Richard Schirrmann

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Richard Schirrmann (born May 15, 1874 in Grunenfeld , Heiligenbeil district , East Prussia ; † December 14, 1961 in Grävenwiesbach ) was the founder of the German Youth Hostel Association .


Richard Schirrmann Monument in Altena

Richard Schirrmann was born the son of a teacher. In 1895 he passed his state examination and became a teacher himself. At first he taught at a primary school in Gelsenkirchen . Because of the poor living environment of the students in this industrial city, he often went hiking with them. This led to problems with the school inspectorate. He was accused of neglecting normal lessons in favor of the hiking days. Therefore, he was transferred to Altena in the Sauerland in 1903 , where he became a member of the Sauerland Mountain Association .

Youth hostel initiative

From 1900 he was significantly involved in the creation of an accommodation network for hikers and youth groups in the Association of German Tourist Associations .

Memorial plaque at the Richard Schirrmann secondary school in Altena

In 1907 Schirrmann set up the first youth hostel in the world - on a trial basis - in the old Netter school on Nettestrasse in Altena. During a multi-day hike with his students, during which the group had to spontaneously set up makeshift accommodation in the village school in Bröl (Hennef) during a storm due to a lack of alternatives , Schirrmann developed the idea of ​​a comprehensive network of such youth hostels on August 26, 1909.

In 1910 he wrote an article for the Kölnische Zeitung in which he outlined his goals. Soon afterwards, he received a wide range of support, including donations.

In 1912 the first youth hostel moved to Altena Castle . To ensure long-term operation, Schirrmann also became the first hostess there .

After the establishment of the Reich Youth Hostel Association in 1919, he took a leave of absence from school in 1922 in order to be able to concentrate fully on his new task. After the seizure of power of the Nazis , he was in September 1933 under Colonel in the Hitler Youth (HJ), from March 1934, a member of the National Socialist Teachers League . On July 14, 1936, he was expelled from the Hitler Youth for "severe indiscipline and behavior that was harmful to the Hitler Youth". Nevertheless, Schirrmann can hardly be called an opponent of NS. Between 1938 and 1945 he directed various applications to join the NSDAP , but these were rejected. At the beginning of National Socialist rule, he also criticized the lack of orientation of Nazi youth policy towards hiking and nature, but not the persecution and harassment of political opposition youth groups.

1933-1936 he was chairman of the International Youth Hostel Association (HI). In 1948 he set about rebuilding the youth hostel in Germany and internationally.

Schirrmann succeeded in integrating the cities and municipalities into the development and financing of the hostels he was planning, thus ensuring continuity for the organization. Generations of students and teachers combine the class trip experience with a stay in a youth hostel.

The picture archive of Westphalia preserves Richard Schirrmann's photographic legacy.

Awards / honors

His work was recognized in 1952 when he was awarded the Great Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. The city of Altena also made him an honorary citizen.

The Sauerland Mountain Association named one of its main hiking trails Richard-Schirrmann-Weg . In 1971 in Vienna-was Donaustadt (22nd district) Schirrmanngasse and in 2008 in Stuttgart a season Richard Schirrmann squadron named after him. However, the naming of the season in Stuttgart was reversed in 2010 because of Richard Schirrmann's role in the Third Reich. The relay between Kernerstrasse and Schützenstrasse was renamed Paul Löbe Staffel . Further streets (e.g. in Titisee-Neustadt, Mainz, Montabaur, Gießen, Lünen, Landshut, Wetzlar, Münster, Bischofsheim) and schools (e.g. in Hennef, Siegburg, Berlin, Altena, Hoisten, Essen) were also built named after him in his honor.


Web links

Commons : Richard Schirrmann  - Collection of Images

Individual evidence

  1. ^ German Hiking Association (Ed.): 125 years of hiking and more. Michael Imhof Verlag, Petersberg 2008, ISBN 978-3-86568-221-5 , p. 22f.
  2. ^ Page of Deutsche Welle, 2012 , accessed on July 28, 2012.
  3. ^ Street names in Vienna since 1860 as "Political Places of Remembrance". (PDF; 4.4 MB) Final research project report, Vienna, July 2013, p. 238.
  4. [1]
  5. Information on the website of the German Youth Hostel Association ( Memento of the original from June 26, 2012 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. , accessed February 17, 2012 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /