Helene Weber

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Helene Weber (1919)
Helene Weber in conversation with Federal President Theodor Heuss in 1959

Helene Weber (born March 17, 1881 in Elberfeld (today in Wuppertal ), † July 25, 1962 in Bonn ) was a German politician of the center and the CDU . She was considered "the most influential woman in the Union". She became known as a Catholic women's rights activist, from whom - the statement related to wars - often quoted comes: “The pure male state is the ruin of the peoples.” She is one of the four “ Mothers of the Basic Law ” and has the sentence “Men and women are equal ”in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Life and work

After completing secondary school at the daughter's school in Elberfeld, Helene Weber attended the teachers' seminar in Aachen from 1897 to 1900 . After several years of teaching in Haaren and Elberfeld, she studied history, philosophy and Romance studies in Bonn and Grenoble from 1905 to 1909 . There she joined the Hilaritas student association. She then went back to school as a teacher and taught at the Lyceum in Bochum and from 1911 in Cologne . She became a member of the central board of the Catholic German Women's Association and first chairwoman of the Association of Catholic Social Workers in Germany . From 1918 she was the head of the Aachen Social Women's School , which was originally founded by the Catholic German Women's Association in Cologne and which later became a department in Aachen, which in turn became the nucleus for the Catholic University of North Rhine-Westphalia that followed. In 1920 Weber became a ministerial councilor (“ lecturing council ”) in the Prussian Ministry for People's Welfare , where she headed the “Social Education” department. She was the first female ministerial advisor in Prussia. After the seizure of power of the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) she was transferred on 30 June 1933 for political reasons to retire and then worked in the voluntary welfare organizations.

After the Second World War , she took over the chairmanship of the Federal Association of Catholic Welfare Women in Germany and was again deputy chairwoman of the Catholic Women's Association. After Elly Heuss-Knapp's death , she was chairwoman of the maternal recovery organization from 1952 to 1959 .

Political party

In the Weimar Republic Weber belonged to the center. In 1945 she took part in the development of the CDU. In 1948 she was co-founder of the CDU / CSU women's working group , a forerunner of today's Women's Union . From 1951 to 1958 she was chairwoman of the Women's Union.


As a member of the Weimar National Assembly , she was involved in the development of the Weimar Constitution in 1919/20 . From 1921 to 1924 she was a member of the state parliament in Prussia and then from May 1924 to 1933 a member of the Reichstag . In March 1933, together with the former Chancellor Heinrich Brüning, she was one of the minority of Center MPs who spoke out against Hitler's Enabling Act . Ultimately, however, she bowed to pressure from her parliamentary group in the Reichstag and approved the law, which paved the NSDAP 's decisive step towards power.

After the Second World War she was appointed to both appointed state parliaments of North Rhine-Westphalia . In 1947/48 Helene Weber was a member of the zone advisory board for the British zone of occupation . In 1948 she was elected to the Parliamentary Council as CDU representative in order to be one of four women involved in the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany , where she was a member of the Presidium as secretary. She is thus one of the “ mothers of the Basic Law ” and has supported the sentence “Men and women have equal rights” in the constitution.

From 1949 until her death she was a member of the German Bundestag , where she represented the constituency of Aachen-Stadt in 1949 and 1953 . Then she moved into parliament via the state list . In 1961 Helene Weber was the third oldest member of the Bundestag after Konrad Adenauer and Robert Pferdmenges .

She persistently urged Chancellor Adenauer to put at least one ministry in charge of a woman. This happened in 1961: Elisabeth Schwarzhaupt became a member of the cabinet.

Helene Weber was also a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe from 1950 to 1962 .


Helene Weber
1969 stamp from the block 50 years of women's suffrage in Germany

In 1929 Helene Weber received the papal cross of honor Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice . In 1930 she was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Political Science Faculty of the University of Münster . In 1956 she was awarded the Great Cross of Merit with Star of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany ; five years later, the shoulder ribbon for the Great Cross of Merit with a Star followed.

Numerous educational institutions are named after Helene Weber, such as the Helene Weber Vocational College in Paderborn , the Frauenbundhaus Berlin and the Catholic family education centers Helene Weber House in Stolberg (with branches and course locations in the Aachen city region ), Gelsenkirchen and Fulda . The commercial and social care school in Bad Saulgau was also named after her.

There has also been the Helene Weber Prize since 2009 . The award announced by the Federal Ministry for Families, Seniors, Women and Youth is intended to promote the political commitment of women at the local level.

Streets that are named after Helene Weber


  • Understanding for today's youth. In: Bayerische Gemeinde- und Verwaltungszeitung, year 1927, page 385 ff.
  • The profession of social worker. In: Hermann Geib (Ed.), Yearbook for Social Policy , Leipzig 1930, pages 172–177.


Web links

Commons : Helene Weber  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Die Zeit from October 18, 2018, p. 18 history, "We too!", On the history of the right to vote by Hedwig Richter
  2. German History, Basic Law and Parlementary Council, Helene Weber , website Federal Agency for Civic Education
  3. A female lecturing council. In:  Viennese latest news. Sunday and Monday newspaper / Viennese latest news. Independent Monday newspaper / Viennese latest news. Independent organ / Vienna Latest News. Monday morning sheet / New Monday sheet / New Monday sheet. Sport vom Sonntag / Wiener Montagblatt. Sport from Sunday , August 16, 1920, p. 5 (online at ANNO ).Template: ANNO / Maintenance / wnm
  4. ^ Official retirement in Prussia. In:  Neues Wiener Journal , September 9, 1933, p. 2 (online at ANNO ).Template: ANNO / Maintenance / nwj
  5. ^ Helene Weber at the state parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia