Bernhard Rust

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Bernhard Rust, 1934

Bernhard Rust (born September 30, 1883 in Hanover ; † May 8, 1945 in the municipality of Berend / Nübel , Schleswig district) was a German politician ( NSDAP ), Member of the Bundestag and Member of Parliament . In 1933/34 he headed the Prussian Ministry of Culture and from 1934 to 1945 the Reich Ministry for Science, Education and Public Education . Rust was a main representative of National Socialist education .

Live and act

Rust was born the only child to Catholic parents. His father Franz Rust, a carpenter by trade , achieved some prosperity through speculation with apartment buildings in Hanover. After visiting the Lyceum II studied in Hannover Rust 1904-1908 German , classical philology , art history , philosophy and music and worked from 1911 to 1930 as a teacher at Ratsgymnasium in Hannover .

Rust was married twice. His first wife, with whom he was married from 1910, died in 1919. In 1920 he married Anna-Sofie Dietlein. He had a son from his first marriage and three daughters in his second marriage.

During the First World War he suffered a serious head injury as an infantry lieutenant and was buried twice. In December 1918 he left the reserve with the rank of first lieutenant and highly decorated the military. It is unclear whether the wounds left permanent damage. In the school service he was repeatedly absent due to illness; In 1933 trigeminal neuralgia was diagnosed. Rust then drank alcohol regularly and was classified as an alcoholic by outsiders.

Weimar Republic

After the war, Rust turned to the nationalist movement . Paul de Lagarde , Arthur Moeller van den Bruck , Houston Stewart Chamberlain and Oswald Spengler were particularly influential . Rust joined the right-wing extremist Deutschvölkischer Schutz- und Trutzbund . After the NSDAP was banned in Prussia, he and his father-in-law and other like-minded people founded a local branch of the German National Freedom Party in Hanover in 1922 . He was also a member of the Federation of Former Frontline Fighters and the Stahlhelm . In 1924, Rust was elected to the Hanover city parliament for the German National Freedom Party. In May 1925 he joined the NSDAP and the SA .

From March 22, 1925 to September 30, 1928 he was Gauleiter of Lüneburg-Stade (later East Hanover / Hanover East). After the reorganization of the Gau borders, he was appointed Gauleiter of the newly founded Gau Südhannover-Braunschweig on October 1, 1928 . He was also the Gauleiter of the nationalist , anti-Semitic National Socialist Society for German Culture . In 1929 he was elected to the Prussian provincial parliament, in 1930, on September 14th he won a Reichstag mandate for the NSDAP in the Hanover-South constituency .

Prussian Minister of Culture and Reich Minister for Science, Education and Public Education

On February 2, 1933, Rust Acting Prussian Minister of Culture and in 1934 with the formation of the Reich Ministry of Science, Education and National Education in personal union Minister . Qua office he was a member of the Prussian State Council . Due to the law to restore the civil service , under Rust's leadership, around a thousand university professors , mostly Jews , Social Democrats and Liberals , lost their jobs and positions. This had serious consequences for the previously very strong German position in the natural sciences . Countless high-ranking scientists emigrated from Germany mostly to America, among them about a dozen Nobel Prize winners . Rust himself commented on this process: "We need a new Aryan race at the universities, or we will lose the future ... the main task of education is to educate National Socialists."

His early actions also included the dismissal of the Berlin reform pedagogue Fritz Karsen on February 21, 1933 and the start of the process of harmonization of the Karl Marx School (Berlin-Neukölln) headed by Karsen .

In May 17, 1933, the Education Minister Rust founded the Institute for Human Heredity and Eugenics ( Institute for Hereditary Science ) at the University of Greifswald and handed it over to Günther Just as director in December 1933 .

The new constitution for the German universities and colleges of April 1935 aimed at centralization and v. a. Limitation of academic self-government. The rectors were henceforth "leaders of the university" and directly subordinate to Rust. When asked why teachers should only be trained at specially created teacher training institutes (e.g. Bernhard Rust University in Braunschweig ) and not at universities, Rust replied that he could not tolerate “the future educators of the people Received training in these liberal mazes ”.

Rust pushed through the ideologization of subject teaching (e.g. in the decree on genetics and racial studies in the classroom of January 15, 1935) and, in breach of the Reich Concordat, obtained the ban on Catholic schools with the school year 1939/40. Parents' councils and student co-administration have been abolished in all schools .

In addition, on July 1, 1935, Rust was the founder of the racial ideological institute for the history of the New Germany , which opened on October 19, 1935. From 1940 he was SA group leader .

Rust had little influence in the administrative chaos of the National Socialist German Reich and had to cede more and more responsibilities to competing organizations, such as the SS , the Hitler Youth or the German Labor Front . His plan to fundamentally reorganize the German school system in the National Socialist spirit failed not least because of the war-related impairments in teaching such as deportation to Kinderland , and a lack of teachers and space. The desired monopoly of responsibility for university policy in his ministry also failed.

Death at the end of the war

At the end of April, Bernhard Rust left for Flensburg - Mürwik , where the last Reich government, the Dönitz government , settled in the Mürwik special area . Because of the situation he apparently considered hopeless, he tried to poison himself with sleeping pills, but was rescued and taken to the psychiatric hospital in Schleswig . From there he managed to escape. On the night of May 7-8, 1945, the day of the unconditional surrender , he shot himself near the village of Nübel in Schleswig-Holstein. He was buried in the cemetery in Neuberend .

Spelling reform

Rust prepared a reform of the German spelling. A rather extensive version, which in some respects corresponded to the ideas of the spelling reformers of the 1970s (moderate lower case, omission of the expansion symbols ), already failed internally due to the resistance of the Reich Ministry of the Interior. Another attempt in 1944 also failed. The rules of his spelling reform (planned reform of the German spelling of 1944 ) were already printed in a million copies for school use, and introductory articles appeared in various newspapers. However, the reform was not officially introduced because it was “not important to the war effort”. Some of the spellings planned by Rust found their way into the Duden ; the spelling rubber for couch, for example, was recorded there until the 1980s. A good part of the planned changes were taken up again in the 1996 reform of German spelling .


Web links

Commons : Bernhard Rust  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Anne C. Nagel, 2012, p. 41.
  2. Guido Janthor: Short biography Rust, Bernhard , for the web project from December 24, 2003, as PDF
  3. ^ A b Anne C. Nagel, 2012, p. 42.
  4. a b c Anne C. Nagel, 2012, p. 43.
  5. Uwe Lohalm: Völkischer Radikalismus. The history of the Deutschvölkischer Schutz- und Trutz-Bund. 1919-1923 . Leibniz-Verlag, Hamburg 1970, ISBN 3-87473-000-X , p. 325.
  6. a b c Ernst Klee : The dictionary of persons on the Third Reich . Who was what before and after 1945 . Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, second updated edition, Frankfurt am Main 2005, ISBN 978-3-596-16048-8 , p. 516.
  7. Anne C. Nagel, 2012, p. 40, p. 46.
  8. Deutsches Ärzteblatt. 1934, pp. 69 and 127.
  9. Ute Felbor: Racial Biology and Hereditary Science in the Medical Faculty of the University of Würzburg 1937–1945. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 1995, ISBN 3-88479-932-0 (= Würzburg medical-historical research. Supplement 3. At the same time: Dissertation Würzburg 1995), p. 149 f. and 164.
  10. Uwe Sandfuchs: University teacher training in the Weimar Republic and in the Third Reich , Bad Heilbrunn 1978, p. 360.
  11. Harald Scholtz: Education and instruction under the swastika . Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, Göttingen 1985, pp. 61-69, 131 ff. And ö.
  12. ^ Michael Grüttner : Science . In: Wolfgang Benz , Hermann Graml and Hermann Weiß (eds.): Encyclopedia of National Socialism . Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 1997, p. 143 f. Michael Parak: University administration in dictatorships. In: Günther Heydemann and Heinrich Oberreuter (eds.): Dictatorships in Germany - Comparative Aspects (= series of publications . Volume 398). Federal Agency for Civic Education , Bonn 2003 p. 346 ff.
  13. Flensburger Tageblatt : The final resting place: perpetrators and victims lie on the "Peace Hill" , from: May 19, 2015; Retrieved on: June 29, 2017.
  14. Anne C. Nagel, 2012, p. 363.
  15. Flensburger Tageblatt : The final resting place: perpetrators and victims lie on the "Peace Hill" , from May 19, 2015; Retrieved on: June 29, 2017.