Kurt Biedenkopf

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Kurt Biedenkopf (2010)

Kurt Biedenkopf, Hans (* 28. January 1930 in Ludwigshafen on the Rhine , † 12. August 2021 in Dresden ) was a German lawyer , university professor and politician of the CDU . From 1990 to 2002 he was the first Prime Minister of the Free State of Saxony after German reunification .

In addition, Biedenkopf was involved in the board of the German National Foundation and was its honorary senator until his death. In 1993 he was awarded the Hans Böckler Prize of the DGB for his political and social merits .


Kurt and Ingrid Biedenkopf (2010)

Kurt Biedenkopf was born in Ludwigshafen in 1930 as the son of the technical director of the Buna-Werke , Wilhelm Biedenkopf from Chemnitz .

In 1938 his family moved to Schkopau near Merseburg , where he attended high school until 1945 . Before the region was handed over to the Red Army , the family, like 24 other families of specialists from the Buna plant, was evacuated by the Americans to Hesse , where he attended today's Max-Planck-Gymnasium in Groß-Umstadt from 1945 and in 1949 the Graduated from high school .

Biedenkopf has four children from their first marriage, which divorced in 1978. His son Sebastian is chief lawyer at Bosch , his daughter Susanne Biedenkopf-Kürten is editor-in-chief at ZDF and is married to Stefan Kürten . In 1979 Biedenkopf married Ingrid Kuhbier , who was also divorced , a daughter of the industrialist Fritz Ries (1907–1977). You lived in Übersee (Chiemgau) from 2012 to 2018 , then in Dresden. In his spare time, Biedenkopf was interested in model railways . Kurt Biedenkopf died on August 12, 2021 at the age of 91 in Dresden.

Education and professional career

Kurt Biedenkopf (1973)

From 1949 to 1950, Biedenkopf studied political science for a year at Davidson College , North Carolina , USA . He then studied law in Munich , later law and economics at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main . There he got the work Contractual Restraint of Competition and Economic Constitution. The exclusivity clause as an example 1958 Doctor of Law doctorate .

In 1960 he passed the second state examination in law after the first in 1955. After a Master of Laws (LL.M) at Georgetown University , Washington, DC , USA, and study and research stays at Georgetown University , he completed his habilitation in 1963 in Frankfurt am Main in civil law, commercial, economic and labor law. From 1967 to 1969, Biedenkopf was rector of the Ruhr University in Bochum , where he had previously been a full professor since 1964 .

Between 1968 and 1970 he chaired the Codetermination Commission . This committee of experts, later called the Biedenkopf Commission , examined the "further shaping of co-determination " on behalf of the CDU / CSU parliamentary group . In 1972 the Works Constitution Act and in 1976 the Co-Determination Act, which regulates the operational and entrepreneurial co-determination of the workforce in corporations, was passed. This task was followed by membership in the central management of the Henkel Group in Düsseldorf from 1971 to 1973 .

In 1990 he was briefly professor of economics at the University of Leipzig . From October 2005 he was appointed by the then Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder as chairman of a commission for the reform of corporate co -determination, the final report of which he presented to Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel in December 2006 .

Political career

Kurt Biedenkopf with his wife Ingrid after winning the state election in October 1990
Biedenkopf cabinet 1990; fifth from the right: Kurt Biedenkopf

In the seventies, Biedenkopf was considered a close confidante of CDU chairman Helmut Kohl . From 1973 to 1977 Biedenkopf was Secretary General of the CDU and was a member of the German Bundestag from 1976 to 1980. His above-average salary as general secretary was partly financed by the CDU's black coffers. He resigned from party office due to differences of opinion with Helmut Kohl.

From 1977 to 1986 he was chairman of the CDU regional association of Westphalia-Lippe , and then until 1987 chairman of the CDU regional association of North Rhine-Westphalia . When the CDU top candidate for the state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia , Heinrich Köppler , died three weeks before the ballot box in the spring of 1980 , Biedenkopf took over the top candidacy of the CDU at short notice , but was unable to prevail against Prime Minister Johannes Rau .

In 1984 Biedenkopf was traded as a candidate for the office of President of the European Commission . Gaston Thorn's successor , however, was Jacques Delors . In December 1994 he was the first German politician to take part in an online chat.

In 1987 he resigned the state chairmanship of the NRW CDU in favor of Norbert Blüms . With the resignation of the mandate won in 1980 in the North Rhine-Westphalian state parliament in 1988, he withdrew from daily politics. With the reunification, Biedenkopf returned to politics and stood in the Saxon state election on October 14, 1990 as the CDU top candidate. The Saxon CDU achieved an absolute majority of 53.8 percent. Biedenkopf became Prime Minister of the Free State of Saxony and remained so until January 2002. He was a member of the state parliament until the 2004 state elections . From 1991 to 1995 he was also the CDU state chairman in Saxony. In the state elections in 1994 and 1999 , the Saxon CDU expanded its absolute majority. From November 1, 1999 to October 31, 2000, Biedenkopf was President of the Federal Council on a rotating basis .

After Wolfgang Schäuble resigned as CDU chairman in February 2000, Biedenkopf was briefly discussed as a transitional party leader. Due to increasing criticism of his management style and a number of affairs (e.g. Paunsdorf Center affair, rental affair), Biedenkopf declared his resignation as Prime Minister on April 18, 2002. His successor, against Biedenkopf's will, was the then CDU State chairman Georg Milbradt elected, who was able to defend the office in the 2004 state elections .

Together with Meinhard Miegel , Biedenkopf was on the board of the Institute for Economics and Society . V. in Bonn. Together with Rudolf Bahro , he initiated and supported the development of the socio-ecological future research experiment LebensGut in Pommritz in the 1990s . From 2003 to 2006 he was founding president of Dresden International University . He was chairman of the board of trustees of the Hertie School of Governance and the Senate of the German National Foundation , which was founded in 1993 by Helmut Schmidt together with him and other friends; he was also a member of the international Salzburg seminar . He was chairman of the supervisory board of the Staatliche Porzellanmanufaktur Meissen GmbH .

Biedenkopf repeated his controversial statement from 2000 about the alleged immunity of the Saxons against right-wing radicalism in a conversation with Martin Machowecz of the weekly newspaper Die Zeit in 2017 on the “ AfD triumph in Saxony” : “I said that the Saxons are immune to it Right-wing radicalism. That is still my opinion today. "


Beside and after politics

Kurt Biedenkopf, 1996

Biedenkopf was closely associated with the Bertelsmann Stiftung as a consultant and speaker. From 1983 he was a member of the newly created advisory board. From 1987 to 1990 he was chairman of the supervisory body. During this time, among other things, the Carl Bertelsmann Prize was awarded for the first time, which is now continued as the Reinhard Mohn Prize. Biedenkopf was also involved in projects on European integration and the social market economy .

Since January 2011, Biedenkopf has held a three-year research professorship at the Berlin Science Center for Social Research . His subject of research was the performance of European democracies in the face of demographic change . The project ended in 2015. In July 2011, two days before the vote, he asked the Federal Council to reject the nuclear phase-out law .

Biedenkopf's diaries

The Free State of Saxony supported the publication of Biedenkopf's diaries in 2015 with 307,900 euros, which were paid to the CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation . The three volumes refer to the years 1989 to 1994. The question of the official client is controversial. According to Biedenkopf, publication was suggested by the then Prime Minister Stanislaw Tillich , who did not confirm this.

His responsibility in this matter was settled in court; The administrative process ended in March 2017 with the finding that the statements of the state government were complete and that Tillich's role had thus been adequately answered. The publication was also only sold in very small numbers, but there were further four-digit costs for book presentations and promotional parties in Berlin and Prague.



  • Limits to collective bargaining autonomy. CF Müller publishing house, Karlsruhe 1964.
  • Progress in freedom. Outline of a political strategy. R. Piper & Co. Verlag, Munich 1974, ISBN 3-492-02095-X .
  • The New Social Question and the Social Market Economy. In: Politics and Culture. Issue 3/1976, Colloquium Verlag, Berlin, ISSN  0340-5869 , p. 10 ff.
  • The new way of looking at things. Plea for a free economic and social order. 1985
  • Time signals. Party landscape in upheaval. Bertelsmann Verlag, Munich 1990, ISBN 3-442-11696-1 . (Goldmann Taschenbuch 11696)
  • with Joseph Nye and Motoo Shiina: Global Competition After the Cold War. A Reassessment of Trilateralism. The Trilateral Commission, New York 1991, ISBN 0-930503-67-8 .
  • Unity and renewal: Germany after the upheaval in Europe. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt GmbH, Stuttgart 1994, ISBN 3-421-06696-5 .
  • A German diary 1989–1990. Siedler Verlag, 2000.
  • The exploitation of the grandchildren. Plea for a return to common sense. Propylaea, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-549-07292-9 .
  • Kurt Biedenkopf, Ralf Dahrendorf , Erich Fromm , Maik Hosang (eds.), Petra Kelly and others: Climate change and basic income. The coincidental simultaneity of both topics and a socio-ecological experiment. Andreas Mascha Verlag, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-924404-73-4 .
  • We have a choice. Freedom or father state. Propylaen Verlag, Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-549-07375-9 .
  • From Bonn to Dresden. From my diary June 1989 – November 1990. Siedler-Verlag, Munich 2015, ISBN 978-3-8275-0077-9 .
  • A new country is emerging. From my diary November 1990 – August 1992. Siedler-Verlag, Munich 2015, ISBN 978-3-8275-0072-4 .
  • Struggle for inner unity. From my diary August 1992 – September 1994. Siedler-Verlag, Munich 2015, ISBN 978-3-8275-0073-1 .


  • Michael Bartsch : The Biedenkopf system. The court state of Saxony and its good subjects or: how democracy came to the dog in Saxony. A report. Edition Ost, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-360-01029-9 .
  • Ulrich Brümmer: Parties and elections in Saxony. Continuity and change from 1990 to 2005. Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden 2006, ISBN 3-531-14835-4 .
  • Horst-Udo Niedenhoff: Codetermination in the Federal Republic of Germany. Deutscher Instituts-Verlag, Cologne 1989, ISBN 3-602-14245-0 .
  • My Freedom - Stories from Germany , pp. 128-134: Kurt Biedenkopf , Kathrin Höhne / Maren Martell, publisher: epubli GmbH, Berlin 2014, ISBN 978-3-7375-0615-1 .

Web links

Commons : Kurt Biedenkopf  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Committees. German National Foundation, accessed on August 3, 2021 .
  2. Program: 1275 years Groß-Umstadt , festival program 10.-19. August 2018, p. 10 , website of the city of Groß-Umstadt, (PDF file, 5.2 kB); accessed on August 3, 2018.
  3. https://presseportal.zdf.de/biografie/Person/susanne-biedenkopf-kuerten/ Susanne Biedenkopf-Kürten at the ZDF press portal
  4. CDU politician Kurt Biedenkopf has died. In: n-tv.de from August 13, 2021, accessed on August 13, 2021.
  5. Achim Schwarze: Thin board drill in Bonn - From the dissertations of our elite. Eichborn-Verlag Frankfurt / Main 1984, p. 108.
  6. Biography of Prof. Dr. Kurt Biedenkopf
  7. Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies (PDF; 254 kB)
  8. Video "Bimbes - the slush funds of Helmut Kohl" - Reportage & documentation. In: The first. December 5, 2017, accessed February 3, 2018 .
  9. Bad cards . In: Der Spiegel 27/1984 of July 2, 1984.
  10. How Readers' Opinion Got onto the Internet. In: zeit.de , June 6, 2015.
  11. CDU in Saxony: "Kurt, that wouldn't have happened to you!" Interview: Martin Machowecz, In: Die Zeit , October 5, 2017.
  12. In principle Gütersloh. In: Süddeutsche. July 1, 2010, accessed August 3, 2021 .
  13. ^ Thomas Schuler: Bertelsmann Republik Deutschland: A foundation makes politics. Campus Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2010, ISBN 978-3-593-39097-0 , p. 88, 97, 104 ff .
  14. Chronicle. Bertelsmann Stiftung, accessed on May 15, 2020 .
  15. Personal details . In: Handelsblatt . September 11, 1987, p. 22 .
  16. ^ Carl Bertelsmann Prize: Biedenkopf honors parties to collective bargaining agreements . Collective bargaining autonomy is of greater importance in the implementation of the EC internal market. In: Handelsblatt . April 18, 1988, p. 5 .
  17. Kurt Biedenkopf becomes research professor. Science Center Berlin for Social Research, January 5, 2011, accessed on May 15, 2020 (press release).
  18. ^ Structural problems of free political orders. Berlin Science Center for Social Research, accessed on January 17, 2021 (press release).
  19. CDU veteran Biedenkopf tears apart Merkel's energy transition. on: spiegel.de July 6, 2011.
  20. Saxony pays over 300,000 euros for Biedenkopf's diaries. In: Spiegel Online , October 9, 2015, accessed April 8, 2016.
  21. Sergej Lochthofen: Saxony's construction history - without neo-Nazis. In: Deutschlandradio Kultur , January 2, 2016, accessed on April 8, 2016.
  22. Doreen Reinhard: Kurt Biedenkopf Diaries: Today a King . In: The time . No. 05/2017 ( online ).
  23. http://www.lvz.de/Mitteldeutschland/News/Biedenkopf-Memoiren-Auskuenfte-nach-bestem-Wissen-vollstaendig
  24. http://www.faz.net/aktuell/politik/inland/veroeffnahmung-von-kurt-biedenkopfs-tagebuechern-14946859-p2.html
  25. List of all decorations awarded by the Federal President for services to the Republic of Austria from 1952. (PDF; 6.9 MB) www.parlament.gv.at, April 23, 2012, p. 904 , accessed on June 15, 2014 .
  26. Trade union federation honors Kurt Biedenkopf . In: Stuttgarter Zeitung . November 3, 1993, p. 1 .
  27. Lothar Heinke: "Three of us" at the front of the "hen" . In: Tagesspiegel . September 13, 1996.
  28. Bearer of the Saxon Order of Merit. sachsen.de, archived from the original on April 11, 2013 ; accessed on June 15, 2014 .
  29. European Craft Prize. North Rhine-Westphalian Crafts Day e. V., accessed on March 10, 2015 .
  30. Kurt Biedenkopf is an honorary citizen of the city of Gröditz. t-online.de, December 9, 2011, accessed June 15, 2014 .
  31. Badge of Honor. Oskar Patzelt Foundation, accessed on June 15, 2014 .
  32. Prime Minister Armin Laschet awards the Order of Merit of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia to Gerhart Baum, Kurt Biedenkopf, Birgit Fischer and Reiner Priggen , press release of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia from August 23, 2017
  33. Andreas Debski: "That is something very special" - Leipzig University honors Biedenkopf. In: LVZ.de. Leipziger Volkszeitung , April 28, 2021, accessed on April 29, 2021 .