Jakob Kaiser

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Jakob Kaiser, 1950

Jakob Kaiser (born February 8, 1888 in Hammelburg ; † May 7, 1961 in West Berlin ) was a German politician ( center , later CDU ), resistance fighter against National Socialism , chairman of the CDU of the Soviet occupation zone , member of the parliamentary council and from 1949 until 1957 Federal Minister for all German issues .


The bookbinder Jakob Kaiser belonged to the Center Party during the Weimar Republic and was active in the Christian trade union movement. From 1924 he was state manager of the Christian trade unions for the Rhineland and Westphalia and was elected to parliament for the center in the Reichstag election in March 1933 , to which he then belonged until November 1933. On March 23, 1933, Kaiser and his parliamentary group approved the Enabling Act . In 1933 he was in the leadership of the United Unions , who wanted to unite the directional unions in the fight against the National Socialists to form a unified union. In 1934 he joined the resistance movement and worked closely with Wilhelm Leuschner and Max Habermann . He was imprisoned in the Gestapo for several months in 1938 because of the strong suspicion of treason. After 1941 he continued his resistance activity in collaboration with Carl Friedrich Goerdeler and leading men of the military opposition . Kaiser was a leading member of the Cologne Circle . He was able to escape the wave of arrests following the assassination attempt on July 20, 1944 , by fleeing and hiding in a cellar hiding place in Potsdam-Babelsberg . He was the only one who survived from the inner circle of trade union resistance in Berlin. His wife Therese and the older daughter Elisabeth were imprisoned in kin . His wife's siblings were also arrested.

Jakob Kaiser at the party conference of the Eastern CDU in 1947

After the Second World War , Kaiser, along with Andreas Hermes and Joseph Ersing, was one of the founders of the CDU in the Soviet zone of occupation ( SBZ ). He fought unsuccessfully against the ever widening gap between the Soviet Zone and the three western zones and against the transformation of the Eastern CDU into a bloc party .

In the eyes of the victorious powers, Kaiser was the representative of the left in the party. The newspaper The Times called him in 1946 to counterbalance to Konrad Adenauer : "The true leader of the Left in the CDU's Jakob Kaiser, who heads the party in the Russian zone of Berlin. Partly because of his old connection with the Christian trade unions, partly because he has to be active in the Russian zone, Kaiser preaches a non-Marxist socialism, which Adenauer again rejects. Kaiser's influence [in the party] is only momentarily weak; his personality is suitable to make him a future national leader when Germany is a separate state again. "

In December 1947 he and Ernst Lemmer were deposed as chairmen of the Eastern CDU by the Soviet military administration. Even after his move to West Berlin , however, Kaiser was an opponent of the policy of Westbinding of the CDU chairman in the British zone and later Chancellor Konrad Adenauer . Instead, he favored a non-aligned Germany with a bridging function between West and East. With Karl Arnold he also belonged to the group of former Christian trade union leaders who advocated the socialization ( nationalization ) of key industries within the CDU . He is one of the founders of the CDU social committees , of which he was chairman from 1949 to 1958. In the election campaign for the 1953 Bundestag elections , he was the only CDU top politician who openly campaigned for a grand coalition .

Honorary grave of Jakob Kaiser in the forest cemetery in Zehlendorf

In 1948/49 Kaiser was an advisory member of the Parliamentary Council as a representative of the Berlin City Council . Because of the special status of Berlin, he had no voting rights there.

In the first federal election in 1949 , Kaiser ran for a direct mandate in Essen and was elected to parliament with 32.4% of the votes. In 1953 he maintained the constituency with an absolute majority of the first votes. During his membership in the German Bundestag from 1949 to 1957, he held the office of Minister for All-German Issues . He was one of the leading figures of the Kuratorium Indivisible Germany, founded on June 17, 1954 . In his ministerial position, he successfully campaigned for a positive vote in the referendum that made Saarland the tenth federal state of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1957. From 1950 to 1953 and 1956/57 he was a permanent representative of the Federal Cabinet in the Council of Elders of the Bundestag. From 1950 to 1958 he was one of the deputy federal chairmen of the CDU.

Jakob Kaiser suffered a heart attack in 1957; since then he has been partially paralyzed. He died of a weak heart on May 7, 1961 in West Berlin .

Kaiser was buried with a state funeral on May 12 at the Zehlendorf forest cemetery in Berlin-Nikolassee . The grave is one of the honor graves of the State of Berlin .

Kaiser was married to Therese Kaiser, born in 1918. Mohr (1889–1952) and since 1953 with Elfriede Kaiser-Nebgen (1890–1983) and father of two daughters.


See also


  • Jakob Kaiser: trade unionist and patriot. A selection of works , ed. by Tilman Mayer, Bund-Verlag, Cologne 1988.
  • Jakob Kaiser: We have to be bridges. Speeches, statements and essays on Germany policy . Published by Christian Hacke , Verlag Wissenschaft und Politik, Cologne 1988, ISBN 3-8046-8706-7 .


  • Erich Kosthorst: Jakob Kaiser. Der Arbeiterführer , Kohlhammer, Stuttgart a. a. 1967.
  • Elfriede Nebgen: Jakob Kaiser. The resistance fighter , Kohlhammer, Stuttgart a. a. 1967.
  • Werner Conze : Jakob Kaiser, politician between East and West 1945–1949 , Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1969.
  • Erich Kosthorst: Jakob Kaiser. Federal Minister for All-German Issues 1949–1957 , Kohlhammer, Stuttgart a. a. 1972.
  • Werner Conze:  Kaiser, Jakob. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 11, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1977, ISBN 3-428-00192-3 , pp. 41-43 ( digitized version ).
  • Marcel Albert: Jakob Kaiser, politician from Hammelburg, in the German culture of remembrance , in: Mainfränkisches Jahrbuch 60 (2008), pp. 318–335.
  • Helmut Müller-EnbergsKaiser, Jakob . In: Who was who in the GDR? 5th edition. Volume 1. Ch. Links, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-86153-561-4 .
  • Herbert Elzer: Konrad Adenauer, Jakob Kaiser and the "little reunification". The federal ministries in the foreign policy struggle over the Saar 1949–1955 . Röhrig Universitätsverlag, 1st edition, St. Ingbert 2008, ISBN 978-3-86110-445-2 .

Web links

Commons : Jakob Kaiser  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. The Times : Germans Poll To-Morrow. Elections in the British Zone. September 14, 1946, p. 3. Quotation translated from English.
  2. see the book by Herbert Elzer (2008)
  3. Der Spiegel 21/1961: Died
  4. bundesarchiv.de
  5. Jakob-Kaiser-Platz. In: Street name lexicon of the Luisenstädtischer Bildungsverein (near  Kaupert )
  6. ^ History, Politics and Society. Series of publications of the Stiftung Demokratie Saarland eV Vol. 9 ( 1037 pages )