Adolf Grimme

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Adolf Grimme
Otto Braun (left) and Adolf Grimme in front of the Prussian state parliament after the session on May 24, 1932

Adolf Berthold Ludwig Grimme (born December 31, 1889 in Goslar ; † August 27, 1963 in Degerndorf am Inn ) was a German cultural politician ( SPD ) in the late phase of the Weimar Republic and the early Federal Republic, Lower Saxony's first culture minister and general director of the Northwest German Broadcasting Corporation ( NWDR). The Grimme Prize is named after him.


Until 1945

The son of the station master of Goslar attended elementary school in Weferlingen as well as high schools in Sangerhausen and Hildesheim . After graduating from high school, he studied philosophy and German literature in Halle , Munich and Göttingen from 1908 to 1914 , with Edmund Husserl among others , and was involved in the free student movement during this time . In 1914 he completed his studies with the state examination and, after working as a study assessor in Leer, became a teacher in Hanover in 1919 .

From 1918 to 1920 Grimme was a member of the DDP ; After the murder of Walter Rathenau , he joined the SPD and the Association of Resolute School Reformers in 1922 . As an undogmatic Protestant, Grimme also belonged to the Association of Religious Socialists . The connection between Christianity and socialism remained decisive for him throughout his life; His saying: "A socialist can be a Christian, a Christian must be a socialist" became known.

In 1923 Grimme was promoted to senior student council and member of the provincial school council in Hanover, in 1925 high school councilor for higher girls' schools in Magdeburg , 1928 ministerial councilor in the Prussian Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs and personal assistant to the minister of education Carl Heinrich Becker and a year later vice-president of the provincial school council of Berlin and Brandenburg . Since January 1930, he served as successor Beckers as the last minister of education of a democratically elected government in Prussia in 1932 in the " Prussian coup was deposed." At the same time he was the Prussian authorized representative at the Reichsrat . He was officially removed from office in March 1933. From 1932 to 1933 Grimme was a member of the Prussian state parliament for the SPD .

During the Nazi period, Grimme lived without office or employment in a difficult economic situation and wrote a commentary on the Gospel of John . However, the publisher Walter de Gruyter employed him as a proofreader.

Through his college friend Adam Kuckhoff , he came into contact with the resistance groups known as the Red Orchestra . In 1942 he was arrested by the Gestapo after a house search and in 1943 sentenced to three years in prison for failing to report attempted high treason .

In May 1945 Grimme was released from the Hamburg-Fuhlsbüttel prison . On September 15, 1945 he filed a complaint against the Nazi judge Manfred Roeder for participating in the judgments against 49 members of the Red Orchestra as well as Dietrich Bonhoeffer , Hans von Dohnanyi , Arvid Harnack and many others. This procedure was delayed by the Nazi-charged lawyers from the Lüneburg public prosecutor's office until the end of the 1960s and then stopped.

After 1945

After the end of the Second World War and the Nazi regime, Grimme was appointed by the British occupying forces on August 1, 1945 as government director to head the department for art, science and popular education in the Oberpräsidium of the province of Hanover . In 1946 he became the commissioner for education in the British zone , as such a member of the zone advisory board and minister for education of the short-lived state of Hanover . As a commissioner, he was one of the initiators at a conference in London that enabled German prisoners of war incarcerated in English camps to graduate from the Norton Camp study camp . After the formation of the State of Lower Saxony, he was the first Lower Saxony Minister of Education under Prime Minister Hinrich Wilhelm Kopf from November 23, 1946 to September 1948 .

Grimme was a member of the appointed Hanover State Parliament and the appointed Lower Saxony State Parliament (from December 9, 1946 to March 28, 1947). He was also a member of the first elected state parliament until 1948. At the first post-war party congress of the SPD in 1946 in Hanover, Grimme was elected to the party executive. In 1948 he was elected President of the newly established Study Foundation of the German People .

In March 1948 he was elected as Lower Saxony's minister of culture on the administrative board of the Northwest German Broadcasting Corporation (NWDR) and was elected chairman in May. In September 1948, the board of directors unanimously elected him as the first general director of what was then by far the largest broadcaster in Germany, which had been headed by British control officer Hugh Carleton Greene . Grimme took up his new office on November 15, 1948. In 1952 he was confirmed as General Manager for another five years. When the NWDR was split up into North German Radio and West German Radio at the end of 1955 , Grimme retired on his 66th birthday. He spent his retirement in Degerndorf am Inn. His grave is in the Engesohde city cemetery in Hanover .


On April 10, 1916, Grimme married the painter Mascha Brachvogel, with whom he had a daughter and two sons, one of whom died young. After the Second World War, the marriage was divorced. In his second marriage, from 1947 until his death, Grimme was married to the divorced wife of Lower Saxony's Prime Minister Hinrich Wilhelm Kopf, Josefine , née von Behr, who was born in 1907 .

Memberships and honorary positions


Grimme Prize and Institute

The television prize Adolf Grimme Prize (since 2010: Grimme Prize) of the German Adult Education Association is named after Adolf Grimme and was awarded for the first time in Marl in 1964 . In 1973 the media institute named after him was founded in Marl, which has organized and held the Grimme Prize annually since 1977. Since 2001, the Adolf Grimme Institute has also been awarding the Grimme Online Award in various categories for contributions in the new media .


  • The sense and absurdity of the school leaving examination . (= Decided school reform , volume 5), Verlag Ernst Oldenburg, Leipzig 1923.
  • The religious man. A goal for the new school . (= The School of Life - Series of publications of the Federal Association of Decided School Reformers , Issue 11) Verlag CA Schwentschke & Sohn, Berlin 1923.
  • The new people - the new state. 7 speeches. Publishing house JHW Dietz, Berlin 1932.
  • On the open ground with a free people . Publishing house JHW Dietz, Berlin 1932.
  • On the essence of romance . Westermann publishing house, Braunschweig / Berlin / Hamburg 1947.
  • Self-determination. Speeches from the first years of the reconstruction . Edited by Hans Thierbach, Westermann Verlag, Braunschweig / Berlin / Hamburg 1947.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Review on H-Soz-u-Kult .
  2. ADOLF GRIMME †: Education. In: January 12, 2012, accessed October 27, 2018 .
  3. Review on H-Soz-u-Kult .
  4. ^ Ernst Klee : The culture lexicon for the Third Reich. Who was what before and after 1945. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2007, ISBN 978-3-10-039326-5 , p. 198.
  5. ^ Nicolaus Schmidt: Willi Lassen - a biographical sketch. Working in the service of democratic education. In: Democratic History , Vol. 26, 2015, pp. 193–226, here p. 205.