Anton Zelger

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Anton Zelger (born February 14, 1914 in Deutschnofen ; † January 28, 2008 in Bolzano ) was a South Tyrolean politician and long-time regional councilor for German schools and culture.


Zelger studied German and history at the universities of Milan , Innsbruck and Padua . In the Second World War he fought as a member of the Wehrmacht and was taken prisoner of war in Yugoslavia . After returning to South Tyrol in 1947, he worked as a teacher in Bolzano .

Zelger headed the South Tyrolean cultural institute from 1956 to 1960 . From 1960 to 1988 he was a member of the state parliament of the South Tyrolean People's Party (SVP) and thus also of the regional council . In 1960 he joined the South Tyrolean provincial government , where he served in the Magnago I and Magnago II cabinets as a substitute provincial councilor until 1969. In 1969 he took over the German-language education and culture departments in the Magnago III cabinet , which he also oversaw during his subsequent terms in office until 1989 in the Magnago IV , Magnago V and Magnago VI cabinets .

Zelger's policy had a lasting impact on South Tyrolean cultural life for many years. He presented by thinly brass bands and costume groups , protecting and popular platforms extensive financial resources, the contributions to the so-called high culture surpassed many times over. Zelger saw culture as a matter of the people, not of the elites. He summed up his cultural and educational policy regarding the Italian language group in South Tyrol as follows: “The better we separate, the better we understand each other.” As an opponent of any avant-garde , he resolutely rejected modern art and resisted the establishment of one bilingual state library or the founding of a university, as this “stirs up the youth”. Subcultural events were often restricted under Zelger's aegis by withholding subsidies or premises. Due to his emphatically conservative politics, he was sometimes faced with calls for resignation. Nonetheless, Zelger himself had the reputation of “basically a liberal” among his opponents, since his assessors - despite negative public statements - actually provided unpopular cultural workers with financial subsidies.


  • Nina Schröder: Culture as an acid test . In: Gottfried Solderer (Ed.): The 20th Century in South Tyrol. Autonomy and departure . Volume IV: 1960-1979. Edition Raetia, Bozen 2002, ISBN 88-7283-183-0 , p. 174-205 , especially p. 179 .
  • South Tyrolean Provincial Government (Ed.): Südtirol-Handbuch 1988 . Brochure, Bozen 1988, p. 102 ( online )

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