Johannes Schmidt-Wodder

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Pastor Johannes Schmidt-Wodder around 1925

Johannes Carl Schmidt called Schmidt-Wodder (born June 9, 1869 in Tondern , Tondern district , Schleswig-Holstein province ; † November 13, 1959 in Tørsbøl , Åbenrå Amt , Denmark ) was a politician and representative of the German minority in Denmark .


Johannes Schmidt was born in Tondern as the son of an Evangelical Lutheran pastor. His father took over the pastoral office in Schwenstrup on Alsen in 1871 , where Johannes Schmidt spent his childhood. After visiting the Johanneum in Hadersleben , he studied theology at the Universities of Leipzig and Greifswald . There he became a member of the Kyffhäuser Association . He passed his exam at the Christian Albrechts University in Kiel . He then took over a pastor's office in Wodder , then a small border village on the Königsau , whose middle and upper reaches determined the dividing line between Schleswig-Holstein and Denmark for centuries . To distinguish his brother, who also worked as a pastor in North Schleswig , he adopted the double name Schmidt-Wodder at this time.

In 1909 he founded the Association for German Peace Work in the Nordmark . Schmidt-Wodder wanted to make a contribution to understanding and to reduce tensions that had built up among Danish nationalists after the German-Danish War in 1864 . The association recognized the culture and the right of home of both parts of the population, although its influence with only 405 members appeared to be minor. However, it was almost exclusively teachers and pastors who taught or preached in both languages ​​in several hundred parishes, schools and churches in the then sparsely populated north of Schleswig-Holstein in accordance with their association's goals.

In contrast, the Danish Social Democrats in particular, under the leadership of Hans Peter Hanssen, intended to revise the Peace Treaty of Vienna . Although Denmark was neutral and not involved in hostilities with Germany, the Danish Social Democrats saw the time as a good time to demand the cession of the former Duchy of Schleswig from Germany at the end of the First World War . The Danish Reichstag communicated this position to the Allies on October 23, 1918 - around two weeks after the German government sent a note to President Woodrow Wilson asking for ceasefire negotiations.

In order to avert the loss of Schleswig, the German committee for the Duchy of Schleswig was founded on October 31, 1918 , in which Johannes Schmidt-Wodder was a leader until 1920. In their argumentation, the committee representatives referred to the Treaty of Ripen , which, in their opinion, laid down the indivisibility of Schleswig-Holstein since 1460 under the sentenceup eternally ungedled ”. Ultimately, the victorious powers agreed in Versailles to cede Schleswig to Denmark on the basis of a referendum . Due to the low chances of success (with a vote in the whole of Schleswig up to the Eider ), the Danish government immediately reduced its territorial claims to a line between Tondern and Flensburg . The Danish government was allowed to define the electoral modalities alone.

The result of the vote led to strong criticism on the German side, in addition to the dissatisfaction with the electoral mode itself, especially in the regions around Tondern, Sonderburg and Aabenraa, which had a clear majority for Germany . Northern Schleswig was ceded to Denmark on June 15, 1920. This created the German minority in Denmark , as its representative Johannes Schmidt-Wodder was able to assert himself for almost two decades. Initially, the German language was banned in schools and churches, whereupon the German population immediately organized and founded the Schleswig voters' association in Tingleff on August 18, 1920, chaired by Schmidt-Wodder. Shortly afterwards, the association was renamed the Schleswig Party . The Danish government allowed this minority party to participate in the Folketing election on September 21, 1920, in which it was able to win a mandate. Schmidt-Wodder was the only German MP in the Danish Parliament until 1939.

In 1921 he received an honorary doctorate from the theological faculty of the Christian Albrechts University in Kiel. Schmidt-Wodder represented the German minority in Denmark from 1922 to 1939 in the Association of German Minorities in Europe and from 1925 to 1938 as a permanent delegate in the European Nationalities Congress . In addition to the chairmen of German-speaking minorities in Hungary ( Jakob Bleyer ), Romania ( Rudolf Brandsch ) and Latvia ( Paul Schiemann ), he published the specialist journal Nation und Staat from 1927 to 1933 as co-editor .

Although Schmidt-Wodder was not a National Socialist, he welcomed Hitler's takeover of power in 1934 in a publication entitled Germany yesterday and today . With this statement he very probably wanted to counter the internal disputes in the Schleswig party. Basically, he was not a supporter of the National Socialist politics of nationality , but since the founding of the European Nationalities Congress he was considered a proponent of the "idea of ​​a Europe without conflict between nationality and ethnicity". There were no National Socialist associations in North Schleswig until the summer of 1933. It was not until October 1933 that the National Socialist Working Group North Schleswig (NSAN) , which was controlled from Schleswig-Holstein, raised a claim to power that threatened the unity of the German ethnic group in Denmark that Schmidt-Wodder had created .

At the end of 1934, the NSDAP leadership in Schleswig-Holstein appointed Hans Boysen Jepsen as ethnic group leader of the North Schleswig-Holstein , while fierce resistance arose in the ranks of the German minority in Denmark. In addition, there was disagreement between the competing National Socialist groups, so that Schmidt-Wodder was able to assert himself again as chairman of the Schleswig party in early 1935 in a re-election. Still, his time was up. The National Socialists considered him old-fashioned and conservative because of his basic Christian attitude. Schmidt-Wodder saw himself as a Schleswig-Holsteiner who, on the one hand, viewed the demarcation of 1920 as the division of Schleswig-Holstein and therefore could not accept it, and on the other hand always pursued a policy aimed at compensation, not escalation. In 1938 Jens Möller was appointed leader of the ethnic group, who replaced Schmidt-Wodder in 1939 as chairman of the Schleswig party and as a member of the Folketing.

Schmidt-Wodder then withdrew completely from politics by 1945. After the Second World War he initiated steps to rebuild the German minority representation in Denmark. The 76-year-old was arrested on February 15, 1946. He was accused of "damaging the country". The three-week prison stay in Sønderborg was followed by proceedings that were discontinued after a year and a half. He wrote publications on the minority situation in Europe well into old age. On his 90th birthday he received a message of greeting signed by 2,600 people from northern Schleswig. Johannes Schmidt-Wodder died on November 13, 1959 on Petersholm, his family seat near Tørsbøl (Törsbüll, North Schleswig).

Fonts (selection)

  • The right of peoples to self-determination in its effect on spiritual life in church and school , Braumüller Vienna, 1919.
  • The German Nordmark. in: German politics. A national handbook. Frankfurt a. M., 1926.
  • German front. Organ for the collection of the Germans in North Schleswig. Tønder, 1934.
  • Germany yesterday and today. Braumüller Vienna and Leipzig, 1934.
  • Fate, Mission and Faith of the Nordmark. Thoughts on the career of Schleswig-Holstein. Wolfshagen, 1937.
  • The national wrestling in North Schleswig. What has been achieved and what needs to be done. A word for reflection. Tondern, 1939.
  • Decision. Bär and Bartosch Freiburg / Br., 1940.
  • Human to human in a frontier community. Aabenraa, 1948.
  • About the existence of the German people and the construction of Europe. Aabenraa, 1949.
  • From Wodder to Copenhagen, from Germany to Europe. My political career . Flensburg, 1951 (autobiography).
  • Home and Europe. in: Current sheets, 55th year, 1953.
  • Home and family. The sources of power in Europe, Wolfshagen 1955.


  • Karl Alnor : Johannes Schmidt-Wodder. A contribution to the history of North Schleswig and to the development of the relationship between people and state . Wachholtz, Neumünster 1929.
  • Troels Rasmussen: Den dansk-tyske traktat 1922 , Aabenraa 1996.
  • Sven Tägil: Germany and the German minority in North Schleswig. A study on German border politics 1933–1939 (= Lund Studies in International History Volume 1). Stockholm 1970.
  • Marc Zirlewagen: Johannes Schmidt-Wodder , in: Marc Zirlewagen (Ed.): 1881–2006: 125 Years of Associations of German Students , Vol. 1: A historical review , Pressburg 2006, pp. 242–245.
  • Marc Zirlewagen:  Johannes Schmidt-Wodder. In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL). Volume 24, Bautz, Nordhausen 2005, ISBN 3-88309-247-9 , Sp. 1290-1294.
  • Joachim Kühl : The role of Schmidt-Wodders in the European Nationalities Congress . (= Writings of the local history study group for North Schleswig 9). Local history study group for North Schleswig, Aabenraa-Karpedam 1964, pp. 67–98.


  1. Louis Lange (Ed.): Kyffhäuser Association of German Student Associations. Address book 1931. Berlin 1931, p. 199.
  2. ^ Entry Schmidt-Wodder, Johannes , in Munzinger Online - Internationales Biographisches Archiv, accessed on June 9, 2017.
  3. Information on Græ ( Memento of the original from February 21, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , Digital Encyclopedia Historical Society of Sønderjylland, accessed June 12, 2017.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. Rudolf von Albertini : Europe in the Age of Nation States and European World Politics up to the First World War. Klett-Cotta, 1973, pp. 461-462.
  5. ^ Troels Fink: Germany as a problem of Denmark - the historical prerequisites of Danish foreign policy. Wolff-Verlag Flensburg, 1968, p. 70 f.
  6. ^ Willi Walter Puls: North Schleswig: the separated part of the North Mark. J. Klinkhardt, 1947, p. 60.
  7. Hans Schultz Hansen: The Schleswig and the division. In: Frontiers in the history of Schleswig-Holstein and Denmark, studies on the economic and social history of Schleswig-Holstein, Volume 42, Wachholtz Verlag, 2006, p. 5 f.
  8. Nordschleswig 1840 - 1920 , Society for Schleswig-Holstein History, accessed on June 9, 2017.
  9. ^ Hans Beyer: The role of Schmidt-Wodders in the European Nationalities Congress. In: Heimatkundliche Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Nordschleswig, Issue 9/1964, pp. 67–98.
  10. ^ Peter Hopp: Pastor Johannes Schmidt-Wodder (1869-1959). A research report. In: Grenzfriedenshefte 1/1975, pp. 25–35.
  11. ^ Arnold Weingärtner: Nation and State: a monograph, volumes 17-20. Braumüller, 1979, p. 8 f.
  12. ^ Braumüller Verlagschronik (pdf) , accessed on June 9, 2017.
  13. Tammo Luther: Volkstumsppolitik des Deutschen Reiches 1933-1938: the Germans abroad in the field of tension between traditionalists and national socialists. Franz Steiner Verlag, 2004, 102-103.
  14. Nordschleswig 1840 - 1920 , Society for Schleswig-Holstein History, accessed on June 9, 2017.
  15. Short biography Schmidt-Wodder , Fachhochschule Kiel, accessed on June 9, 2017.
  16. Tammo Luther: Volkstumsppolitik des Deutschen Reiches 1933-1938: the Germans abroad in the field of tension between traditionalists and national socialists. Franz Steiner Verlag, 2004, 102-103.
  17. ^ Journal Society for Schleswig-Holstein History, Volume 129/1984, Karl Wachholtz Verlag, 1984, p. 261.
  18. Ingrid Riese and Peter Jessen Sönnichsen: Through the ages - 75 years of North Schleswig community. Nordschleswigsche Gemeinde Tingleff, 1998, p. 3 f.

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