Adam Stegerwald

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Adam Stegerwald, 1931

Adam Stegerwald (born December 14, 1874 in Greußenheim near Würzburg , † December 3, 1945 in Würzburg) was a German politician ( center , later CSU ). He was a co-founder of the Christian trade unions in Germany and the CSU in Bavaria .

life and work


The son of a small farmer attended elementary school in Greußenheim from 1881 to 1888 . He completed an apprenticeship as a carpenter in Würzburg . After his apprenticeship, he went on a wandering tour in southern Germany and Switzerland . In 1893 he joined the Catholic journeyman's association in Günzburg ( Swabia ). In Munich he worked in the center's labor electoral association from 1896 . Primarily he campaigned for the building of a Christian trade union movement. In 1899 he became the honorary first chairman of the Central Association of Christian Woodworkers, which he chaired until 1903.

From 1900 to 1902 he was a private listener with Lujo Brentano for two semesters for economics and special economics at the University of Munich . From 1903 to 1905 he attended lectures at the Cologne Commercial College . From 1903 to 1929 he worked as general secretary of the general association of Christian trade unions in Germany. At the same time he was the international secretary of the Christian Trade Union International from 1908 to 1914 , which, however, was not effective.

In the conception of the trade union policy, he steered an anti-socialist course loyal to the emperor and supporting German colonial policy and tried to reach a German workers ' congress by merging with other organizations ( German national trade unionists , Protestant and Catholic workers' associations ) in order to counterbalance the free trade unions create. He supported the government's war course and was a board member of the War Food Office from 1916 to 1919 . From 1917 to 1918 he belonged to the Prussian manor house .

Weimar Republic

As a representative of the Christian trade unions, he signed the working group agreement between the employers' associations and the trade unions on November 15, 1918. In a brochure Our Not and Our Rescue that appeared in early 1919 in the series of publications of the General Secretariat on the Study and Combat of Bolshevism Revolutionary Disputes , he took against the Council movement and demanded its dissolution. From 1919 to 1929 he headed the Christian German Trade Union Confederation (DGB). Now he devoted himself more and more to politics and was a member of the National Assembly from 1919 to 1920 . He was a member of the committee for the preliminary discussion of the draft constitution for the German Reich of the National Assembly. From 1919 to 1921 he was a member of the Prussian state assembly .

Photography of the Reich Cabinet Brüning I
Adam Stegerwald, 1930

From March 1919 to November 1921 he was Prussian Minister for People's Welfare . From April to November 1921 he also held the office of Prussian Prime Minister , from April 1929 to March 1930 that of the Reich Minister of Transport , from March 1930 to May 1932 that of the Reich Minister of Labor .

From January 1919 to June 1920 he represented constituency 20 of the administrative districts of Cologne and Aachen in the Reichstag , from June 1920 to May 1924 constituency 19 North Westphalia and from May 1924 to November 1933 constituency 17 North Westphalia. He was chairman of the center's parliamentary group from January to April 1929.

As Reich Labor Minister in the cabinet of his former personal advisor Heinrich Brüning , he tried to save at least the foundations of the Weimar welfare state under the extreme conditions of the global economic crisis , but failed because of resistance from heavy industry . Already at that time he warned that the social aggravation could only intensify the political radicalization from the right and from the left.

National Socialism

On February 21, 1933 he was assaulted by the National Socialists at an election rally in Krefeld . In March 1933, together with Ludwig Kaas and Albert Hackelsberger, he conducted negotiations with Adolf Hitler , as a result of which the Center Party approved the Enabling Act .

In July 1933, he and Heinrich Imbusch were expelled from the German Labor Front. From 1933 to 1934 he was indicted together with Wilhelm Marx and Heinrich Brauns in the trial against the Kölner Volksverein-Verlag in his capacity as board member of the Volksverein for Catholic Germany, but the trial was discontinued in 1934.

During the National Socialist rule , Stegerwald remained without political influence. On July 30, 1934, he went into hiding temporarily. From 1934 to 1935 he held the position of bailiff of two women's convents in and near Berlin. In 1935 he acquired a stake in a peat utilization company. In 1937 he bought a tenement house for old-age security from transitional payments he had made during his ministerial time. He dealt with National Socialism in letters with Eugen Bolz , Thomas Esser and Jean Albert Schwarz . He pleaded for the Catholic German bishops to move away from their strictly negative course towards the regime, since otherwise he expected a further radicalization of Nazi politics and the inevitable smashing of the churches.

Until the end of 1938 he received funds from the transfer of the transitional allowance from his ministerial work. In June 1939 he was listed in the SD overview recording leading men of the system time (denominational parties) . In March 1944 he moved to Greußenheim after the bombing. After the assassination attempt on July 20, 1944 , he was temporarily arrested as part of the Gewitter campaign . From August 24 to October 19, 1944, he was imprisoned by the Gestapo in the Würzburg prison.

post war period

As early as 1920, at the congress of the Christian trade unions in Essen, Stegerwald presented his ideas on the establishment of a cross-denominational, anti-socialist people's party that should appeal to the broadest possible section of the population. His approach of “building bridges between the working class and the agricultural population and between denominations” only met with greater resonance after the end of the Second World War .

On May 11, 1945, at the instigation of the American occupation forces, he was appointed president of the Lower Franconia district. Stegerwald became the leading head of the Würzburg group , which, alongside the Munich group around Josef Müller, played a key role in founding the Christian Social Union in the summer and autumn of 1945.

On August 14th, during a conversation in Munich City Hall about the establishment of a Bavarian party with a Christian-social stance, he represented his ideas of a "bridge party". On August 21, 1945, he gave a widely acclaimed speech in the Würzburg town hall on the question “Where are we?” He saw the main cause of the catastrophe of World War II in the protracted fragmentation of Germany, which became exaggerated after the late unification in the 19th century Power hunger. Related to this was the longing for a people's community, as the National Socialists finally promised. The spreading of the stab- in- the-back legend was also largely to blame , and in particular the eventual merger of President Hindenburg with Hitler. Stegerwald demanded an express commitment to democracy and the abandonment of the idea of ​​state omnipotence.

Adam Stegerwald died in December 1945 of pneumonia .


Memorial plaque for Adam Stegerwald on his former home in Zoppoter Straße 62 in Berlin-Schmargendorf

Today the Adam-Stegerwald-Kreis, which organizes events for political education, the Adam-Stegerwald-Haus in Königswinter , the Stegerwaldstiftung and the Stegerwaldsiedlung in Cologne-Mülheim are named after him. There is an Adam-Stegerwald-Straße in several cities, so in Bamberg, Bocholt, Bremen, Dachau, Düsseldorf, Frechen, Gerolzhofen, Haßloch, Heinsberg, Hilden, Koblenz, Cologne-Mülheim, Kürnach, Langenhagen, Lüdinghausen, Ludwigshafen, Mainz, Mülheim, Osnabrück, Remscheid, Schweinfurt and Trier. In Würzburg and Leipzig the Stegerwaldstrasse and in Hamburg-Horn the Stegerwaldring were named after him.


  • Helmut J. Schnorr: Adam Stegerwald, trade unionist, politician of the first German republic. A contribution to the history of the Christian social movement in Germany. 1966.
  • Rudolf Morsey : Contemporary History in Life Pictures - From German Catholicism of the 20th Century. Volume 1. 1973, p. 216.
  • Rudolf Morsey : Adam Stegerwald . In: Franconian pictures of life . New series of curricula vitae from Franconia, volume 8. Degener commission publishing house, Neustadt / Aisch 1978, ISBN 3-7686-9046-6 , pp. 284–301.
  • Ludwig Rosenberg / Bernhard Tacke : The way to the unified union. Edited by the DGB Federal Board. Printing: satz + druck gmbh, Düsseldorf 1977.
  • Bernhard Forster: Adam Stegerwald (1874–1945). Christian-national trade unionist, center politician, co-founder of the union parties. Droste Verlag, Düsseldorf 2003, ISBN 3-7700-1889-3 . (detailed scientific biography)
  • Bernhard Forster:  Stegerwald, Adam. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 25, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3-428-11206-7 , p. 114 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Eckhard Hansen, Florian Tennstedt (Eds.) U. a .: Biographical lexicon on the history of German social policy from 1871 to 1945 . Volume 2: Social politicians in the Weimar Republic and during National Socialism 1919 to 1945. Kassel University Press, Kassel 2018, ISBN 978-3-7376-0474-1 , pp. 185–187 ( Online , PDF; 3.9 MB).
  • Karin Jaspers / Wilfried Reinighaus: Westphalian-Lippian candidates in the January elections 1919. A biographical documentation , Münster: Aschendorff 2020 (Publications of the Historical Commission for Westphalia - New Series; 52), ISBN 9783402151365 , pp. 183-185.

Web links

Commons : Adam Stegerwald  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. The Niederrheinische Volkszeitung reported on the incident on February 22nd, 1933 under the heading Center Assembly Blown up by National Socialists : “The situation was dramatic when a small group stormed the podium, penetrated Stegerwald and gave him several head blows. A blow was so violent that the temple of the glasses left a bloody wound on the ear. "-" You hit the former Minister Stegerwald with blows of the head without the police coming to help ". (in: Wilhelm Hoegner : The betrayed Republic . 1958, p. 345.)
  2. “During the Röhm affair , he and Heinrich Brüning were on the list of those who should be eliminated. But, as he wrote in his first résumé after 1945, the Reich President and influential circles in the Reichswehr prevented the National Socialists' plan. On the recommendation of a foreign embassy he left Berlin for a short time and lived in exile for three months ”(cf. Helmut J. Schnorr: Adam Stegerwald, trade unionist, politician of the first German republic. A contribution to the history of the Christian social movement in Germany. 1966 .)
  3. cf. Rudolf Morsey: Contemporary History in Life Pictures - From German Catholicism of the 20th Century. Volume 1, 1973, p. 216.
  4. The overview notes about Stegerwald: “After 1933: Lives today in Berlin-Grunewald and is the owner of two properties worth RM 126,000. To this comes another fortune of RM 21.7898.-. St. indicates debts in the amount of RM 142,000, so that there is only a net worth of RM 5,7898. Until the end of 1938, St. received an annual pension of RM 16,075.00 from the V pension office. In 1938 house income and interest resulted in an amount of RM 2,913. "
  5. In the report of the head of the NSDAP to the Gestapo Würzburg of August 25, 1944 (source: Berlin Document Center) it says: “His former residence was probably Berlin. No recognizable political activity can be found in Greußenheim. He goes to church early and then goes to work ”.
  6. “There the reality of the Third Reich seems to have dawned on him. According to the testimony of the Würzburg art historian Kurt Gerstenberg (1886–1968), who shared a prison cell with Stegerwald, the ex-minister was extraordinarily brave and endured the tortures and bitterness of imprisonment with stoic calm. However, his robust health seems to have suffered from imprisonment ”(cf. Rudolf Morsey: Zeitgeschichte in Lebensbildern - From German Catholicism of the 20th Century. Volume 1, 1973, p. 216).
  7. Rolf-Ulrich Kunze : Würzburg 1945-2004. Reconstruction, modern city. In: Ulrich Wagner (Hrsg.): History of the city of Würzburg. 4 volumes, Volume I-III / 2 (I: From the beginnings to the outbreak of the Peasant War. 2001, ISBN 3-8062-1465-4 ; II: From the Peasant War 1525 to the transition to the Kingdom of Bavaria 1814. 2004, ISBN 3 -8062-1477-8 ; III / 1–2: From the transition to Bavaria to the 21st century. 2007, ISBN 978-3-8062-1478-9 ), Theiss, Stuttgart 2001–2007, Volume III (2007), Pp. 318-346 and 1292-1295; here: p. 330.
  8. Adam-Stegerwald-Kreis, homepage