Hilmar Hoffmann

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Hilmar Hoffmann (1989)

Hilmar Hoffmann (born August 25, 1925 in Bremen ; † June 1, 2018 in Frankfurt am Main ) was a German cultural politician and functionary . He was also a trained director ( Folkwang University ) and qualified interpreter for English. Just one and a half years after his return from captivity , he began in 1949 under his motto Culture for All! his career as a founder and initiator of cultural initiatives and institutions, which extends to the end of his life. His outstanding range of pigeon breeding ( Das Taubenbuch , 1982), the adult education center and the Oberhausen Short Film Festival , his 20-year work as the head of the cultural department in Frankfurt am Main, his numerous publications and books, national and international teaching and lecturing activities , and his Time as President of the Goethe Institute (1993–2001) and beyond.


Hilmar Hoffmann, son of Bremer textile merchant Felix Hoffmann, attended 1936-1943 high school in Lünen / Westphalia and Oberhausen , where he attended the then Horst-Wessel School be Notabitur made. At this time, at the age of eighteen, he became a member of the NSDAP on April 1, 1943 ; a week later he began his military service with the paratroopers . In 1944 he was taken prisoner by the Americans in Normandy .

After the end of the war, Hoffmann studied directing at the Folkwang University of Music and Theater in Essen and worked as an assistant director on the stages of the city of Essen.

In 1951 he became the youngest director of an adult education center in Oberhausen , where in 1954 he founded the West German Culture Film Festival (later International Short Film Festival Oberhausen ), which in 1962 became the platform for the Oberhausen Manifesto , in which the protagonists of the "Young German Film" movement (including Alexander Kluge , Edgar Reitz , Peter Schamoni and others) declared “Papas Kino” dead. 1965–1970 he was the city's social and cultural department .

Between 1970 and 1990 he was City Councilor for Culture in Frankfurt am Main and initiated the municipal promotion of independent groups in the field of culture. At the beginning of the 1970s he initiated a participation model at the Frankfurter Schauspiel . One of the first municipal cinemas in Germany was also one of the institutions funded . Facilities such as museums (initiator of the museum bank ), district libraries and socio-cultural centers such as town houses were also important to him . Due to his excellent reputation, the social democrat remained in office when the city government was appointed by the CDU in 1986.

From 1993 to 2001 he was President of the Goethe Institute ( Munich ).

He taught film theory and cultural policy at the universities of Bochum , Frankfurt, as an honorary professor in Marburg, and as a visiting professor in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv . He was also a member of the board of trustees of the Reading Foundation in Mainz , of which he was director for five years. In later years he pleaded for a move away from the ideologically left-wing orientation of socio-cultural work and was increasingly for an emphasis on the “sensuality” of culture. In addition, his proposal caused a sensation to relieve the strained financial situation of state museums by selling archive and depot duplicates.

At the beginning of October 1996 Hoffmann signed the Frankfurt Declaration on the Spelling Reform . “Even the President of the Goethe-Institut, Hilmar Hoffmann, thought a boycott against the spelling reform would make sense,” a report by the Goethe-Institut New York said at the time. As a member of the German PEN center , the Goethe Institute boss Hilmar Hoffmann called on his colleagues to speak out in favor of withdrawing the reform in view of the unbroken rejection in large sections of the population. Finally, at the beginning of October 2004, Hoffmann also signed the Frankfurt appeal for spelling reform.

On behalf of the then Hessian Prime Minister Roland Koch , Hoffmann became chairman of the Hessian Culture Commission in 2001. From 1985 to 2011 he was Chairman of the Board of Directors of the German Film Institute - DIF / German Film Museum in Frankfurt am Main. From 1990 to 2011 he was chairman of the program advisory board of RTL ( Cologne ) and Hit Radio FFH .

Hilmar Hoffmann died on June 1, 2018 in Frankfurt am Main at the age of 92.

honors and awards

Publications (selection)

  • Culture for everyone. Perspectives and models . Frankfurt am Main 1979
  • The pigeon book . Frankfurt am Main 1982
  • "And the flag leads us into eternity - propaganda in Nazi films" . Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag, Frankfurt a. M. 1988, ISBN 3-596-24404-8 .
  • Waiting for the barbarians . Frankfurt am Main 1989
  • Culture as a way of life . Frankfurt am Main 1990
  • The myth of Olympia. The work of Leni Riefenstahl. Berlin 1993.
  • Memories. Suhrkamp, ​​new version, Frankfurt 2003, ISBN 978-3-518-39784-8 .
  • The big Frankfurters . Frankfurt am Main 2004.
  • Life principle culture. Writings and essays. 1957 - 2006. Societäts-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2006, ISBN 978-3-7973-0963-1 .
  • Frankfurt's strong women . Frankfurt am Main 2006; 3rd edition, Societäts Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2014, ISBN 978-3-95542-101-4 .
  • The Frankfurt Museumsufer . Frankfurt am Main 2009, ISBN 978-3-7973-1128-3 .
  • Frankfurt's Lord Mayor 1945–1995. A contribution to the cultural history of the city . Societäts-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2012, ISBN 978-3-942921-66-4 .
  • Generation Hitler Youth. Reflections on a seduction . Axel Dielmann Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2018, ISBN 978-3-86638-229-9 .


  • Claus-Jürgen Göpfert: The cultural politician. Hilmar Hoffmann, Life and Work , Deutsches Filminstitut - DIF eV, Frankfurt am Main, 2015, ISBN 978-3-88799-088-6 .
  • “Culture for everyone”. Hilmar Hoffmann on his 85th birthday , in: Kulturpolitische Mitteilungen . Journal for cultural policy of the cultural political society . Issue 130, III / 2010, Bonn 2010.
  • Wolfgang Schneider (Ed.): Cultural education needs cultural policy. Hilmar Hoffmann's "Culture for Everyone" reloaded. Hildesheim 2010
  • Hilmar Hoffmann , in: Internationales Biographisches Archiv 29/2010 from July 20, 2010, in the Munzinger archive ( beginning of article freely available)
  • Anna Hepp: I'd rather not , short film portrait about Hilmar Hoffmann, 2012.

Web links

Commons : Hilmar Hoffmann  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Claus-Jürgen Göpfert: Hilmar Hoffmann: One who always built bridges. In: Frankfurter Rundschau . June 2, 2018, accessed June 2, 2018 . Hilmar Hoffmann dies: a credible fighter, gifted beggar. In: faz.net . June 2, 2018, accessed June 2, 2018 .
  2. German film institute
  3. ^ Claus-Jürgen Göpfert: Brown past: later shock. In: Frankfurter Rundschau. June 10, 2011, accessed June 2, 2018 .
  4. Board of Trustees. Reading Foundation, accessed May 24, 2016 .
  5. ^ The neglected signatories of the Frankfurt Declaration . In: Munich Declaration on the Spelling Reform . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , November 30, 1996, p. 7
  6. ^ Pedagogical liaison work - information for German teachers: The new German orthography. Goethe Institute New York, archived from the original on January 29, 1997 ; accessed on June 2, 2018 .
  7. ^ Wilm Herlyn: Spelling. dpa boss advocates "customer survey" . In: Der Spiegel No. 32, August 7, 2000, p. 90 - In the opening credits of this Spiegel interview with dpa boss Wilm Herlyn reference is made to the debate triggered by the return of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung to conventional spelling .
  8. Frankfurt's ex-cultural department head Hilmar Hoffmann has died. In: Hessenschau.de. June 2, 2018, accessed June 4, 2018 .
  9. Hilmar Hoffmann and his new work. In: Frankfurter Neue Presse . June 25, 2012, archived from the original on January 13, 2017 ; accessed on June 2, 2018 .
  10. ^ Hessian Culture Prize to Hilmar Hoffmann. In: 3sat broadcast “ Kulturzeit ”. October 4, 2012, archived from the original on February 10, 2013 ; accessed on June 2, 2018 .