The original bet in ZDF TV Show "Wetten dass ...?"

With a spectacular bet popular actor Karlheinz Böhm fundamentally changed the lives of about 6 million people in Ethiopia.

Menschen für Menschen is now following in the footsteps of Karlheinz Böhm and translating the original bet into the digital age.

Munich, 15 May 2018. 37 years ago – more precisely on 16 May 1981 – popular actor Karlheinz Böhm wrote television history in the show “Wetten, dass…?” With a spectacular bet he fundamentally changed the lives of about 6 million people in Ethiopia. The Menschen für Menschen Foundation – Karlheinz Böhm’s Ethiopia Aid is now following in the footsteps of Karlheinz Böhm and translating the original bet into the digital age.

“We bet that until the Day of International Justice on 17 July 2018 we will be able to motivate 500,000 people worldwide to each donate at least 1 euro for the needy men, women and children of Ethiopia. Every person counts! Every amount counts!”

The international appeal has been published on the Foundation’s campaign pages ( and and via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. All users of social media, celebrities, ambassadors and sponsors of the organisation are called upon to make a small donation with the aim of giving the people in Ethiopia the chance of a better future.

The historic background is shown in a short explanatory video in modern cut-out animation “THE Bet – Karlheinz Böhm and YOU” ( This video was created with the kind support of the Munich-based company explain it GmbH.

“We are translating the original idea that everyone can help into the digital age. In doing so we are reviving the concept that with a small contribution everyone can be part of a community that produces big results – the prototype of crowdfunding, transposed to state-of-the-art mobile technical means,” says Menschen für Menschen Director Dr Sebastian Brandis.

The TV bet in 1981

It was the third broadcast of the new TV format by and with presenter Frank Elstner. Karlheinz Böhm bet that he would not succeed in motivating “every third viewer to donate one German mark, one Swiss Franc or seven Austrian schillings for people in the Sahel Zone.” Although he won the bet – for he did not succeed – a total of 1.2 million DM was raised. The foundation stone for the Menschen für Menschen organisation had been laid.

The appearance of Karlheinz Böhm on 16 May 1981 has remained one of the most memorable moments of the popular ZDF TV show. “It was the most spectacular bet ever to be made on my show,” says former show presenter Frank Elstner.

Facts and figures on the work of Menschen für Menschen

To date 6 million people in Ethiopia have received an opportunity for a self-determined life thanks to the work of the organisation. Its achievements include the construction of over 2,400 water points (hand-dug wells and spring developments), over 430 schools, 86 health centres and 15 polyclinics. Over 350,000 people have participated in a literacy campaign. Almost 90,000 women have received training in housekeeping and 27,000 women have participated in microcredit programmes. In the battle against erosion about 55,000 kilometres of soil bunds have been constructed and 214 million tree saplings have been distributed. Every year more than 450,000 schoolchildren attend schools built by Menschen für Menschen.

Short video “THE Bet – Karlheinz Böhm and YOU” at
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About Menschen für Menschen

The Menschen für Menschen Foundation has been providing aid for sustainable self-development in Ethiopia for more than 35 years. Together with the local people, Menschen für Menschen dovetails measures in the areas of agriculture, water, education, health and human development in so-called integrated rural development projects. The foundation stone for Menschen für Menschen was laid on 16 May 1981 by former actor Karlheinz Böhm († 2014) with his legendary wager in the German TV show “Wetten, dass…?” The Foundation carries the donation seal of the German Central Institute for Social Affairs (DZI). With over 700 full-time employees, almost all of whom are Ethiopian nationals, Menschen für Menschen is currently carrying out project work in twelve areas.

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Stiftung Menschen für Menschen
Stadtsparkasse München
IBAN: DE64701500000018180018

Press speaker Lisa Kerscher

Press Contact
Menschen für Menschen Foundation
Lisa-Martina Kerscher
Brienner Straße 46
80333 Munich, Germany

Tel: +49 89 383979 87
Fax: +49 89 383979-70