Karlheinz Böhm

The likeable face conceals a great deal of anger. Anger about inequality. And the courage to change it.

A legend of the silver screen. The dapper and likeable Emperor Franz Joseph, alongside leading lady Romy Schneider  in the hit German-language Sissi films. But Karlheinz Böhm was perhaps better known as the man who devoted his own life to improving other people’s. People who have not been quite so lucky. “I bet you that I can do something to alleviate the suffering in Africa.” said Karlheinz Böhm, when he threw down the gauntlet on popular TV show “Wetten, dass..”. He asserted that not even one in three Germans would be prepared to donate a single Deutschmark to help Africa.

And he was right. But he took all the donations he received and founded the Menschen für Menschen charity in Ethiopia. Want to bet that he managed to achieve what he set out to do? Today more than 5 million Africans benefit from his capacity building projects. These included schemes to plant their own crops, build their own schools and take control of their own lives. Karlheinz Böhm was an actor. But his true self is a man who offered desperate people a way out of hopeless situations.