German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s wife Britta Ernst has repeatedly disposed of private documents in household garbage, Der Spiegel reported on Friday. Not only were they mixed in with residential waste, in violation of recycling rules, some of them were apparently marked confidential as well. The outlet obtained some of the trash trove thanks to the couple’s neighbor in a posh Potsdam residential building.
Ernst, 61, is a minister of education in the federal state of Brandenburg. She seems to be in the habit of disposing of confidential papers without shredding them, the magazine claimed in the story, playfully titled “Is this secret or can it be thrown out?”
Scholz and Ernst’s neighbor first stumbled on the documents in November last year. Among the papers littering the floor outside the garbage collection room was a draft of the speech Ernst had delivered a few days earlier.
According to the magazine, it’s bad enough that Germany’s first couple isn’t sorting their waste for recycling according to government guidelines, but Ernst in particular doesn’t seem serious about handling private documents.
Among the papers Der Spiegel was shown is a page from Ernst’s appointment calendar from May and a printed email showing her wanting to improve her conversational English. Another sheet shows her planning how to dress for the day of the federal elections in September 2021.