High School, Lübeck; apprentice typesetter. Academy of Economics and Politics, Hamburg, Social Science. University Hamburg, Politics.
He was Minister-President of Schleswig-Holstein from 1988 to 1993 and leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany between 1991 and 1993. Engholm was elected Minister-President of Schleswig-Holstein in 1988, in the wake of the Barschel affair/Waterkantgate: he had been spied on and was a victim of severe defamation (HIV infection, tax evasion, etc) by the Barschel campaign. Engholm served as President of the Bundesrat in 1988/89.
While Engholm was popular with the electorate, he was forced to resign as party leader and Minister-President in 1993 after discrepancies surfaced over the testimonies he gave in the Barschel affair (Schubladenaffäre, drawer affair). A party official had paid DM 50.000 (kept in a kitchen drawer) to the spy of the Barschel affair to keep the espionage a secret for several weeks, to reveal the scandal on election weekend with a bigger impact and the present Engholm as a victim. He was succeeded by Rudolf Scharping as party chairman and by Heide Simonis as Minister-President.
Governing bd. since 1984. Bundestag 1969-1982.
Married; 2 children.