Paul Löbe

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Paul Löbe (1924)
Paul Löbe, 1930 in Berlin
Postage stamp from 1975 for Löbe's 100th birthday
The Paul-Löbe-Haus as seen from the Federal Chancellery
Löbes grave of honor , Waldfriedhof Zehlendorf Potsdamer Chaussee 75 in Berlin-Nikolassee

Paul Gustav Emil Löbe (born December 14, 1875 in Liegnitz , Silesia , † August 3, 1967 in Bonn ) was a German politician ( SPD ), member of the Reichstag , President of the Reichstag , member of the Bundestag and senior president of the German Bundestag.

Life and work

Löbe was the first of four children of the carpenter Heinrich Löbe (1843–1898) and his wife Pauline geb. Leuschner (1852–1947) to the world. As a boy he already contributed to the family's upkeep as an errand boy delivering newspapers and rolls. Between 1882 and 1890 he attended the evangelical elementary school Dornbusch in Liegnitz and then completed an apprenticeship as a typesetter from 1890 to 1895 in the Krumbhaar printing works, which among other things printed the Liegnitzer Anzeiger . As such, he worked in a printing works in Breslau until December 1898 . In between he traveled to southern Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy and Switzerland. Between November 1891 and April 1892 he published the first article under the pseudonym Alu Pöbel in the social democratic Breslauer Volkswacht , was editor from 1899 and from 1903 to 1919 editor-in-chief of the paper. Because he, as a social democratic editor, took up social grievances and occasionally blamed the authorities for them, he was sentenced several times to imprisonment or fines for “ insulting majesty ” or “inciting class hatred” and other reasons.

Löbe got engaged to Clara Schaller (1879–1964) from Liegnitz between two prison sentences lasting several months and married her in 1901. The marriage resulted in a son. At the First World War Lobe did not participate because he was not drafted because of a lung disease.

Löbe got involved with politicians like Aristide Briand , Edvard Beneš , Ignaz Seipel or Konrad Adenauer in the Paneuropean Union founded in 1922 . At times, Löbe was President of the Paneuropean Union Germany.

On behalf of the SPD, he spoke out in favor of a settlement with Poland . In 1927 he therefore traveled to Warsaw and Lodz for talks with Polish politicians . He told them that the two countries should no longer “fight politically” but “work together economically”. In doing so, he suggested negotiations on controversial border issues, in return the German Reich could offer trade agreements. In Lodz, where Löbe was invited to an anniversary celebration of the local Social Democrats, Polish nationalists demonstrated against the visit. His interlocutors from the Warsaw leadership did not respond to his suggestions either. After the trip he complained about the lack of willingness to compromise on the Polish side.

At the time of the Weimar Republic, Löbe belonged to the Reichsbanner Schwarz-Rot-Gold . On April 26, 1933, Löbe was elected to the party executive committee of the SPD. In the course of Adolf Hitler's so-called peace speech of May 17, 1933, he agreed to the "peace resolution" also submitted by Hitler. On June 19, 1933, it was decided, with Löbe's leading participation, to separate from the SPD's executive committee in exile in Prague; Löbe hoped that this would compromise the Hitler government. Likewise, no more Jewish comrades were elected to the new party executive committee. The National Socialists imprisoned Paul Löbe on June 23, 1933. Until the beginning of July 1933 he was in the Berlin prisons on Alexanderplatz and in Spandau, then in the Breslau-Dürrgoy concentration camp until mid-August , then in the Berlin-Alexanderplatz prison until the end of December. After his release he worked for the scientific publisher Walter de Gruyter . Löbe later received a pension of 600 RM on Hitler's instructions, which was paid out on time until 1945. Although he had contacts with the Goerdeler district , he was only arrested again on August 23 after the assassination attempt on July 20, 1944 , as part of the Gewitter campaign . In the Beck / Goerdeler shadow cabinet , Löbe was scheduled to serve as President of the Reichstag in the event of a successful coup, but the Gestapo officials who questioned were not aware of this. After a short imprisonment in Wroclaw, Löbe was imprisoned in the Groß-Rosen concentration camp and released in the spring of 1945.

He experienced the end of the Second World War in the county of Glatz in Lower Silesia , from where the German inhabitants were expelled after the end of the fighting . In the summer of 1945 Löbe had to leave Silesia. He went to Berlin, lived in the American sector and was involved in the SPD. Löbe remained in the SPD until the end of his life and stood up especially for the concerns of the displaced persons .

In 1945 he became editor of the daily newspaper Das Volk , and later license holder of the telegraph in the British sector of Berlin . From 1949 to 1951 Löbe was the founding president of the German Council of the European Movement . In 1954 he became chairman of the Trustees of Indivisible Germany and remained so until his death. He received a grave of honor from the city of Berlin at the Zehlendorf forest cemetery . The grave is located in Section III U-24.

Political party

Löbe had been a member of the SPD since 1895. In 1898 he founded the SPD local association in Ilmenau . In 1899 he became chairman of the SPD in Central Silesia . As early as 1919/1920 he tried to come to an understanding with the moderate wing of the USPD , which rejoined the SPD in 1922. After Friedrich Ebert's death in 1925, the Reich Executive Committee of the SPD proposed him as a candidate for the presidency. Löbe refused, however, because he saw his place in parliament. In 1932/1933 he was also editor of Vorwärts . In 1933 he was chairman of an elected "Directory" of the domestic SPD for a few days until the party was banned on June 22, 1933. Löbe was arrested and sent to the Breslau-Dürrgoy concentration camp . There he was badly mistreated by SA men .

After the Second World War, Löbe played a key role in the reconstruction of the SPD and became a member of the party's central committee in Berlin . He strictly rejected the compulsory union with the KPD to form the SED in the Soviet occupation zone. He therefore left the central committee of the (East) Berlin SPD and became involved in the SPD of the western sectors , which remained independent. In 1947 he was appointed chairman of the SPD's foreign policy committee.


From 1904 to 1919 Löbe was Wroclaw City Councilor and from 1915 to 1920 a member of the Provincial Parliament of Silesia . In June 1919 he became Vice President of the Weimar National Assembly , and from 1920 to 1933 he was a member of the Reichstag . From 1920 to 1924 (1st electoral term) and from 1925 to 1932 (3rd to 5th electoral term) he was also President of the Reichstag , then from 1932 to 1933 Vice-President (7th electoral term). In 1921 he became a member of the Prussian State Council .

In his office as President of the Reichstag, Löbe found himself increasingly confronted with tumult and disturbances in the Reichstag sessions, especially from October 1930 (5th electoral period), which mostly originated from the factions of the NSDAP and KPD . Löbe met this challenge with a mixture of patience and rigor with regard to regulatory measures against individual MPs.

With the advancement of radio technology, the question arose more and more of the extent to which Reichstag sessions should be broadcast on the radio . In his radio address of October 12, 1930, Löbe advocated a delayed "occasional transmission of particularly important meetings", at which all parliamentary group speakers should appear for about the same length of time. However, the majority of the Reichstag's Council of Elders spoke out against it.

Löbe was a member of the Parliamentary Council in 1948/1949, albeit as a West Berlin deputy who was not entitled to vote, and was deputy chairman of the SPD parliamentary group there. From 1949 bis 1953 Lobe was finally a member of the German Bundestag , where he could be as non selected from Berlin originating deputy because of the Allied reservations by the people but by the House of Representatives of West Berlin delegated as a non-voting delegate to Bonn was. He was the oldest member of parliament and thus the age president of the first German Bundestag; in second place was Konrad Adenauer , who was three weeks younger than him and survived by three and a half months. In his opening speech, Löbe appealed to his compatriots to work for a unified “liberal Germany” that “wants to be the link in a united Europe”.


Göttingen-Weende, Paul-Löbe-Weg

Löbe was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1951 . On December 14, 1955, he received honorary citizenship of the city of Berlin . He was an honorary member of the Free University of Berlin . He was also the bearer of the plaque of honor of the Association of Expellees . In 1960 the Berlin Senate awarded him the Ernst Reuter plaque . On June 9, 1961 in Hanover he was the first to be honored with the Silesian Shield of the Silesian Landsmannschaft .

After Löbe's death, a state ceremony was held in his honor on August 9, 1967 in Schöneberg Town Hall . The coffin was covered with the flag of the Federal Republic of Germany and laid out in the vestibule of the town hall, where the mourners had also gathered. In addition to the family, they also included the representatives of the Federal President, Federal Council President Helmut Lemke . In their speeches, Bundestag President Eugen Gerstenmaier , Federal Chancellor Kiesinger , Governing Mayor Heinrich Albertz and SPD Chairman Willy Brandt praised the work of Paul Löbe. At the same time, Commune I political activists were holding a satirical funeral on John F. Kennedy Square.

After the reunification of Germany and the election of Berlin as the capital, buildings for the Bundestag and its work were also rebuilt along with the government district. Important places were named after Paul Löbe. Directly north of the Bundestag on the other side of Paul-Löbe-Allee is the most important functional building for Parliament, the Paul-Löbe-Haus . The house contains 1700 rooms. These include 275 parliamentary offices, rooms for committees of inquiry and their secretariats and assembly rooms. There is a Paul Löbe School , an integrated secondary school in Berlin-Reinickendorf . In many cities and towns streets are named after Paul Löbe (see Paul Löbe as the namesake of streets ).


  • The Socialist Party of Brazil. In: The New Time . Weekly of the German Social Democracy . 20 Jg. (1901-1902), 2nd volume (1902), issue 17 = 43, pp. 524-530. Digitized FES
  • Attempts at popular education by workers' associations in Silesia. In: Socialist monthly books . 6 = 8. Vol. (1902), No. 10, pp. 796-799. Digitized FES
  • On the reform of the Prussian state organization. In: Socialist monthly books. 13 = 15 Vol. (1909), Issue 261, pp. 1671–1676. Digitized FES
  • Paul Löbe, Hermann Neubacher : The Austrian-German union movement . Unikum Verlag, Wurzen district of Leipzig 1921. (= Unikum special edition No. 21)
  • The Reich Banner Black Red Gold . Contributions by Paul Löbe, among others, purchasing center of the Reichsbanner, Magdeburg 1924. Digitized FES
  • A fanfare after the election battle. Speech by the Reichstag delegate Löbe, go to the German Reichstag on June 5, 1924 . Edited by the party executive of the United SPD. Forward, Berlin 1924.
  • The departure. Republican pamphlets . Founded by the Republican Working Group Ludwig Haas , Paul Löbe, Josef Wirth . Ed .: Josef Wirth. Publishing house of the Republican Union, Frankfurt am Main 1926.
  • Social democratic administrative work in Silesia. An anthology . Edited by Ernst Hamburger . With a foreword by Paul Löbe. Volkswacht printing press, Breslau 1928.
  • Friedrich Ebert and his time. A memorial to the first President of the German Republic . (Introduction by Paul Löbe). Dr. Wilhelm Glass & Co., Stuttgart 1928.
  • Arthur Hoßbach: The significance of the large shipping route Rhine-Main-Danube for the greater German economy . With a foreword by Paul Löbe. back home
  • For the hundredth birthday of Carl Schurz . Ceremonial speeches on the occasion of the celebration in the Reichstag in Berlin on March 3, 1929 . Edited by the Carl Schurz Association. , Sieben Rods-Verlags- und Druckereigesellschaft Berlin, Berlin 1929. (= The exchange booklet 3)
  • The German Reichstag. A brief introduction to his work and organization. Edited by Paul Löbe. calibration center for homeland service, Berlin 1929.
  • The follow-up question in its cultural, political and economic significance . Edited by Friedrich FG Kleinwaechter, Heinz von Paller, Alfred Gürtler. W. Braumüller Universitäts Verlag, Vienna 1930.
  • The dragon Marxism . Ed. Social Democrat. Party of Germany. Publishing company Liegnitzer Volkszeitung, Liegnitz 1930.
  • Socialism yes or no? Representation of our combat goals . JHW Dietz Nachf., Berlin 1932.
  • Memories of a President of the Reichstag. Arani, Berlin-Grunewald 1949.
    • The way was long. Life memories . 2nd, change u. exp. Arani-Verlags-Gesellschaft, Berlin-Grunewald 1954.
  • Present questions of parliamentarism. In: Pros and Cons. Life issues of German politics. Offenbach am Main 1952, pp. 39-48.
  • From parliamentary life. In: Hessian university weeks for further education in political science. Volume 3, 1953, pp. 312-318.
  • Reichstag and Bundestag. Edition of a rediscovered lecture by Paul Löbe from 1951, introduced and edited by by Michael F. Feldkamp , in: Journal for Parliamentary Issues . Volume 38, 2007, pp. 376-400.


  • Arno Scholz and Walther G. Oschilewski (eds.): Living tradition. Paul Löbe on his eightieth birthday on December 14, 1955 . arani publishing company, Berlin 1955.
  • Franz Osterroth : Biographical Lexicon of Socialism . Volume I. Deceased personalities . JHW Dietz Nachf., Hannover 1960, pp. 69, 71, 139, 170, 173, 205, 211, 333, 344.
  • Praise, Paul. In: Wilhelm Kosch : Biographisches Staats Handbuch . Lexicon of politics, press and journalism . Continued by Eugen Kuri. Second volume. A. Francke Verlag, Bern and Munich 1963, pp. 778-779.
  • Wilhelm W. Schütz: The straight way. Paul Löbe and German Unity . Berlin 1966.
  • Arno Scholz and Walther G [eorg] Oschilewski (eds.): A great role model. Paul Löbe in memory . Berlin 1968.
  • R. Knoll: Löbe, Paul Gustav Emil. In: History of the German labor movement. Biographical Lexicon . Berlin 1970, pp. 300-301.
  • Willy Albrecht: The efforts of the Silesian social democrat Paul Löbe to maintain German unity in the years after 1945. In: Wolfgang Schulz (Ed.): Große Schlesier . Berlin 1984, pp. 216-220.
  • Helmut Neubach:  Löbe, Paul. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 15, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1987, ISBN 3-428-00196-6 , p. 20 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Helmut Neubach: Paul Löbe. In: Schlesische Lebensbilder. Volume 6, 1990, pp. 222-233.
  • Helmut Neubach: Paul Löbe . Association of Expellees , Bonn 2000, ISBN 3-925103-94-5 .
  • MdR The members of the Reichstag of the Weimar Republic in the time of National Socialism. Political persecution, emigration and expatriation 1933–1945. A biographical documentation . With a research report on the persecution of German and foreign parliamentarians under National Socialist rule, ed. by Martin Schumacher u. a., Düsseldorf 3rd edition 1994, pp. 291, 293 f. (= Publication of the Commission for the History of Parliamentarism and Political Parties in Bonn).
  • Gerhard Beier : Löbe, Paul. In: Manfred Asendorf and Rolf von Bockel (eds.): Democratic ways. German résumés from five centuries . Stuttgart and Weimar 1997, pp. 393-395.
  • Erhard HM Lange: Shaper of the Basic Law. Members of the Parliamentary Council. 15 historical biographies . Brühl / Rheinland 1999, pp. 111-119.
  • Theodor Oliwa: Paul Löbe. A social democratic politician and editor. The Silesian Years (1875-1919) . Neustadt an der Aisch 2003 (=  sources and representations on Silesian history. Volume 30).
  • Jürgen Mittag: From a group of dignitaries to a European network: Six decades of the European movement in Germany. In: 60 Years of the European Movement Germany. Berlin 2009, pp. 12-28. Online ( Memento from January 18, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  • Ditmar Staffelt : The reconstruction of the Berlin social democracy in 1945/46 and the question of unity - a contribution to the post-war history of the lower and middle organizational structures of the SPD. Peter Lang, 1986, ISBN 978-3-8204-9176-0 , p. 431.

Web links

Commons : Paul Löbe  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Der Spiegel, August 7, 1967
  2. ^ Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung : Overview of archive holdings
  3. For example, he was sentenced to one year for "inciting class hatred" which he spent in solitary confinement in 1906 ; A call for a demonstration against the three-class suffrage served as evidence . Irmgard Zündorf: Paul Löbe. Tabular curriculum vitae in the LeMO ( DHM and HdG )
  4. The way was long. Life memories . Arani, Berlin 1956, p. 49.
  5. ^ Kattowitzer Zeitung , January 19, 1927, p. 2.
  6. Vorwärts , January 21, 1927, p. 3 f.
  7. June 22, 1933: Actual ban on the SPD
  8. Noon 2009, p. 15.
  9. curriculum vitae on the homepage of the German Resistance Memorial Center.
  10. see especially in the section "Reichstag president often helpless in disputes"
  11. Löbe's administration can be E.g. in the excerpt from the 18th session of the 5th WP on February 6, 1931 that can be heard here (from 05:19)
  13. Bundestag, text archive ( Memento of the original from October 7, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , in: @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  14. Announcement of awards of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. In: Federal Gazette . Vol. 3, No. 250, December 29, 1951.
  15. Schlesier Shield
  16. Farewell to Paul Löbe: State act in the Schöneberg Town Hall: disruptive action of the "Commune" on John F. Kennedy Square . In: Tagesspiegel . August 10, 1967 ( [PDF]). Farewell to Paul Löbe: State act in the Schöneberg Town Hall: disruptive action of the “commune” on John-F.-Kennedy-Platz ( memento of the original from April 15, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /