for your vote in favor of Germany:
A fine basket with specialties from the black forest, including some really good sausages, ham and — hold on to your seat — a wonderful KuKuClock!
And a beer mug, too! Do we leave you any choice?

We trust in the wisdom of your decision tomorrow,
sincerely yours

Martin Sonneborn
Secretary TDES

(WM 2006 initiative), Original text of the fax, sent by Titanic on July 5th, 2000

Dempsey himself famously stated "This final fax broke my neck." He argued that the pressure from all sides had become too much for him. [8]

According to reports by Spiegel magazine in 2015, there allegedly have been less-satirical bribery attempts involving billionaire Robert Louis-Dreyfuss and former German football player Franz Beckenbauer to assure a German victory in the bidding process (see main article).

In July 2000, the biggest German tabloid BILD-Zeitung urged its readers to phone Titanic and express their outrage at damaging Germany's reputation through bribery. Titanic recorded those phone calls and published an audio CD with a selection of the funniest of them, called "BILD-Leser beschimpfen Titanic" ("BILD-readers insult Titanic").

The German Football Association threatened Sonneborn with DM 600 million (approx €300 million) in damages, requiring him to swear never again to influence a FIFA decision through the use of a fax machine. [9]

In November 2005, Sonneborn published a book about the affair, "Ich tat es für mein Land" — Wie TITANIC einmal die Fußball-WM 2006 nach Deutschland holte. Protokoll einer erfolgreichen Bestechung ("I did it for my country" — How Titanic once brought the Football World Cup 2006 to Germany. Story of a successful bribery), Bombus Verlag, ISBN   3-936261-37-7.

In 2006, the year the World Cup took place in Germany, Titanic arranged an exhibition called "Wie Titanic einmal die Fußball-WM 2006 nach Deutschland holte" ("How Titanic once brought the Football World Cup 2006 to Germany") in the Historical Museum of Frankfurt am Main, which displayed the events surrounding Titanic's bribery faxes. [10]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Franz Beckenbauer</span> German football player and manager (born 1945)

Franz Anton Beckenbauer is a German former professional football player and manager. In his playing career he was nicknamed Der Kaiser because of his elegant style, dominance and leadership on the field, and also as his first name "Franz" is reminiscent of the Austrian emperors. He is widely regarded to be one of the greatest players in the history of the sport. A versatile player who started out as a midfielder, Beckenbauer made his name as a central defender. He is often credited as having invented the role of the modern sweeper. With success at club and international level, he is one of nine players to have won the FIFA World Cup, the European Champions Cup and the Ballon d'Or.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">2006 FIFA World Cup</span> Association football tournament in Germany

The 2006 FIFA World Cup, also branded as Germany 2006, was the 18th FIFA World Cup, the quadrennial international football world championship tournament. It was held from 9 June to 9 July 2006 in Germany, which had won the right to host the event in July 2000. Teams representing 198 national football associations from all six populated continents participated in the qualification process which began in September 2003. Thirty-one teams qualified from this process along with hosts Germany for the finals tournament. It was the second time that Germany staged the competition and the first as a unified country along with the former East Germany with Leipzig as a host city, and the 10th time that the tournament was held in Europe.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Germany women's national football team</span> Womens national association football team representing Germany

The Germany women's national football team represents Germany in international women's football. The team is governed by the German Football Association (DFB).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">German Football Association</span> Governing body of association football in Germany

The German Football Association is the governing body of football, futsal, and beach soccer in Germany. A founding member of both FIFA and UEFA, the DFB has jurisdiction for the German football league system and is in charge of the men's and women's national teams. The DFB headquarters are in Frankfurt am Main. Sole members of the DFB are the German Football League, organising the professional Bundesliga and the 2. Bundesliga, along with five regional and 21 state associations, organising the semi-professional and amateur levels. The 21 state associations of the DFB have a combined number of more than 25,000 clubs with more than 6.8 million members, making the DFB the single largest sports federation in the world.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Eintracht Frankfurt</span> German professional Football Club

Eintracht Frankfurt e.V. is a German professional sports club based in Frankfurt, Hesse. It is best known for its football club, which was founded on 8 March 1899. The club is currently playing in the Bundesliga, the top tier of the German football league system. Eintracht have won the German championship once, the DFB-Pokal five times, the UEFA Europa League twice and finished as runner-up in the European Cup once. The team was one of the founding members of the Bundesliga at its inception and has spent a total of 54 seasons in the top division, thus making them the seventh longest participating club in the highest tier of the league.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Andreas Möller</span> German footballer

Andreas Möller is a German former professional footballer who played as an attacking midfielder. He is the head of the youth department at Eintracht Frankfurt.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mohamadou Idrissou</span> Cameroonian footballer (born 1980)

Mohamadou Idrissou is a Cameroonian former professional footballer who played as a striker.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Die PARTEI</span> German political party

Die Partei für Arbeit, Rechtsstaat, Tierschutz, Elitenförderung und basisdemokratische Initiative, or Die PARTEI, is a German political party. It was founded in 2004 by the editors of the German satirical magazine Titanic. It is led by Martin Sonneborn. In the 2014 European Parliament election, the party won a seat, marking the first time that a satirical party has won a seat to the European Parliament. With the 2019 European Parliament election, the party gained a second seat, held by Nico Semsrott.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Marcell Jansen</span> German footballer (born 1985)

Marcell Jansen is a German former professional footballer and current president of Hamburger SV. He also plays for Hamburger SV III in the Oberliga Hamburg. He was well known for his accurate crossing and pace, despite his tall stature. A versatile player, Jansen primarily played as a full back or wing back on the left flank, but could also play as a left-winger.

At the end of each FIFA World Cup final tournament, several awards are presented to the players and teams who have distinguished themselves in various aspects of the game.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">FSV Frankfurt</span> German association football club

Fußballsportverein Frankfurt 1899 e.V., commonly known as simply FSV Frankfurt, is a German association football club based in the Bornheim district of Frankfurt am Main, Hessen and founded in 1899. FSV Frankfurt also fielded a rather successful women's team, which was disbanded in 2006.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">FIFA World Cup hosts</span> Countries that hosted the FIFA World Cup

Eighteen countries have been FIFA World Cup hosts in the competition's twenty-one tournaments since the inaugural World Cup in 1930. The organization at first awarded hosting to countries at meetings of FIFA's congress. The choice of location was controversial in the earliest tournaments, given the three-week boat journey between South America and Europe, the two centers of strength in football at the time.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Siegfried Kirschen</span> German football referee

Siegfried Kirschen is a retired East German football referee. He supervised four matches in the FIFA World Cup, two in 1986 and two in 1990.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ursula Holl</span> German footballer

Ursula Ulrike Holl is a retired German footballer. She currently works as the goalkeeping coach for Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Simone Laudehr</span> German footballer

Simone Melanie Laudehr is a German former footballer who played as a central midfielder or winger.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fatmire Alushi</span> German retired footballer

Fatmire "Lira" Alushi is a German former professional footballer who played as an attacking midfielder for the Germany national team. She placed third in 2010 FIFA Ballon d'Or competition, an annual award given to the world's best player.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Martin Sonneborn</span> German satirist, journalist and politician

Martin Hans Sonneborn is a German politician and Member of the European Parliament (MEP). He is a founder and federal chairman of Die PARTEI. He was editor-in-chief of the satirical magazine Titanic from 2000 to 2005 and works for Spiegel Online and ZDF.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">RB Leipzig</span> German association football club

RasenBallsport Leipzig e.V., commonly known as RB Leipzig, Red Bull Leipzig, or simply Leipzig, is a German professional football club based in Leipzig, Saxony. The club was founded in 2009 by the initiative of the company Red Bull GmbH, which purchased the playing rights of fifth-tier side SSV Markranstädt with the intent of advancing the new club to the top-flight Bundesliga within eight years. The men's professional football club is run by the spin-off organization RasenBallsport Leipzig GmbH. RB Leipzig plays its home matches at the Red Bull Arena. The club nickname is Die Roten Bullen.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wolfgang Niersbach</span>

Wolfgang Niersbach is a German sports official and former sports journalist. From 2 March 2012 until 9 November 2015, he was President of the German Football Association.

This is a list of the main association football rivalries in Germany.


  1. Spiegel-Artikel
  2. 1 2 Salvatore Attardo (18 March 2014). Encyclopedia of Humor Studies. SAGE Publications. p. 477. ISBN   978-1-4833-6471-1 . Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  3. Titanic's imprint
  4. Fröhling, Wolf Amadeus (2007). Ick ooch: meine 20 Jahre DDR und die Folgen. Dosse. p. 183. ISBN   978-1-85109-628-2.
  5. Markus Kompa (24 November 2010). "Uwe Barschel und das Presserecht". Blog zum Medienrecht.
  6. "Incontinence at the Vatican: Pope Takes German Satire Magazine to Court". Der Spiegel. 10 July 2012. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  7. "Redaktion funkt SOS: »Titanic« braucht Geld". Der Spiegel. 7 September 2023. Retrieved 8 September 2023.
  8. "BBC NEWS | In Depth | 2006 World Cup decision | Fiasco of Fifa World Cup vote". news.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  9. Martin Sonneborn – Bis hierhin und nicht weiter: Meinung, Kunst, Satire (TINCON Berlin 2017). YouTube . Archived from the original on 11 December 2021.
  10. Wie TITANIC einmal die Fußball-WM 2006 nach Deutschland holte