Ernst-Joachim Giessmann

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Ernst-Joachim Gießmann (standing) at the meeting of the GDR State Council on October 4, 1968, chaired by Walter Ulbricht : (from left to right) Hans-Joachim Böhme , Johannes Hörnig , Kurt Hager , Max Steenbeck , Gerhard Schürer

Ernst-Joachim Gießmann (born February 12, 1919 in Berlin ; † October 17, 2004 in Neuhof (Zossen) ) was a German physicist and professor . He was Rector of the TH Magdeburg and then State Secretary and Minister for Higher and Technical Education in the GDR .


Gießmann came from a family of teachers from Friedrichsthal near Oranienburg. He was confirmed by Kurt Scharf in 1933 and later became a member of the Confessing Church . After attending elementary school in Friedrichsthal, the Reform Realgymnasium in Oranienburg and graduating from high school in 1937, he joined the NSDAP (member no. 4509402).

He completed his studies in mathematics and physics at the Technical University of Berlin-Charlottenburg and the University of Berlin in 1943 as a graduate physicist . One of his teachers was the Nobel Prize winner Werner Heisenberg . In 1943 he was called up for military service, but remained from 1943 to 1945 at the Institute for Technical Physics at the Technical University of Berlin-Charlottenburg.

After 1945 Gießmann worked on behalf of his party, the KPD , as a new teacher and school director at the former Reform Realgymnasium in Oranienburg and in Frankfurt (Oder) . In 1945 he became a member of the FDGB and the Kulturbund , in 1946 of the SED . He was promoted to Dr. rer. nat. doctorate and was 1946-1948 city councilor in Oranienburg. From 1948 to 1951 he was head of the science department in the Brandenburg state government in Potsdam and then head of metallurgical research in the GDR Ministry of Heavy Machinery in Berlin .

From 1951 to 1953 he was senior assistant at the "Karl Liebknecht" college of education in Potsdam . After his habilitation in 1954 with the thesis on the strength behavior of steel at high deformation speeds , he was appointed full professor and director of the Physics Institute at the Magdeburg University of Heavy Engineering , founded in 1953, and since 1961 Technical University of Otto-von-Guericke Magdeburg . From 1956 to 1962 he was rector there, succeeding the founding rector Heinz Schrader . At the same time he was a member of the SED district leadership in Magdeburg. His successor in the office of rector was Friedrich Kurth .

From 1954 to 1957 he was a member of the Society for the Dissemination of Scientific Knowledge Urania and from 1954 to 1990 in the Physical Society , since 1984 as deputy chairman. In addition, from 1957 to 1965 he was a member of the physics section of the German Academy of Sciences in Berlin and from 1958 to 1963, as a member of the parliamentary group of the Kulturbund, a member of the People's Chamber . From 1958 he was vice-president, later chairman of the central science committee of the Kulturbund and until 1989 chairman of the club of cultural workers .

From July 1962 to July 1967 Gießmann served as State Secretary for higher education and technical schools and then until September 1970 as a minister in the newly formed Ministry for higher education and technical education in the GDR . In this capacity he also carried out the Third University Reform of the GDR in 1968, which was accompanied by a reform of the German Academy of Sciences (DAW) under President Hermann Klare . Thereafter Gießmann was professor of physics at the engineering college in Berlin-Wartenberg until his retirement in 1984 .

Promoter of the natural sciences

Gießmann was present as the responsible State Secretary for higher education and technical schools in the GDR, as Kurt Mothes held the chair for biochemistry of plants and director of the botanical institutions of the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and the Institute for Biochemistry of Plants of the then German Academy of the Sciences zu Berlin as well as President of the German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina was awarded the honorary title "Outstanding Scientist of the People" by Ulbricht . Four years later, at the annual meeting of the "Leopoldina", which has had its headquarters in Halle (Saale) since 1878, the GDR government welcomed German and international scientists from Western and Eastern Europe as Minister for Higher Education. After Gießmann left the ministerial office “in the interests of his health” and resumed his work as a physics professor, his successor, Hans-Joachim Böhme , took part in the annual meetings of the “German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina” several times on the opening day, and the ministry continued to support the Leopoldina away. The "Leopoldina" was one of the "very few brackets" between East and West, according to an assessment after reunification.

Awards and honors


  • How bullets move. A short introduction to ballistics , Leipzig 1955.
  • About science and the technical revolution in the comprehensive construction of socialism in the GDR , Berlin 1966.
  • Physical-technical methods and their application in agriculture and technology , Berlin 1984.


Individual evidence

  1. ^ Obituaries in Neues Deutschland from October 19, 2004
  2. His father Ernst Gießmann was also a cantor and later a preacher (pastor) in the former church province of Berlin-Brandenburg according to the parish manach, Berlin 1956.
  3. Portrait and interview in the Berliner Zeitung on September 9, 1975
  4. ^ New Germany from 11./12. February 1989
  5. Handbook of the People's Chamber 1959
  6. ^ New Germany from 11./12. February 1989
  7. During his time as director, the school was named by Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge ( Runge-Gymnasium )
  8. Berliner Zeitung of September 20, 1989
  9. Berliner Zeitung, November 5, 1965, p. 1
  10. ^ New Germany, September 17, 1970, p. 2
  11. Neues Deutschland, February 11, 1989, p. 4
  12. Berliner Zeitung, October 11, 1975
  13. ^ Neue Zeit, January 15, 1991, p. 6
  14. Volksstimme of May 12, 1983