Ernst Foehr

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Ernst Foehr

Ernst Gottlieb Föhr (born April 15, 1892 in Josefslust near Sigmaringen ; † January 19, 1976 in Freiburg im Breisgau ) was a German Catholic clergyman and politician ( center ).

Live and act

Youth and Education (1892 to 1920)

After attending elementary schools in Wollmatingen (1897/98) and Obersäckingen (1898–1901) as well as the high school in Säckingen , the Realprogymnasium in Waldshut and the grammar school in Konstanz , Föhr studied Catholic theology from 1910 to 1913 at the University of Freiburg . In 1913 he passed the theological exam. He also received minor orders. From 1913 to 1914 he studied philosophy in Rome, where he received the philosophical baccalaureate in 1914 . From 1914 to 1915 he attended the seminary of the Archdiocese of Freiburg in St. Peter , where he was ordained priest and diaconate that same year.

From 1915 to 1918 Föhr took part in the First World War, in which he was employed as a hospital chaplain in the 170th Infantry Regiment and as a chaplain . He received the Iron Cross 2nd class.

In 1918 Föhr began studying economics. Until 1920 he studied in Karlsruhe (1918/19), Freiburg (1919) and Würzburg (1920). The conclusion of his studies was the dissertation, submitted in Freiburg in 1920, on the social and economic conditions of forest workers in the Baden Black Forest with special consideration of the conditions created by war and revolution , with which he (with the title magna cum laude ) as a Dr. rer. pole. PhD. Since 1919 Föhr was a member of the Catholic student association KDStV Hercynia Freiburg im Breisgau . Later he received an honorary doctorate from the Philosophical Faculty of the University of Freiburg.

Weimar Republic (1920 to 1933)

In 1920, Föhr became the diocesan praeses in the local people's association of Catholic Germany for Baden and Hohenzollern . Since the end of the world war and the establishment of the Weimar Republic , Föhr was increasingly active in politics. For the Catholic Center Party , he entered the state parliament of the Baden Republic for the first time in 1921 , to which he would subsequently belong without interruption until the end of 1933. In the Reichstag election of May 1928 , Föhr was elected to the Reichstag in Berlin as a representative of constituency 32 (Baden) . He was a member of this parliament for five legislative terms until the November 1933 election.

Föhr gained increasing political weight when he was elected chairman of the Baden regional association of the center in 1931. He held this office, as well as the office of the parliamentary group leader of his party in the Baden state parliament, until the center was dissolved in the summer of 1933. In March 1932, newspaper reports caused a sensation all over Germany, after which Föhr and the Reichstag member Carl Diez took part in a consultation with South Baden center guides in which the plan had been made, in the event of Adolf Hitler's appointment as Reich Chancellor in southern Germany, to bring a “purely Catholic state” into being under the leadership of the center. Later that year, Föhr was instrumental in the conclusion of the so-called Baden Concordat between the Republic of Baden and the Catholic Church, which he represented as Baden's representative with the papal nuncio in the German Empire, Eugenio Pacelli, who later became Pope Pius XII. negotiated. In March 1933, Föhr voted in the Reichstag for the adoption of the Enabling Act , which formed the legal basis for the establishment of the Nazi dictatorship. Later in the same year he voted in the Baden state parliament for the adoption of the Baden Enabling Act and promised the "national state" the full loyalty of its party, which meanwhile neither the compulsory dissolution of the Center Party in Baden nor the dissolution - without re-election - of the Baden state parliament in December 1933 prevented.

Period of National Socialism and the post-war period (1933 to 1976)

During the National Socialist era , Föhr withdrew from political life. He now devoted himself increasingly to his work as a clergyman and writing projects. From 1943 to 1958, Föhr, who had held the title of papal house prelate in Freiburg since the early 1930s, held the office of pastor of the parish of St. Johann in Freiburg.

After 1945, Föhr, who maintained good relations with the French occupation authorities in Baden-Württemberg , was the driving force behind the attempt to re-establish the old Center Party from before 1933 - i.e. as a Catholic denominational party - which in February 1946 led to the re-establishment of the Baden Center Party led. The CDU rejected Föhr because of its denominational openness and its "too soft attitude". In particular, he held against her Baden section for the lack of commitment to Baden and the failure to pursue a social and cultural policy based on the Christian spirit. The attempt to intervene in political events with a Catholic-South German center party ultimately failed: Föhr's new, old center party remained a fringe group. One of the decisive factors for this development was probably the decision of the Archbishop of Freiburg, Conrad Gröber - Föhr's ecclesiastical superior - not to stand behind the prelates, but to support the establishment of an interdenominational Christian party - the CDU.

After it had become relatively quiet around Föhr for a few years, in 1956 he again achieved greater public attention when he gave the funeral address during the funeral of the former Chancellor Joseph Wirth . In 1958, Föhr was appointed his vicar general by the new Freiburg Archbishop Hermann Schäufele . This office, one of the highest in the diocese, in which he was de facto the right hand of the bishop, he held until 1968. In accordance with his convictions, Föhr took a tough, confrontational line in this office too. The mirror caused this to 1967 under the title "The bishop's General" (a reference to Zuckmayers piece The Devil's General what im getting "[Foehr] embodies [today]) to publish a portrait of the valiant Vicar, which stated more towards the middle leveled Federal Germany has become a rarity: a real black. As Vicar General of Freiburg Archbishop Schäufele, he rules without tolerance, with cunning and harshness. ”Among the most noticed actions and statements by Föhr during his time as Vicar General were: The statement he made at the beginning of 1967 that after the decision of the Baden-Württemberg parliament a new one To pass the school law the believers - after the abolition of the denominational school - would remain the “only possibility of protest” to vote for the right-wing extremist NPD in the next state election; Föhr forced the Freiburg cathedral - contrary to the wishes of the pastor, the city council and the parishioners - to ring the bell again; He had the Freiburg student newspaper reported after it had mocked a Catholic marriage brochure and used an old priest caricature from Simplicissimus as a means of ridicule; He also polemicized in the Badische Volkszeitung against the godless, the CDU and the non-Catholic mass media, whose alleged fight against Catholicism he sharply attacked. The Bietigheim Catholics prompted Föhr's aggressive will to assert themselves with the mockery: "Whoever digs a pit for others [sic!] Leads into it himself."

Föhr's estate is now kept in the archbishopric archive in Freiburg.


  • The social and economic conditions of the forest workers in the Baden Black Forest with special consideration of the conditions created by war and revolution , 1921.
  • Five years of school politics and the school struggle in Baden, 1918-1923 , 1923.
  • Kulturkämpferei and cultural politics , 1925.
  • Baden tax reform 1926 , 1926.
  • Confessional school or simultaneous school in Baden? , 1927.
  • The amendment to the Spirits Monopoly Act of May 15, 1929 , 1929.
  • In the fight for the Christian school , slea
  • Why did the Reich Protection Act fail? , s.le.a.
  • The amendment to the Spirits Monopoly Act of May 15 , 29 , s. l. e. a.
  • The Concordat between the Holy See and the Free State of Baden , 1933 (with Conrad Gröber)
  • History of the Baden Concordat , 1958.
  • Church and parish of St Johann Baptist in Freiburg im Breisgau , 1958.
  • The Christian simultaneous school in the traditional Baden sense , 1966.
  • Scientific worldview and Christian faith. The modern worldview , 1974.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Herbert Linder: From the NSDAP to the SPD. The political life of Dr. Helmuth Klotz (1894-1943) , 1998, p. 711.
  2. ^ Association for the history of Lake Constance and its surroundings: Writings of the association for the history of Lake Constance and its surroundings , 1998, p. 161.
  3. ^ Paul-Ludwig Weinacht: The CDU in Baden-Württemberg and their history , 1978, p. 59.
  4. ^ Heinrich Küppers: Joseph Wirth. Parliamentarians, Ministers and Chancellors of the Weimar Republic , 1997, p. 328.
  5. Der Spiegel 22/1967, p. 60.