Council of State (Office)

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In some states and German states, the State Council is the title of political official . At times there were also voluntary state councils in individual countries.

Hamburg and Bremen

In the city-states of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen , a State Council is the highest official in a Senate department (an authority comparable to a State Ministry), therefore a member of the administration and, as a political official, the Senator's representative in office. He is comparable to the permanent state secretary of the other countries and the Federal Republic of Germany .

In Bremen , the State Council for Federal Affairs is also a member of the Senate of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen . The other councils of state are subordinate to the mayor as head of the Senate Chancellery or to the senators. They are the general representatives in the office of the respective Senate department, but have no voting rights in the Senate, since here the Senators are only represented by other Senate members. From 1933 to 1945 the representatives of a senator were named president and there were honorary, advised councilors of state.

In Hamburg , according to the constitution of June 6, 1952, councilors of state are called Senatssyndici. Since the introduction of the constitution, however, the status of a Senate Syndicate (see there) has changed in addition to the name .


In the Free State of Bavaria , State Councilor has been the head of office of the Bavarian State Chancellery since January 1, 2016 . The office head of the State Chancellery is thus distinguished from the office heads of the state ministries who have the title of ministerial director and leads their weekly meetings.

In the Kingdom of Bavaria , the title of Council of State had been reserved for members of the king's highest advisory body of the same name since 1817. In the Weimar Republic, the title referred to the deputy of a state minister who, as a civil servant head of office, headed the administration of a state ministry. When Heinrich Held's government was only executive in office after the loss of its parliamentary majority in 1930, the Prime Minister could not appoint a regular successor when a managing minister of state resigned. In this case, the State Council also assumed the political leadership of the ministry.

After 1945, the Prime Ministers Fritz Schäffer and Wilhelm Hoegner initially reappointed State Councilors as senior officials of a State Ministry, e.g. B. Anton Pfeiffer as head of the Bavarian State Chancellery . However, the constitution of the Free State of Bavaria in 1946 designated (political) state secretaries with a seat and vote in the state government as deputy state ministers, so that the title of State Council was no longer used.

Baden-Württemberg, Prussia, Württemberg and Thuringia

In some governments, the title Council of State was or is also used for ministers without portfolio who have the right to vote in the respective cabinet .

Baden-Württemberg knows the State Council as an honorary member of the government. The conductor and director Wolfgang Gönnenwein was State Councilor for cultural issues in the Baden-Württemberg state government from 1988 to 1992. From 2001 to 2006 Konrad Beyreuther was represented as State Councilor for Life Sciences. From 2006 to 2010 Claudia Hübner was State Councilor for Demographic Change and Seniors. In the Mappus cabinet , Regina Ammicht Quinn was State Councilor for intercultural and interreligious dialogue and social value development from February 2010 to May 2011. In the Kretschmann I and Kretschmann II cabinets , Gisela Erler has been State Councilor for Civil Society and Citizen Participation since 2011.

Prussia: In Prussia there was a State Council as an advisory body from 1817 to 1848 and from 1854 to 1918 and from 1921 to 1933 as a second chamber . From 1933 under the National Socialists , the State Council became an advisory body again. In his capacity as Prime Minister, Göring often bestowed the title of State Councilor on an honorary basis. The conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler was Prussian State Councilor from 1933 to 1938, which he u. a. was later interpreted as a special proximity to National Socialism . The actor and artistic director Gustaf Gründgens from 1936 and the senior regional leader Adolf Schmidt-Bodenstedt also carried this title.

Thuringia: In Thuringia , councilors of state were accepted into the government as representatives of the former Thuringian states after 1920 . According to § 71 of the state constitution, each of the dissolved small states had to be represented by a member in the state government for the first 15 years after their unification to form the state of Thuringia. Later, during the National Socialist era, the number of Thuringian state councilors assumed inflationary proportions; so was z. B. the racial researcher Karl Astel appointed to the State Council in 1940.

Württemberg: In the state of Württemberg there were state councils u. a. with Johannes Rath ( DVP ), 1930 to 1933 honorary advisory council in the Württemberg government in the Bolz cabinet

Individual evidence

  1. Joachim Lilla: State Councilors and State Secretaries (1918-1933) , in: Historisches Lexikon Bayerns .
  2. Thuringian heads of government 1920 to 2003 ( Memento from October 24, 2012 in the Internet Archive )