Heinrich Brauns

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Heinrich Brauns

Heinrich Braun (* 3. January 1868 in Cologne , † 19th October 1939 in Lindenberg im Allgäu ) was a German center - politicians and Catholic theologian .


Heinrich Brauns was born as the only child of a master tailor. After studying theology and being ordained a priest in 1890, he was first chaplain at the parish of St. Josef in Krefeld and from 1895 in Borbeck . In Borbeck he promoted the local Catholic miners' association and was then reputed to be a "red chaplain". In 1900 he was appointed head of the organization department in the central office of the People's Association for Catholic Germany in Mönchengladbach. From 1903 onwards he studied economics and political science in Freiburg and Bonn . In 1905 he received his doctorate with a dissertation on the development from artisanal weaving to mechanical textile production. In the same year he became director of the Central Office of the People's Association for Catholic Germany, the most important organization of German Catholicism in the Empire. In the trade union dispute he campaigned for interdenominational Christian trade unions.

In 1929 he became chairman of the (Catholic) International Labor Conference . In 1933 he was indicted together with Wilhelm Marx and Adam Stegerwald in the trial against the Kölner Volksverein-Verlag in his function as a board member of the Volksverein, but the trial was discontinued in 1934.

Political party

Brauns was a member of the Center Party . His attempt to change this by including Protestant members in a non-denominational Christian people's party - comparable to today's CDU  - failed. In 1920 he was elected to the party executive, where he counted himself to the right wing.


Brauns was a member of the Weimar National Assembly for the Cologne-Aachen constituency in 1919/20 , where he was chairman of the committee for social policy. He was then a member of the Reichstag until the 1933 election . In 1920 he had been elected for four years on the Reich election proposal, from 1924 to July 1932 he represented the constituency of Weser-Ems, and since then he has been re-elected on the Reich election proposal. After leaving the ministerial office, he also took over the chairmanship of the social policy committee there.

Public offices

Brauns was Reich Labor Minister from June 25, 1920 to June 12, 1928 and shaped the social policy of the Weimar Republic . The long term of office earned him the nickname Heinrich the Eternal . He created the basis for many social policy laws and institutions. His socio-political role model was Pope Leo XIII.

Important laws and regulations that arose under his responsibility:

In the spring of 1931 Heinrich Brauns became chairman of the expert commission on the unemployment question ( Brauns commission ) that had been set up by Heinrich Brüning . He died in 1939 of complications from appendicitis .


In his honor the Bishop of Essen has been awarding the Heinrich Brauns Prize every two years since 1978 .


He was a member of the Catholic student associations KDSt.V. Novesia Bonn and the KDSt.V. Arminia Freiburg im Breisgau, both in CV .


  • Our task against the advance of social democracy , Mönchengladbach 1903
  • The transition from hand weaving to factory operation in the Lower Rhine velvet and silk industry and the situation of workers in this period , Leipzig 1906
  • The Christian trade unions , Mönchengladbach 1908.
  • The trade union question , Vienna 1912.
  • The eight-hour shift in the German coal mining industry. Report to the International Association for Legal Workers Protection , Berlin 1919.
  • Wage Policy , 1921.
  • Economic crisis and social policy , 1924.
  • Overcoming capitalism through a unified proletarian popular movement? , Mönchengladbach 1929.
  • On the struggle for social policy , Essen 1930.
  • Heinrich Brauns, Catholic Social Policy in the 20th Century. Selected essays and speeches . Edited by H. Mockenhaupt, Mainz 1976.


  • Helga GrebingBrauns, Heinrich. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 2, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1955, ISBN 3-428-00183-4 , p. 560 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Eckhard Hansen, Florian Tennstedt (Eds.) U. a .: Biographical lexicon on the history of German social policy from 1871 to 1945 . Volume 2: Social politicians in the Weimar Republic and during National Socialism 1919 to 1945. Kassel University Press, Kassel 2018, ISBN 978-3-7376-0474-1 , p. 21 df. ( Online , PDF; 3.9 MB).
  • Bernd Haunfelder : Member of the Reichstag of the German Center Party 1871–1933. Biographical handbook and historical photographs (= photo documents on the history of parliamentarism and political parties. Volume 4). Droste, Düsseldorf 1999, ISBN 3-7700-5223-4 , pp. 299-300.
  • Beatrix Herlemann , Helga Schatz: Biographical Lexicon of Lower Saxony Parliamentarians 1919–1945 (= publications of the Historical Commission for Lower Saxony and Bremen. Volume 222). Hahnsche Buchhandlung, Hannover 2004, ISBN 3-7752-6022-6 , p. 61.
  • Markus Lingen : Heinrich Brauns and the People's Association for Catholic Germany (1900-1933). In: Reimund Haas, Karl Josef Rivinius and Hermann-Josef Scheidgen (eds.): “New awakening in the memory of the church”. Studies on the history of Christianity in Central and Eastern Europe for the Jubilee Year 2000 as a festive gift for Gabriel Adriányi on the 65th birthday (Bonn Contributions to Church History, Volume 22), Cologne, Weimar, Vienna 2000, pp. 235–264, ISBN 3-412- 04100-9 .
  • Markus Lingen:  Brauns, Heinrich. In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL). Volume 17, Bautz, Herzberg 2000, ISBN 3-88309-080-8 , Sp. 175-184.
  • Hubert Mockenhaupt: Heinrich Brauns (1868–1939) . In: Rudolf Morsey (ed.): Contemporary history in life pictures . Volume 1, Mainz 1973, pp. 148-159.
  • Hubert Mockenhaupt: Priestly existence and socio-political. Engagement of Heinrich Brauns . Dissertation (Saarbrücken) 1976.
  • Hubert Mockenhaupt (arrangement): Heinrich Brauns. Catholic Social Policy in the 20th Century. Selected essays and speeches (publications by the Commission for Contemporary History, Series A: Sources, Volume 19), Mainz 1976.
  • Hubert Mockenhaupt: Path and work of the spiritual social politician Heinrich Brauns . Contributions to Catholicism Research, Series B: Treatises. Paderborn 1977.
  • Hubert Mockenhaupt: The Franciscan Spirit of Reich Labor Minister Heinrich Brauns . In: Franciscan Studies . 1980, pp. 31-38.
  • Hubert Mockenhaupt: Heinrich Brauns (1868–1939) . In: Rheinische Lebensbilder . Volume 4, Cologne 1982, pp. 211-232.
  • Hubert Mockenhaupt: Heinrich Brauns (1868–1939) . In: Alfred Pothmann and Reimund Haas (eds.): Christians on the Ruhr . Volume 1, Bottrop, Essen 1998, pp. 138-150.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b Christoph Arens: Heinrich the Eternal (A priest was the most permanent minister of the Weimar Republic) Konradsblatt weekly newspaper for the Archdiocese of Freiburg from October 12, 2014, page 48
  2. ^ Christoph Butterwegge: Crisis and future of the welfare state. 3. Edition. Wiesbaden 2006. p. 57. ( online )