Heinrich Rodenstein

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Heinrich Rodenstein (born January 12, 1902 in Braunschweig ; † December 22, 1980 there ) was a German educator and university professor. From 1948 to 1956 he was rector of the Braunschweig University of Education . In 1948 he was one of the founding members of the Education and Science Union (GEW).

Life before 1933

Rodenstein grew up in a working-class family and attended an elementary school in Braunschweig for four years before he was able to switch to the municipal boys' secondary school as a free student at Easter 1911 . “From 1913 he was a so-called 'Duke student'. His father received a quarterly education allowance of 100.00 marks from the Duke of Braunschweig's ducal marshal's office and all expenses for learning materials were reimbursed. ”After finishing secondary school, Rodenstein attended the ducal teachers' seminar in Braunschweig and in the spring of 1922 passed the first teacher examination for teaching at elementary schools.

After the exam, Rodenstein did not get a job and had to work in various companies. On August 1, 1922, he got a job as an assistant teacher at the city of Braunschweig. He stayed here for two and a half years and moved to Wolfshagen for a school year at Easter 1925 . Here he passed the second teacher examination and was then transferred to Schöningen at Easter 1926 .

During his time in Schöningen, Rodenstein was an elected member of the city council and on April 1, 1927, was appointed civil servant for life. At Easter 1928 he switched back to the school service of the city of Braunschweig, from which he was released by the Nazis in July 1933. During this time he also worked closely with Hans Löhr and Leo Regener , with whom he wrote the memorandum on the development of teacher training , as a result of which Adolf Jensen was appointed professor at the TH Braunschweig in 1929 .

Heinrich Rodenstein was a member of the KPD until 1929 and later joined SAP, which was founded in 1931 .


1933 to 1939

After his discharge from school, Rodenstein emigrated to Holland in July 1933 as a politically persecuted person. With the help of the Dutch teachers' union, he organized his relocation in November 1933 to the Saar area, which was then still under French administration . From 1934 onwards he worked as a teacher at two domanial schools, first in January 1934 at the school in Saarbrücken, and from February 1st until his escape to France at the school in Saarlouis. During this time he lived with his wife Marta in the emigre's home in the Von der Heydt community . In February 1935 the Rodensteins left the Saar region and went into exile in France. They were initially housed in the town of Revel (Haute-Garonne) , around 60 km east of Toulouse .

At the beginning of September 1935, the Rodensteins traveled to Paris. They took over the furnished room from Heinrich Grönewald and also his family of private students who were now taught by Heinrich Rodenstein. In succession to Grönewald, Rodenstein also took over the management of the Paris section of the Association of German Emigrant Teachers (also: Union des Instituteurs allémands emigrés , Union for short ) and subsequently became one of the association's most important officials. Rodenstein represented the Union in the International Trade Secretariat of Teachers (IBSL) in Brussels and took part in the IBSL congresses in Pontigny in 1937 and Nice in 1938. Marta Rodenstein contributed to the improvement of the material situation with knitting and tailoring work for the living; later she found work in a vegetarian restaurant founded by emigrants from the ISK environment . This “vegetarian restaurant of the ISK” was the “Restaurant Végétarien des Boulevards (d'aprés Bircher-Benner) 28 Boulevard Poissonniére” operated by Erich Lewinski and his wife Hertha, with whose income many émigrés secured their livelihoods Financing of political work in exile was contributed. Gretel Ebeling was temporarily employed in this restaurant .

On February 16, 1939, their daughter Rosemarie was born in Paris, the only child of the Rodensteins.

1939 to 1945

With the outbreak of World War II, Marta Rodenstein and daughter Rosemarie were forced to leave Paris and went back to Revel. Heinrich Rodenstein was interned in Paris in the Colombes stadium . From here he was transferred to the Camp de Meslay-du-Maine a short time later . He was allowed to leave the camp in November and reached Revel via Paris on November 26, 1939.

In Revel, Rodenstein was considered a foreigner with residence restrictions on Revel and was registered as an unskilled worker. This is reflected in the employment relationships that he exercised here in the following years:
- December 1939 to January 1940: worker in a car repair shop;
- February to June 1940: warehouse worker in a brewery;
- August 1940 to February 1941: worker in a sawmill;
- March 1941 to October 1944: worker in two fruit and vegetable stores;
- November 1944: worker in a land and coal trade;
- December 1944 to July 1945: construction workers.

Marta Rodenstein made a significant contribution to livelihood with knitting. The customers delivered the wool, paid a knitting wage and also delivered goods in kind.

Due to old acquaintances with the French trade union movement, the Rodenstein family in Revel could live relatively safe from persecution. However, Rodenstein himself did not actively participate in the French resistance. Nor did he consider leaving France despite having visa guarantees for the US, Mexico and Brazil. “I had turned down these offers. I had always been certain, without any rational justification, that we would survive. In addition, my wife's deep homesickness made it impossible for us to move any further from our homeland. "

With the withdrawal of German troops from southern France at the beginning of August 1944, “the exit of a long tunnel was reached”. In autumn 1944 Rodenstein became a member of the construction workers' union and Karl Mössinger (1888–1961) registered him with the newly formed Fédération des Groupes Socialistes en France , through which Rodenstein's political path led to the SPD. He turned down offers to remain in Revel; the family pushed back to Braunschweig.

With the support of Karl Mössinger, Rodenstein initially traveled alone to Germany after the end of World War II to clarify the requirements for family reunification. From Braunschweig he then returned to Revel to pick up his wife and daughter again with the support of Mössinger. At the end of September 1945, the final farewell to Revel began. “On October 3, 1945 we arrived in Braunschweig in the evening. The chapter on emigration was closed. "

The time from 1945

Henry Roden stone was set on October 1, 1945 in Braunschweig as a substitute teacher and at the same time as a lecturer in civics in teacher education at the Kant High School , which later became Pedagogical University Braunschweig , seconded. On February 1, 1946, he was reappointed to the civil service for life and appointed principal school rector. This was followed on April 1, 1947, when he was promoted to the faculty member and lecturer at the Kanthochschule. On March 16, 1948 he was appointed professor.

In 1947, a general German teachers' association for the British occupation zone was founded in Detmold, and Rodenstein became its second chairman. The association was merged into the GEW in 1948, which in turn became a member of the German Trade Union Federation (DGB). Heinrich Rodenstein was chairman of the GEW from 1960 to 1968.

From May 17, 1948 to September 30, 1955, Rodenstein was director of the Kanthochschule . He was also involved in international trade union work. From 1955 to 1957 he was President of the International Federation of Elementary School Teachers ' Associations (FIAI - IFTA) and from 1966 to 1972 President of the International Trade Secretariat of Teachers in the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions .

Heinrich Rodenstein retired on September 1, 1968.

In 1977 he was made an honorary citizen of the city of Braunschweig .

Heinrich Rodenstein Fund

The Heinrich-Rodenstein-Fonds of the GEW aims to help teachers around the world "who are in need for political reasons or because of humanitarian catastrophes".

Works (selection)

  • The utopians. Limbach, Braunschweig 1949, DNB 454067909 .
  • Principles of the reform of the German education system. Working Group of German Teachers' Associations, Celle 1952, DNB 454067844 .
  • Upbringing determines our fate. Presentation. Working group of German teachers' associations, 1958, DNB 365753483
  • Economy, work, teacher training. Schroedel, Hanover 1967, DNB 458669164 .


  • Homepage Heinrich Rodenstein . Heinrich Rodenstein's private and political life is documented in detail on the website, although his wife Marta only plays a minor role. The negative sides of exile are also only hinted at. “Rodenstein consciously incorporated the exile experiences as a positive component, as valuable political experience in his résumé; He largely ignored stressful, fearful situations. [..] There is also a gender-specific component that Rodenstein only briefly indicated; while the male émigrés took care of politics, the women were busy taking care of their daily bread. Grete Ebeling, a former Braunschweig teacher student and SAP member, who had also emigrated to France via Saarland with her husband, cleaned the vegetarian restaurant in which Marta Rodenst also worked, while her husband wrote articles for the emigrant newspaper. "


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f biography of Heinrich Rodenstein
  2. ^ Günter Wiemann: Hans Löhr and Hans Koch - political hikes , Vitamine-Verlag, Braunschweig, 2011, ISBN 978-3-00-033763-5 , p. 31
  3. ^ Manfred Heinemann: From Studium Generale to university reform. Akademie Verlag 1996, p. 3.
  4. ^ Heinrich Rodenstein: Saar area
  5. Bernhild Vögel: Dismissed, persecuted, returned , p. 80
  6. a b c d e f g h Homepage Heinrich Rodenstein
  7. ^ Antje Dertinger: The three exiles of Erich Lewinski, Gerlingen 1995, p. 103.
  8. ^ Antje Dertinger: The three exiles of Erich Lewinski, Gerlingen 1995, p. 104.
  9. Heinrich Rodesntein: First return to Brunswick
  10. ^ Heinrich Rodenstein: return with family
  11. Bernhild Vögel: Dismissed, persecuted, returned , p. 86