Seriously ill, but without health insurance: The Heinz Hoenig case is dividing Germany. While many fans feel sorry for the well-known actor and are donating to his upcoming operations, there is harsh criticism in online forums.

Family visit for Heinz Hoenig: As the “Bild” newspaper reports, the 72-year-old actor was now able to receive his three-year-old son Juliano and his wife Annika Hoenig at his hospital bed after his first serious operation on his esophagus.

But it’s only a brief sigh of relief: Hoenig, who has a heart condition, still has several operations to do, including a major operation on the aorta.

The problem: As it became known at the beginning of May, the actor has no health insurance. He relies on donations from his friends and fans. Around 150,000 euros have been raised through the GoFundMe platform in the past few weeks.

The fate of the 72-year-old visibly moves people. No wonder: Heinz Hoenig has been one of the most famous German actors since his role as radio mate Hinrich in the war drama “Das Boot”.

To date, the 72-year-old has appeared in more than 140 film and television productions. Many grew up with him. The fact that he is now so deeply in debt that he can no longer pay his health insurance contributions is astonishing.

In the appeal for donations, numerous fans express their condolences and send well-wishes: “Dear Heinz, be strong, don’t let yourself get down and think of your family. We have diligently donated for you,” it says here. Another user writes: “Dear Heinz, as an actor you have given us many gripping and moving moments, so we would like to give something back.”

Many people criticize the German health insurance system: “As a freelance colleague, I would like to support this!” writes one donor. “There are too many in our profession who do not have health insurance because they simply cannot afford it. Something urgently needs to be done.”

But not everyone is so sympathetic to the appeal for donations launched by Hoenig’s good friend Ralph Siegel. Quite the opposite: In the comment columns of a FOCUS online article on the topic, there are some critical voices about Hoenig’s case.

Many think the actor should have taken better precautions. “Actors in particular should know how important comprehensive health insurance is for them,” writes one. “In an emergency, asking the general public for help seems to be a very individual interpretation of ‘solidarity community’.” 

Others wonder why a busy actor like Hoenig is now in such a precarious situation: “Mr. Hoenig must have earned a lot of money in good times and it wasn’t possible to take out insurance?” asks one reader. In addition, according to another comment, Hoenig “recently received €150,000 for two days at the jungle camp.” He could have afforded private health insurance then.

For some, Hoenig is the favorite actor to be pitied, for others he is a former well-earning star who did not pay into the health insurance and now expects solidarity from his fans. In fact, Hoenig’s wife Annika admits in an interview with RTL: “He used to earn good money and could have taken precautions, yes.”

But according to his close friend, the composer Ralph Siegel, Hoenig’s situation is not that simple: “I know that Heinz paid off his debts with the money he earned in the jungle camp at the beginning of the year,” Siegel said in an interview with “”.

Many actors are in similar situations: “There are so many who, especially as they get older, get a lot fewer jobs than before,” says Siegel. “These people have a lot of problems. I know a lot of colleagues who feel the same way as Heinz.”

With success, the standard of living automatically increases. “When you get older and your success wanes a little, which is often the case with artists, then it can be that a completely wrong situation arises in life that these people would never have expected,” says the cult composer . Hoenig’s situation made him very thoughtful.