Bertha Middelhauve

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Bertha Middelhauve (born June 9, 1893 in Montabaur , † December 1, 1988 in Opladen ) was a German politician.


The name Bertha Middelhauve is inextricably linked with the Morsbroich Castle Museum in Leverkusen . It was founded on their initiative in 1951, at a time when contemporary, non-figurative art was controversial and fiercely fought in a way that is hardly imaginable today. Bertha Middelhauve also had to fight for the museum if the castle and land, which the von Diergardt family had transferred to the city of Leverkusen after 1950, were to be used in a completely different way: either as part of a hospital to be founded or as a local museum. With her very own, future-oriented view, which also turned out to be visionary in other projects, she prevailed.

"She never had a problem expressing her opinion spiritedly, and whoever shared it, she allied herself with, party-political boundaries played no role", Friedrich Middelhauve describes an essential characteristic of his mother. And where did your interest in contemporary art come from? Middelhauve: “My parents have been involved in avant-garde literature and art since their youth. In Opladen, where she has been teaching German, French and geography at the Marienschule since 1922 , she founded a local group of the Bühnenvolksbund in the first year and brought plays by contemporary poets to the stage there. A 'Dr. Mi 'wrote some sharp criticisms about it, so the two got to know each other. When they married in 1928, Bertha Middelhauve had to give up her job. Marriage and state school service were still incompatible. "


After studying German , Romance languages and geography from 1914 to 1921, she said she taught (in contrast to what her son said) from 1921 to 1925 as a philologist at the Lyceum Marianum (Marienschule) in the then independent Opladen , from 1925 to 1926 on Lyceum Ost in Elberfeld, which was also independent at the time, and from 1926 to 1928 at the State Advanced School in Saarburg near Trier .

Political engagement in the post-war period, women's ring

With the end of National Socialism , her husband Friedrich Middelhauve was finally able to become a publisher. Heinrich Böll's first books appeared in his schoengeist publishing house . In addition, he was politically committed to the construction of the Federal Republic from the very beginning. Bertha Middelhauve got involved. In 1945 the British occupying power asked her to found a democratic women's discussion group based on the English model. She did so, and although afterwards she was also a founding member of the German Women's Ring , she initially devoted herself mainly to her work in the Leverkusen city council. Her focus: the city's school and cultural policy. The takeover of Schloss Morsbroich by the city developed into a special project. In her cosmopolitan, modern way of thinking, she couldn't get much from a local museum, she wanted what she thought was best there: a prominent place for contemporary art.

City councilor and FDP parliamentary group leader

In her years as city councilor and parliamentary group leader of the FDP from 1948 to 1959, she fought hot, ultimately successful battles for her further projects: 1955 the establishment of the vocational training institute on Bismarckstrasse, 1956 start of construction of the municipal hospital in the Morsbroich forest. In 1959 she left the city council to devote herself entirely to the German Women's Ring, of which she had become president the previous year. She developed it into a strong component of international women's work.

In 1962 she was the first woman to be awarded the city's ring of honor. An unfinished street - still a dead end - is intended to commemorate this outstanding personality.

Individual evidence

  1. Redaktionsbüro Harenberg: Knaurs Prominentenlexikon 1980. The personal data of celebrities from politics, economy, culture and society . With over 400 photos. Droemer Knaur, Munich / Zurich 1979, ISBN 3-426-07604-7 , Middelhauve, Bertha, p. 309 .


  • Christine Blasberg: Searching for Traces - WomenLife in Leverkusen. (Ed.): Women's Office of the City of Leverkusen, Leverkusen 2005, p. 23
  • Antje Dertinger : women from the very beginning. From the founding years of the Federal Republic , J. Latka Verlag, Bonn 1989, ISBN 3-925-06811-2 . (P. 119ff)

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