Josef Miller (politician, 1883)

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Josef (Sepp) Miller (born August 27, 1883 in Scheppach ; † March 24, 1964 in Berlin ) was a German politician (KPD).


Miller came from a small Catholic farming family. He attended elementary school in Scheppach from 1889 to 1896 , then a continuing education school and then evening school. From 1897 to 1900 Miller learned the locksmith trade in Augsburg . He then went on a hike and then settled in Bremen , where he worked at various shipyards. In 1907 he joined the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). In the same year he joined the union. In 1912 he passed the master craftsman examination. In 1913 he was released after a shipyard workers' strike. During the First World War he worked again at a Bremen shipyard, AG Weser .

In Bremen he married Wilhelmine Minna Ruth (* 31 March 1888 in Langendiebach ; † 3. April 1963 in Burgdorf) with whom he had two children: Hanna (* 1908) and Lorenz (* 1918), but which in the Second World War at 22 December 1939 fell. His daughter Hanna (now married to Elling) worked in a Berlin resistance movement and was in Moringen concentration camp in 1933/34 ; she processed this in a book Women in German Resistance, 1933-1945 on this topic. Miller later divorced Wilhelmine Minna Ruth.

From the end of 1918 Miller belonged to the Communist Party of Germany (KPD). After he had become involved in the short-lived Bremen Soviet Republic , he moved into the Bremen National Assembly in March 1919 and from 1920 into the Bremen citizenship , to which he belonged until 1923 - from 1921 as parliamentary group chairman. As head of the metal workers' association in Bremen, he became a full-time trade union secretary, and from 1920 to 1921, following Karl Jannack, he was the local secretary of the KPD in Bremen. In 1921 he took over the post of secretary for the Lower Saxony district. At the same time he acted as head of the workers' press in Hanover. At the Leipzig party congress of the KPD in 1923 he was elected a member of the central committee. In the same year he joined the Central Association of Employees .

After the group around Iwan Katz was excluded from the party , Miller was the leading KPD functionary in Lower Saxony. Accordingly, he moved up to the position of leader of the communist faction in the city council of Hanover . He also became a member of the provincial parliament and was active in the Central Association of Employees from 1923. From late autumn 1923 to March 1924 Miller was taken into protective custody for four months due to his political activities, which he spent in Munster .

From 1928 to 1930 Miller was a member of the Berlin Reichstag as a member of constituency 16 (South Hanover-Braunschweig) . During the great course dispute of his party in 1928/29 Miller joined the group of Compromisers and opposed the line of the Central Committee. In the spring of 1930 he gave up his resistance and took over the post of secretary in the Central Secretariat of Red Aid Germany (RHD). In 1932 he became the head of the RHD organization. He also became a member of the Presidium of the IRH .

Miller emigrated in July 1933 . First he lived for four months as an IRH instructor in Great Britain, then from December 1933 to April 1934 in Vienna . He then worked in the Netherlands for three months before taking on the management of RHD in the metropolises of Paris and Prague. In Paris he worked with his niece Charlotte Luise Therese Miller (born October 3, 1910 in Berlin; † October 22, 2005 ibid.), Whom he then married after he had divorced; this marriage remained childless - probably because of the close family ties. She was a trained stenographer who had belonged to the KPD since late 1932 and had worked for the party underground for several years before she fled to France in the spring of 1935. Until 1939 Miller worked in the Czech organization Solidarity in Prague . After the " smashing of the rest of Czech Republic " by the German Reich in the spring of 1939 Miller fled to Norway via Poland.

Josef Miller (2nd from left) at the awarding of the Karl Marx Order in 1957

After the Germans occupied Norway in early 1940, he went to Sweden in late April 1940 . There he was held in a detention center until the end of the year. He spent the following years in an open camp in southern Sweden, where he worked as a locksmith again for the first time in years and led the KPD group there. Miller returned to Germany in January 1946. There he became a member of the KPD again and, through the forced unification of the SPD and KPD, a member of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) - and an employee of the Central Committee.

From 1946 to 1954 Miller was a member of the Central Revision Commission of the SED. In addition, he was the main consultant in the personnel policy department of the SED party executive. In 1949 Miller became head of the SED's personnel office. Together with Paul Verner and his wife Irma, he and Charlotte had a weekend house right on Lake Zeesen in Senzig .

After criticizing its work in 1952, he was forced into retirement and appointed director of the Deutsches Museum in Berlin , which had reopened in 1947.


In 1957 he was awarded the Karl Marx Order . After his death in 1964, Miller's urn was buried in the Socialist Memorial at the Friedrichsfelde Central Cemetery in Berlin-Lichtenberg .


Web links

Commons : Josef Miller (KPD)  - Collection of images, videos and audio files