Roman Duke

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Roman Herzog (2012) Roman Herzog Signature.svg

Roman Herzog (born April 5, 1934 in Landshut ; † January 10, 2017 in Bad Mergentheim ) was a German lawyer and politician ( CDU ). From 1994 to 1999 he was the seventh Federal President of the Federal Republic of Germany . Previously, he served from 1978 to 1980 cult US, 1980-1983 Minister of the Interior of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg and from 1983 to 1994 judge at the Federal Constitutional Court , in 1987 as its president.

As Federal President, Herzog is known, among other things, for his Berlin speech in 1997 , in which he campaigned for a “jolt through Germany” and more willingness to reform in society and politics. In 1996 he introduced January 27 as a day of remembrance for the victims of National Socialism . He was in charge of drafting the European Charter of Fundamental Rights and was chairman of the European Convention for the drafting of a European constitution . In addition, in 2008 he coined the term “ pensioner democracy ”.

Live and act

education and profession

After passing the Abitur at the Hans-Carossa-Gymnasium Landshut with an average grade of 1.0 , Herzog completed a law degree in Munich from 1953 , which he finished with the first state examination in 1957 and the second in 1961 . In 1958 he received his doctorate as Dr. jur. He was then until 1964 research assistant to Theodor Maunz at the law faculty of the University of Munich . During this time he also wrote his habilitation thesis . Until 1965 he then taught as a private lecturer at the University of Munich. In 1965 he followed the call of the Free University of Berlin as a full professor to the chair for constitutional law and politics. Here he was dean from 1967 to 1968 and vice dean of the Faculty of Law from 1968 to 1969. After violent conflicts with representatives of the student movement, he accepted the call of the German University of Administrative Sciences Speyer in 1969 to the chair of state theory and politics; from 1971 to 1972 he was its rector .

Herzog was co-author and editor of the Basic Law Commentary Maunz / Dürig / Herzog / Scholz, which is considered a standard work .

From 1981 to 1994 he was co-editor of the weekly newspaper Christ und Welt - Rheinischer Merkur .

In 2000 he hosted six programs in the series Herzog speaks mit ... on Bayerischer Rundfunk .

Party career

Herzog had been a member of the CDU since 1970 . From 1978 to 1983 he was federal chairman of the Evangelical Working Group of the CDU and CSU . During this time he was also a member of the federal executive committee of the CDU from 1979 . Since his tenure as Federal President, his party membership was suspended. However, as Federal President a. D. the so-called Herzog Commission of the CDU, which in 2003 presented a report parallel to the Rürup Commission of the then federal government on how the German social security systems can be reformed. After it on the federal party of the CDU in Leipzig had been decided, this document formed the substantive basis for the election of Angela Merkel in of 2005.

Public offices

Candidate poster for the state election in Rhineland-Palatinate in 1975
Herzog in 1989 as President of the Federal Constitutional Court (right) with Hans A. Engelhard (center).
Federal President Herzog in front of the Osnabrück City Hall (1998)

State of Rhineland-Palatinate

In 1973 he was appointed to the state government led by Prime Minister Helmut Kohl as State Secretary and authorized representative of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate at the federal level. In this function, Herzog was also a member of the Federal Council . He continued this office until 1978 under Prime Minister Bernhard Vogel .

State of Baden-Württemberg

From 1978 to 1980 he was Minister for Culture and Sport of the State of Baden-Württemberg in the state government led by Prime Minister Lothar Späth . After the election to the state parliament of Baden-Württemberg in 1980, Herzog moved into the state parliament as a member of the Göppingen constituency. He then moved from the Ministry of Culture to the office of Minister of the Interior of the State of Baden-Württemberg, which he held until 1983. Under Interior Minister Herzog, Baden-Württemberg equipped the police with rubber shot for use against demonstrators . In addition, Herzog had the police equipped with the irritant gas CS and introduced the obligation for demonstrators to pay for police operations with “ immediate compulsion ”.

Federal Constitutional Court

After resigning the state parliament mandate and the ministerial office, Herzog was appointed vice-president and chairman of the First Senate on December 20, 1983 - the day on which the President of the Federal Constitutional Court Ernst Benda retired and the previous Vice-President Wolfgang Zeidler was appointed President. When Zeidler retired on November 16, 1987, Herzog succeeded him in the office of President. He held this office until June 30, 1994. On July 1, 1994, he took up his post as Federal President, into which he was elected on May 23, 1994. His successor as President of the Federal Constitutional Court was Jutta Limbach on September 14, 1994 .

In 1990, Roman Herzog advised the last GDR government and the federal government on questions of the Unification Treaty , specifically on the subject of the confiscations from 1945 to 1949. Under his chairmanship, the constitutional complaints about land and industrial reforms were also rejected. In 2009 he campaigned for a reparation initiative that was implemented in 2011.

Teaching assignments

In addition to his work as a constitutional judge, he was an honorary professor at the University of Administrative Sciences Speyer from 1984 to 1994 and at the Eberhard Karls University in Tübingen from 1986 to 1994 .

As part of the Heinrich Hertz visiting professorship in 1999/2000, Roman Herzog was visiting professor at the University of Karlsruhe (TH) .

Federal President

Herzog was the German Federal President from July 1, 1994 to June 30, 1999. After leaving office, he maintained an office in Heilbronn for the fulfillment of subsequent obligations as former Federal President .

Surprising candidacy and success in the third ballot

In the election of the German Federal President in 1994 , Roman Herzog stood as a candidate for the CDU / CSU after the originally nominated candidate Steffen Heitmann had decided not to stand on November 25, 1993 after controversial statements on the role of women, the Holocaust and foreigners. As a liberal candidate, Herzog should also be more eligible for the FDP , which, with Hildegard Hamm-Brücher , had put up her grande dame as a candidate. Only when Hamm-Brücher withdrew her candidacy after the second ballot could the Union parties count on the votes of the FDP and thus prevent the presidency of candidate Johannes Rau , who was nominated by the SPD .

On May 23, 1994, Herzog was elected the seventh Federal President of the Federal Republic of Germany by the Federal Assembly with the votes of the CDU / CSU and FDP . He prevailed against Rau in the third ballot . When he took office , Herzog had already renounced a new candidacy for a second term in the federal presidential election in 1999 ; Rau became his successor.

Introduction of a day of remembrance for victims

In 1996 , Herzog proclaimed the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of National Socialism as a day of remembrance in Germany, which led to the introduction of a memorial hour on the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of National Socialism . In his first speech, Herzog stated: “The memory must not end; it must also warn future generations to be vigilant. It is therefore important to find a form of remembrance now that works in the future. It should express grief over suffering and loss, be dedicated to the memory of the victims and counteract any danger of repetition. ”In 1999, Herzog spoke again as the main speaker at the memorial hour.

Berlin speech 1997

Herzog's so-called "jerk speech" on April 26, 1997 in Berlin, in which he said:

“Germany must be jolted . We have to say goodbye to treasured possessions, above all to the intellectual ones, to the drawers and boxes in which we are about to put everything. Everyone is addressed, everyone must make sacrifices, everyone must participate:

  • employers by cutting costs not just through layoffs,
  • workers by bringing working hours and wages into line with the situation in their operations,
  • the trade unions by enabling company-related collective agreements and more flexible working relationships,
  • Bundestag and Bundesrat, by moving the major reform projects forward quickly,
  • the interest groups in our country by not acting to the detriment of the common interest. "

Since then, this “jolt” has been quoted often, sometimes also satirically. Horst Köhler referred to this when he accepted his election as Federal President on May 23, 2004: “Why are we still not getting the job done? Because we're all still waiting for it to happen! "

The successors in the office of Federal President took up this speech, and so the tradition of the annual Berlin speech was born , which lasted until 2013.

Educational speeches

On November 5, 1997, Roman Herzog gave a highly acclaimed educational speech in which he called for more competition and a strengthening of the concept of achievement in German schools .

He demanded that education should be “on the front pages” of daily newspapers because of its importance for the individual and for Germany as a whole. Herzog's concept of education showed a strong market orientation, economic practicability was emphasized in his speeches as a decisive quality feature of good education.

State visits
year month States
1994 July FranceFrance France
August PolandPoland Poland (50th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising ), Belgium ( NATO ), AustriaBelgiumBelgium AustriaAustria 
September HungaryHungary Hungary
October BelgiumBelgium Belgium , LuxembourgLuxembourgLuxembourg 
December IsraelIsrael Israel
1995 January SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland ( WEF )
September SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland
October FranceFrance France ( European Parliament )
November BrazilBrazil Brazil
1996 January Ethiopia 1991Ethiopia Ethiopia ( OAU )
May Venezuela 1954Venezuela Venezuela
November China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China
November NepalNepal Nepal
1997 May AustriaAustria Austria
July United StatesUnited States United States
September RussiaRussia Russia
1998 February UkraineUkraine Ukraine , Kyrgyzstan , PolandKyrgyzstanKyrgyzstan PolandPoland 
March South AfricaSouth Africa South Africa
April NamibiaNamibia Namibia
July DenmarkDenmark Denmark
September Korea SouthSouth Korea South Korea , MongoliaMongoliaMongolia 
November IsraelIsrael Israel
December United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
1999 May LithuaniaLithuania Lithuania , LatviaLatviaLatvia 

Social Commitment

From 1971 to 1980 he was chairman of the “Chamber for Public Responsibility” of the Evangelical Church in Germany. From 1973 to 1991 he was a full member of the Synod of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD). From 1986 to 1996 he was chairman of the Friends of the Jagsthausen Castle Festival . From 1996 to 2006 he was chairman of the board of trustees of the Hermann Art Foundation for the Promotion of New Testament Text Research , which promotes the work of the Institute for New Testament Text Research in Münster.

He was Chairman of the Board of the Alliance for Children - Against Violence Foundation . From 2000 to 2008 he was a member of the jury for the award of the International Nuremberg Human Rights Prize .

On October 30, 2006 he took over the name chairmanship of the first German inn (group) of the international legal honor society Phi Delta Phi at the Bucerius Law School. He campaigned for the establishment of the National Academy of Engineering Sciences (Acatech) and was Chairman of the Senate of Acatech.

As the patron of the German Wildlife Foundation , he was committed to protecting species .

From 1999 to 2015 Roman Herzog was also Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Brandenburg Gate Foundation .


Herzog's father, Karl Theodor Herzog , was initially a commercial clerk and later worked for the Landshut City Archives, of which he eventually became director. His mother Helene (née Schulze) was a trained bank clerk, but no longer practiced this profession after the marriage.

Roman Herzog was first married to Christiane Krauss on August 2, 1958 . This marriage resulted in two sons, Markus born in 1959 and Hans Georg born in 1964. Christiane Herzog died on June 19, 2000 in Munich and was buried in Landshut.

From September 4, 2001, Herzog was in his second marriage to Alexandra Freifrau von Berlichingen (* 1941), b. von Vultejus , married. He last lived at Jagsthausen Castle, which belonged to the von Berlichingen family .

Roman Herzog died on January 10, 2017 at the age of 82 in Bad Mergentheim. On January 24, 2017, a state ceremony took place in the Berlin Cathedral , on January 27, Herzog was buried in the Jagsthausen cemetery.

Politics after the Federal Presidency

Herzog was chairman of the Konventkreis im Konvent für Deutschland , a think tank founded by Hans-Olaf Henkel and Manfred Pohl . He was a patron named after him and at the initiative of the entrepreneur and economic functionary Randolf Rodenstock justified employer-funded think tank Roman Herzog Institute (RHI). The RHI is supported by the Association of Bavarian Business and the Association of the Bavarian Metal and Electrical Industry . Herzog was also involved in campaigns for the employer-financed initiative New Social Market Economy . He was also a member of the political association Bürgererkonvent . Herzog was also chairman of the board of trustees of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung .

Roman Herzog headed the first European Convention , which between December 1999 and October 2000 drew up the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union .

"Pensioner democracy"

Herzogs's following interview statement to the picture caused an uproar : “I'm afraid we are just seeing the harbingers of a pensioner democracy: the elderly are getting more and more, and all parties are showing disproportionate consideration for them. In the end, that could mean that the older ones plunder the younger ones ”. Oswald Metzger and Meinhard Miegel referred to this in Bild and Die Welt and supported Herzog. Herzog wanted to support the CDU member of the Bundestag, Jens Spahn , who wanted to prevent a planned unscheduled pension increase of 0.64 percent and was heavily criticized by senior citizens' associations for this.

By introducing the term pensioner democracy into the public discussion, Herzog himself was in the crossfire of criticism: VdK President Walter Hirrlinger expressed himself angry about Herzog's choice of words: “The older ones don't plunder the younger ones, they want to get at least a bit of the boom with it they don't always have to accept reduced purchasing power. ”In a study by the Max Planck Institute for Social Research, Achim Goerres came to the conclusion that the thesis of pensioners as an“ economic pressure group ”had no empirical evidence. In a survey by Infratest dimap for the ARD , 64 percent of those questioned disagreed with Herzog's statement that the parties disproportionately consider older people at the expense of younger people. Only 33 percent of those questioned agreed with Herzog's thesis. However, the survey also showed that opinions differed according to age. A majority of 18- to 34-year-olds shared Herzog's criticism of the “excessive influence” of the elderly on politics. The majority of respondents aged 35 and over said no. In the over 45 year olds it was even 70 percent who rejected Herzog's thesis.

European Union

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome (March 25, 1957), Herzog and the director of the Center for European Politics , Lüder Gerken , criticized tendencies towards centralization by the EU. This puts parliamentary democracy in Germany at risk.

In May 2011 (around 1.5 years after the euro crisis became known ), Herzog gave an interview to the newspaper Junge Freiheit in which he criticized the current way of working in the EU. This newspaper is considered a mouthpiece for the New Right . In this interview, Herzog accused the federal government, the Bundestag and the Bundesrat of undermining the principle of subsidiarity by giving up too much powers to the EU . “And that, in turn, is an indication for me that the EU elites have long perceived the EU as an emerging state or even as a state that has already largely emerged. But that was never agreed and is not democratically legitimized by anything. "

Criticism of the five percent hurdle

Due to the electoral success of the party Die Linke , Herzog called for a change in the right to vote in the Basic Law and the Federal Election Law for the first time in 2008. As a reason, Herzog stated that otherwise there would be a risk of minority governments.

In May 2012, Herzog again criticized the five percent hurdle . He explained: “In principle, the five percent hurdle is no longer appropriate. Actually, we should raise the hurdle ”. In view of the increasing number of smaller parties, the Federal Chancellor would otherwise “no longer be supported by a large majority of the population”. This development endangers parliamentary democracy. He did not specify which of the smaller parties above the five percent hurdle ( CSU , FDP , Die Linke , Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen or Piraten ) caused his concern. Some media made a direct connection with the electoral successes of the Pirate Party in the same year and the 2012 state election in North Rhine-Westphalia, which was imminent at that time . In an interview with the newspaper Die Welt , the former President of the Federal Constitutional Court, Hans-Jürgen Papier, turned against a tightening of the five percent hurdle. In this context he stated: “I do not think that this is an appropriate solution, especially if it could be seen as a targeted action against successful new parties. Incidentally, an increase in the threshold clause should not be considered for constitutional reasons alone. "




  • Restriction of fundamental rights according to the Basic Law and the European Convention on Human Rights . Dissertation, 1958.
  • The essential characteristics of the state organization from a legal and historical perspective . Habilitation, 1964.
  • Commentary on the Basic Law "Maunz-Dürig-Herzog" (co-editor), since 1964.
  • Evangelisches Staatslexikon (co-editor), since 1966.
  • General political theory , 1971.
  • States of the early days. Origins and forms of rule . CH Beck, Munich 1988; 2nd edition 1997.
  • State and law in transition . 1994.
  • Vision Europe. Answers to global challenges . Hamburg 1996.
  • Can you learn from history? Abera Verlag, Hamburg 1997.
  • Structural defects in the constitution? Experience with the Basic Law . Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart / Munich 2000, ISBN 3-421-05348-0 .
  • Against the clash of civilizations: a peace strategy for the 21st century , edited by Theo Sommer. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2000, ISBN 3-10-030210-9 .
  • Years of politics: the memories . Siedler, Munich 2007, ISBN 3-88680-870-X .
  • Market economy in a bind. An answer to obvious questions . Hohenheim Verlag, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-8985-0189-7 .
  • Reinvent Europe, from superstate to citizen democracy . Siedler, Munich 2014, ISBN 978-3-8275-0046-5 .


Web links

Commons : Roman Herzog  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ; Konrad Adenauer Foundation ; . On the other hand, the family's obituary lists the date of Jagsthausen's death, Duke's last residence:
  2. Baden-Württemberg is the first federal state to equip its police with rubber shot for use against demonstrators.
  3. Michael Naumann: At the beginning of the unit there was a lie, Zeit Online, January 29, 2004, number 6
  4. BVerfG, judgment of April 23, 1991, Az. 1 BvR 1170, 1174, 1175/90, BVerfGE 84, 90 - Land reform I; Judgment of the First Senate chaired by Roman Herzog.
  5. ↑ Honorary salary, office and employees: A question of morality and decency . In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung . March 11, 2012
  6. Berlin speeches ., as of August 11, 2011.
  7. Vision of a new Germany: Roman Herzog, 1997  - speech in the video
  8. ^ Speech by Federal President Roman Herzog at the Berlin Education Forum in the Schauspielhaus on Gendarmenmarkt
  9. ^ Roman Herzog Prize. Retrieved August 14, 2017 .
  10. ^ Roman Herzog is buried in Jagsthausen . (Heilbronn Voice), January 27, 2017
  11. ↑ In memory of Roman Herzog in Schöntal: Farewell to a critical spirit. SWR, January 28, 2017, archived from the original on January 28, 2017 ; accessed on November 21, 2018 .
  12. ^ Homepage of the Roman Herzog Institute
  13. Magazin Moderner Staat - Lean State : “Diet tips” for a modern community . In: . ( [accessed January 12, 2017]).
  14. Former Federal President supports the New Social Market Economy / Herzog initiative: “So much welfare state is unsocial” . In: . ( [accessed January 12, 2017]).
  15. ^ Danger from Brussels . (Rheinische Post), March 13, 2007
  16. Former President Herzog criticizes the Federal Government's EU course: Interview with Roman Herzog (excerpt). Complete interview in print edition Junge Freiheit , 21/2011.
  17. Herzog recommends changing the electoral law . ( Memento from March 9, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , March 5, 2008.
  18. The former Federal President in a FOCUS interview: Roman Herzog wants to reform the five percent hurdle,, May 12, 2012 , accessed on May 16, 2012.
  19. Roman Herzog: "5 percent hurdle no longer appropriate" - Before the elections in North Rhine-Westphalia, the former Federal President warns of the endangerment of parliamentary democracy by smaller parties . Telepolis, May 13, 2012, accessed May 16, 2012.
  20. Interview in: Die Welt , May 18, 2012, quoted from the former President of the Constitutional Court against the lifting of the five percent hurdle in elections ., May 18, 2012, accessed on May 20, 2012.
  21. List of all decorations awarded by the Federal President for services to the Republic of Austria from 1952 (PDF; 6.9 MB)
  22. List of all decorations awarded by the Federal President for services to the Republic of Austria from 1952 (PDF; 6.9 MB)
  23. ^ Nobel Laureate Meetings honor Roman Herzog as the engine of the international scientific dialogue , in: Informationsdienst Wissenschaft from September 2, 2010, accessed on September 3, 2010
  24. ^ Roman Herzog is the winner of the European Craftsman Award. North Rhine-Westphalian Crafts Day V., November 8, 2012, accessed March 10, 2015 .