German of the Week: senior smoker Friedhelm Adolfs

Our German of the Week this episode is seventy-six-year-old Friedhelm Adolfs. While this senior has seen much in his life. We choose Friedhelm due to a story that started for him in 2012.

He had been living in the same apartment in Dusseldorf for 40 years when some of his neighbors started registering complaints against him with the landlord. Friedhelm is an avid smoker, the use of and smell of cigarettes was bothering some of the other tenants as well as the landlord.

In 2013, Friedhelm was issued an eviction notice which he took to court as he did not want to leave his home which he lived in for nearly half a century.  The courts said that a tenant could not be evicted for smoking indoors but combined with the complaint that he was not taking efforts or precautions to keep the smell out of the building’s hallways or other apartments and that he refused to open his windows or empty ashtrays.. the court sided with the landlord and said Friedhelm must leave.

Friedhelm as well as the German association of renters were not satisfied with the result and appealed the case. Since then he has become some sort of a hero for smokers. Many are not thrilled about being forced more and more into specific zones where they are legally allowed to smoke.

This past week the Supreme Court (the BGH) has overturned the previous court decision and  said that Friedhelm could remain in his apartment as the evidence collecting in the earlier court battle was insufficient for an eviction.

Friedhelm says that he is happy with the outcome. It will now be up for the court prosecution to try and put together a new case against Friedhelm to try and prove he is breaking a clause in renters agreement.