Bernhard Günther (politician)

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Bernhard Günther's candidate poster for the state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia in 1954

Bernhard Günther (* 4. November 1906 in Koblenz , † 31 October 1981 in Cologne ) was a German politician of the CDU .

Life and work

Before 1945

After elementary school, Bernhard Günther, who was a Catholic , completed an apprenticeship as an electrician in his home town and passed the journeyman's examination in 1924. During this time he became a member of the Catholic journeymen's association. After wandering in Germany and Italy, he returned to Cologne in autumn 1925. In 1926 he was employed as an electrician at the gas, electricity and water works of the city of Cologne. He became a member of the electrical department of the Kolping Family and later its chairman as well as a member of the protective board of the Kolping House Cologne Central. At the same time, Günther began to participate in the Center Party , including in their youth organization " Windthorstbund ". He also joined the Christian trade unions .

A few months after the " seizure of power " by the National Socialists in 1933 , he had to leave the electricity works due to his refusal to join NS organizations. He passed his master craftsman's examination in 1935 and four years later took over the electrical installation business Carl and Wilhelm Warnecke (Elektrohaus Bernhard Günther) in Cologne-Ehrenfeld . After the building in which the company was located and other company headquarters were badly destroyed in the Second World War , the family and company were evacuated to Pleiserhohn in the Rhein-Sieg district . Due to his work for the Imbert Gas-Generatoren-Gesellschaft, Günther was postponed from military service.

Offices after 1945

Shortly after the American troops marched into Cologne in 1945, Günther returned to Cologne. Two months after the end of the war, District President Clemens Busch initially commissioned him to take over the presidency of the Chamber of Crafts in Cologne . Günther held this office for almost 30 years to the day. After renouncing a re-election as president, he was appointed honorary president.

Günther was also president of the “West German Chamber of Crafts” from 1949 to 1951 and then until 1975 its vice-president.

In addition, from 1947 to 1975 he was chairman of the supervisory board of the housing company des Rheinischen Handwerks AG and from 1949 to 1954 a member of the supervisory board of Mittelhilfe eG. Other offices were supervisory board memberships at Signal-Unfallversicherung a. G. (1954 to 1977) and at the Kölner Verein , Krankenversicherung AG (1958 to 1970), whose merger he was involved in until Signal-Versicherung .

From 1947 to 1975 Günther was deputy chairman of the supervisory board of the Kölner Messegesellschaft and also chaired the supervisory board of Kölner Bank eG from 1948 to 1973.

Gravesite of the Günther family

Among other things, he initiated the junior circle with Franz-Josef Knieps , who later became President of the Chamber of Crafts, in 1971, and introduced the presidential trips during which representatives of public life visited craft businesses.

He was involved in starting the cooperation with the Chambre des Métiers du Rhône from Lyon , which has been in close contact with the Cologne Chamber of Crafts since 1956. It was the first international partnership for both a French and a German Chamber of Crafts. Since 1952 Günther was also a member of the international study institute for medium-sized businesses in Brussels, from 1972 onwards for three years also its deputy chairman.

Bernhard Günther died in 1981 a few days before his 75th birthday. He was buried in the family grave in Cologne's Melaten cemetery (hall 94).


From 1928 to 1933 Günther was a member of the Center Party and board member of their youth organization Windthorstbund . In 1945 he co-founded the CDU in Cologne.

Günther had been a city councilor in Cologne since 1947, and in 1948 he was elected to the economic council of the bizone by the state parliament . Günther was a member of the German Bundestag from its first election in 1949 to 1965. In the constituency of Düren-Monschau-Schleiden , one of the strongholds of the CDU at that time, he was always directly elected to parliament, in 1957 with 73.0% of the first votes.

Günther was on the finance and transport committees of the Bundestag. In 1952, the federal government sent him - at the suggestion of the Central Association of German Crafts - to the administrative board of the Deutsche Bundesbahn . Even after his membership in parliament he remained active there until 1978. He became known beyond the circles of economic policy as a border region deputy with the establishment of the German-Belgian parliamentary group in the Interparliamentary Union .

As a member of parliament, Bernhard Günther also campaigned for the interests of political Catholicism. He took over the chairmanship of the "Wilhelm Böhler Club" founded in 1951, named after the head of the Catholic office in Bonn. Influential Catholic representatives of public life in Bonn met in the Böhler Club. He was also a member of the Central Committee of German Catholics .

Charitable work

In Cologne he campaigned for the reconstruction of the Cologne town hall tower, which had been destroyed in the war, and in 1950 founded the association "Bauhütte Rathausturm eV", of which he was also chairman, to raise funds. In addition, Bernhard Günther was active in development aid projects.



  • Joseph Klersch et al. a .: History of the Cologne electrical trade for the 50th anniversary in 1961. Balduin Pick, 1961.
  • Andreas Kawaleck: The parliamentarian as a foreign politician , Bernhard Günther and German-Belgian relations 1949–1965. 2007 Foundation of the Rheinisch Westphalian Economic Archive in Cologne.
  • Andrea Krüger: Dept. 368, estate of Bernhard Günther, President of the Cologne Chamber of Crafts, Master Electrical Installer Cologne. 2007.
  • Andreas Krüger: European Cooperation in Crafts and Politics, The Example of Bernhard Günther, 1945–1975. In: Yearbook 79, of the Cologne History Association 2008, 2009 SH-Verlag.

Web links

  • Günther, Bernhard . In: Martin Schumacher (Ed.): MdB - The People's Representation 1946–1972. - [Gaa to Gymnich] (=  KGParl online publications ). Commission for the History of Parliamentarism and Political Parties e. V., Berlin 2006, ISBN 978-3-00-020703-7 , pp. 411 , urn : nbn: de: 101: 1-2014070812574 ( [PDF; 297 kB ; accessed on June 19, 2017]).

Individual evidence

  1. ( page no longer available , search in web archives: company history )@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /
  2. Life picture
  3. ^ Josef Abt, Johann Ralf Beines, Celia Körber-Leupold: Melaten - Cologne graves and history. Greven, Cologne 1997, ISBN 3-7743-0305-3 , p. 183.