Hans-Joachim von Merkatz

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Merkatz (middle) 1967 in the Lower Saxony state representation in Bonn

Hans Joachim Benno Hermann Gustav Oskar von Merkatz (born July 7, 1905 in Stargard , Pomerania , † February 25, 1982 in Bonn ) was a German politician ( DP and CDU ). From 1955 to 1962 he was Federal Minister for Affairs of the Federal Council , from 1956 to 1957 Federal Minister of Justice and from 1960 to 1961 Federal Minister for Expellees, Refugees and War Victims .

education and profession

He was born as the eldest son of Benno Rudolf Paul von Merkatz (1879–1915) and Amely Helene Schneider (1884–1966); his great-grandfather was the Prussian major general Karl Pfendner von Merkatz . His sister Leonie Irma Henny Auguste Bertra died within a year (born October 19, 1907 in Wiesbaden , † October 3, 1908 in Ettlingen ), his brother's name was Herbert (born July 19, 1909 in Wiesbaden). In 1937 he married Margarete Müller (* 1910) with whom he had two daughters Monika (* 1939) and Angelika (* 1943).

After an agricultural apprenticeship and high school diploma , von Merkatz began studying law and economics at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena in 1928 , which he completed in 1931 with the first state examination in law and in 1934 with his thesis Political Development and Legal Formation of Ministerial Responsibility as a doctor the rights of his doctorate . During this time he was an active member of the Teutonia Jena fraternity . In 1935 he became a consultant at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Berlin . From 1938 until the end of the war, interrupted by military service from 1939 to 1941, he was General Secretary at the Ibero-American Institute in Berlin. Then in 1946 he became a clerk at the Academy for Spatial Research and Regional Planning in Hanover . In 1947 he became secretary of the DP parliamentary group in the Lower Saxony state parliament .

In 1966 he was appointed honorary professor at the University of Bonn .

Political party

After the Second World War , von Merkatz joined the German Party (DP). In 1949 he was involved in the negotiations with the NDP and the DKP-DRP on a merger for the DP together with Adolf Dedekind , Carl Lauenstein , Walter von Lüde , Ernst-August Runge , Hans-Christoph Seebohm and Friedrich Wilke , but these ultimately failed , especially because the British occupation forces declared that a merging party consisting of the DP, NDP and DKP-DRP would not receive a license.

In 1952 he became a member of the board of directors of his party and in 1955 finally its deputy chairman. He was one of the self-confessed monarchists in the DP. Merkatz left the DP in July 1960 and joined the CDU in September of the same year.


From 1949 to 1969 Merkatz was a member of the German Bundestag . From 1953 to 1955 he was chairman of the DP group . On July 1, 1960, he and eight other members of the Bundestag left the DP Bundestag faction, which then lost its parliamentary group status, and on September 20, 1960, he joined the CDU / CSU Bundestag faction .

In 1950 he spoke out in the Bundestag against the establishment of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution because he feared that it would pave the way to the "sniffing state" on the one hand and because on the other hand there was a risk that it would be abused in the political battle of opinion. In the same year he described denazification as a “modern witchcraft”, a “freak of totalitarian thinking and class struggle objectives” and a “insidious weapon”.

From April 27, 1967 to June 26, 1969, von Merkatz was chairman of the committee of inquiry to examine whether irregularities had occurred during the conclusion of the contract and implementation of the HS 30 armored personnel carrier project . From July 16, 1952 to March 19, 1958 he was also a member of the European Parliament .

Hans-Joachim von Merkatz is 1961 on the national list Lower Saxony and otherwise always as directly selected delegates of the constituency Verden - Osterholz - Rotenburg or the constituency Verden (1965) in the Bundestag moved in, in 1949, 1953 and 1957 due to election agreement with the CDU and FDP who renounced their own constituency candidates for the DP, 1965 for the CDU.

Public offices

Von Merkatz (right) signing a contract in 1960

From 1949 to 1952 von Merkatz was entrusted with the administration of the State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for Affairs of the Federal Council . On June 8, 1955, he was appointed Federal Minister for Affairs of the Bundesrat (from 1957: Federal Ministry for Affairs of the Bundesrat and the Länder) in the federal government led by Chancellor Konrad Adenauer . He held this office until December 1962.

In the course of the cabinet reshuffle on October 16, 1956, he also became Federal Minister of Justice, but resigned from this office after the 1957 Bundestag election on October 29, 1957.

From 1957 to December 11, 1962, he represented the Federal Government in the Bundestag's Council of Elders . After Theodor Oberländer resigned , he was also appointed Federal Minister for Expellees, Refugees and War Victims on October 27, 1960 . Since the FDP claimed this office after the 1961 federal election , he gave it up on November 14, 1961.

On December 13, 1962, von Merkatz finally resigned from the federal government in the course of the formation of a new cabinet after the SPIEGEL affair . From 1964 to 1968 he was the German representative on the Executive Council of UNESCO .

Social offices

In the 1950s, v. Merkatz in the Occidental Movement of the Würzburg International Law Professor Friedrich August Freiherr von der Heydte and in the Occidental Academy . From 1964 to 1965 he was President of the European Documentation and Information Center (CEDI) . He also played a leading role in the German section, the European Institute for Political, Economic and Social Issues. From 1965 to 1968 he also headed Welthungerhilfe . In 1967 he succeeded Richard Nikolaus Graf von Coudenhove-Kalergi as President of the German Paneuropean Union . He appeared several times as a speaker at the conservative state and economic society .



  • Mexico . Colombia . Venezuela . Ecuador . Peru . Bolivia . Chile . (each country article with reference to Nazi foreign policy) in Franz Six , Hg .: Jahrbuch der Weltpolitik 1944. Junker & Dünnhaupt , Berlin 1944
  • The parties in their current constitutional significance , in: Journal for foreign public law and international law , 1958, issue 1, pages 249–268
  • The party system in Germany , in: The Political Opinion , 1959, issue 32, pages 43-54
  • Does the lobby rule? Parliament, government and interest groups . In: Emil Hübner , Heinrich Oberreuter , Heinz Rausch (eds.): The Bundestag seen from the inside . Munich 1969. pp. 196-206
  • Migration today , Bielefeld, 1971
  • The rubble becomes foundations. Displaced persons - refugees - resettlers. Three decades of integration , Düsseldorf 1979.


  • Walter Henkels : 99 Bonn heads , reviewed and supplemented edition, Fischer-Bücherei, Frankfurt am Main 1965, p. 176ff.
  • Oliver Gliech: Basic bio-bibliographical data on the speakers and general secretaries of the IAI 1929-1945. in: Reinhard Liehr (ed.): An institute and its general. Wilhelm Faupel and the Ibero-American Institute during the National Socialist era. Vervuert, Frankfurt am Main 2003, ISBN 3-89354-589-1 , pp. 571-610, in particular pp. 586 ff.
  • Peter Paul Nahm : Culture and politics in the field of tension of history (Hans-Joachim von Merkatz on his 70th birthday). Bielefeld 1975.
  • Hans-Christof Kraus : Conservative politicians in Germany. A selection of biographical portraits from two centuries. Berlin 1995 (contains a Merkatz biography).
  • Frank-Lothar Kroll:  Merkatz, Hans-Joachim von. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 17, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1994, ISBN 3-428-00198-2 , p. 142 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Rolf Seeliger (Ed.): Doctoral theses in the Third Reich. Documentation with comments. (= Brown University; 5). Munich 1966, pp. 46-49.
  • Hans-Joachim von Merkatz , Internationales Biographisches Archiv 17/1982 from April 19, 1982, in the Munzinger archive ( beginning of article freely available)

Web links

Commons : Hans-Joachim von Merkatz  - Collection of Images

Individual evidence

  1. a b 644 [632] - M - Gothaisches genealogisches Taschenbuch der Briefadeligen houses - page - digital collections - digital collections. In: digital.ub.uni-duesseldorf.de. Retrieved January 7, 2017 .
  2. 642 [630] - M - Gothaisches genealogisches Taschenbuch der Briefadeligen houses - page - digital collections - digital collections. In: digital.ub.uni-duesseldorf.de. Retrieved January 7, 2017 .
  3. ^ Schmollinger, German Conservative Party - German Right Party , in Stöss, Party Handburch , Westdeutscher Verlag , Opladen 1986, page 1002 f.
  4. In a speech to the Bundestag on February 23, 1950, quoted from Norbert Frei : Politics of the Past. The beginnings of the Federal Republic and the Nazi past , Munich 1996, p. 55, ISBN 3-406-41310-2 .