Wilhelm Hausenstein

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Wilhelm Hausenstein (photography, around 1906)

Wilhelm Hausenstein (born June 17, 1882 in Hornberg , † June 3, 1957 in Munich ) was a German historical writer, art critic and cultural historian, journalist and diplomat. He campaigned against National Socialism and anti-Semitism and devoted himself intensively to Franco-German friendship after the Second World War .


Hausenstein's mother Clara, b. Baumann, was the daughter of the "Bärenwirt" in Hornberg; his father Wilhelm was a grand ducal tax officer in Baden; he died when his son of the same name was nine years old. Wilhelm Hausenstein attended high school in Karlsruhe and graduated from high school in 1900. In Heidelberg , Tübingen and Munich he studied classical philology , philosophy, theology, art history, economics and history, among others with Lujo Brentano . In 1901 he worked as a private tutor for Gustav Schönleber's family during a stay in Belgium . In 1905 he was with that of Karl Theodor von Heigel supervised dissertation on Reunification with Regensburg Bavaria in 1810 his doctorate . In 1906 he read for six months to Marie in Bavaria, who was living in exile in Paris .

In 1907 he joined the Social Democratic Party (he resigned in 1919) and was active in its workers' education society Vorwärts . As a result, a habilitation was impossible. Hausenstein then became a freelance writer. In 1908 he married Marga Schröder, the adopted daughter of a Bremen merchant.

During the First World War , Hausenstein was not called up for military service for health reasons. Since he had published Belgium - Notes in 1915 , including a chapter on "Economy and Politics", he was considered a connoisseur of Belgium and was delegated to the General Government of Belgium , the German administration of the occupied country. From January 1916 he was editor of the German-Belgian monthly magazine Belfried, founded by Anton Kippenberg . In 1916, Hausenstein met Alice Marguerite ( Margot ) Kohn (1890–1997) in Brussels . Kohn's husband at the time, Richard Lipper, died on November 22, 1916 in a hospital. Hausenstein returned to Munich at the end of October 1917, after finishing his service in Brussels, started working for the Münchner Neue Nachrichten newspaper and at the same time became a freelancer for the Frankfurter Zeitung . Hauenstein motivated Ulrich Christoffel to write art-critical reports for the Münchner Neuste Nachrichten.

Margot broke up with her family and followed him to Munich. In November 1918, Hausenstein divorced Marga; on May 5, 1919, he married Margot. The witnesses were Emil Preetorius and Rainer Maria Rilke .

Daughter Renée-Marie Parry Hausenstein was born on February 3, 1922 († 2015). She was baptized a Catholic; Her parents did not tell her that Margot was Jewish (and Renée-Marie was also Jewish). She learned both in 1936. In 1932 the family moved to Tutzing on Lake Starnberg.

In 1926, Hausenstein published an extensive article on the Baroque in the Soviet Encyclopedia. After the National Socialists came to power , on April 14, 1933, the political police forced Hausenstein's immediate dismissal as a member of the editorial team of Münchner Neuesten Nachrichten .

From 1934 to 1943 Hausenstein was responsible for the literary sheet and the women's supplement to the Frankfurter Zeitung . On November 24, 1936, he was expelled from the Reichsschrifttumskammer , so he was no longer allowed to publish books. Because he had refused to label modern works as degenerate art and to remove the names of Jewish artists from his art history . The Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda had the remaining copies of art history crushed. In 1943 he was also expelled from the Reich Press Chamber. As a result, he lost his job with the Frankfurter Zeitung (shortly before it had to cease publication) and was henceforth banned from any journalistic work. Hausenstein concentrated on his autobiography Lux Perpetua and prepared further books - constantly in danger of his wife Margot being "picked up".

After the end of the war in 1945 the US occupation forces offered him the editor-in-chief of the Süddeutsche Zeitung ; Hausenstein turned down the offer because of his poor health and his literary plans.

In 1949 he founded the German Academy for Language and Poetry with 48 other authors (including Adolf Grimme , Erich Kästner and Marie Luise Kaschnitz ) .

In 1950, at the personal request of Konrad Adenauer , he went to Paris as Consul General of the newly founded Federal Republic . He then became chargé d'affaires and finally the first ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to France . In early 1955, Hausenstein retired; his successor was Vollrath von Maltzan .

Hausenstein wrote around 80 books on cultural topics, art and travel books, stories and memories; some of them appeared under the pseudonyms Johann Armbruster and Kannitverstan . His diary during the war is considered to be one of the most impressive documents of the destruction of Munich in World War II. Hausenstein also excelled as a translator, for example of Baudelaire poems.

His circle of friends included Paul Klee , Annette Kolb , Alfred Kubin , Rainer Maria Rilke , Karl Valentin , Albert Weisgerber , Franz Josef Schöningh and Theodor Heuss . He also met Weisgerber and Heuss in Paris. After Weisgerber's early death in World War I, Hausenstein wrote his biography in 1918. Hausenstein held several offices and acted as President of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts from 1950 . He was also appointed Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor in 1955 . Wilhelm Hausenstein died of a heart attack on June 3, 1957 and was buried in the Bogenhausen cemetery in Munich.

Grave in the Bogenhausen cemetery

Wilhelm Hausenstein Society

In November 2001 the Wilhelm Hausenstein Society was founded. a. to preserve the memory of Wilhelm Hausenstein and promote the research and dissemination of his works. To this end, it organizes the Wilhelm Hausenstein Symposia in Hornberg every two years.


Renée-Marie Parry Hausenstein was able to leave for Brazil in 1942 after she had entered into a marriage of convenience. In 1946 she emigrated to the USA; from there she supported her parents with packages.

Fonts (selection)

  • 1905: The reunification of Regensburg with Bavaria in 1810
  • 1910: Der Bauern-Bruegel (his first book); Monograph on the painter
  • 1911: The naked person in art of all time
  • 1911: Rococo, French and German illustrators of the eighteenth century , Piper, Munich (3rd edition 1918)
  • 1912: Sociology of Art. Image and community
  • 1912: The great utopians ( Fourier - Saint-Simon - Owen )
  • 1914: painting, sculpture, drawing. The visual arts of the present
  • 1914: About the artist and his soul
  • 1915: Belgium - Notes
  • 1918: Albert Weisgerber, a memorial book, published by the Munich New Secession
  • 1919: The Isenheim Altarpiece by Matthias Grünewald
  • 1919: spirit of the baroque
  • 1919: About expressionism in painting
  • 1920: exotic species
  • 1921: Kairuan or a story about the painter Klee and the art of this age
  • 1922: Barbarians and Classics. A book on the sculpture of exotic peoples
  • 1923: Giotto
  • 1928: art history
  • 1932: European capitals
  • 1936: Book of a Childhood
  • 1947: encounters with images
  • 1947: Lux Perpetua. Sum of a lifetime from that time
  • 1949: What does modern art mean
  • 1948: Dialogue about Don Quixote
  • 1958: love for Munich
  • 1961: Paris memories
  • 1968: Friedrich Bentmann (Ed.): Memories of young people and travel sketches
  • 1969: impressions and analyzes. Last records



  • Laurence Blanc: Wilhelm Hausenstein (1882–1957). Un médiateur culturel et politique entre l'Allemagne et la France . (= Annales Littéraires de l'Université de Franche-Comté, 642). Paris 1997.
  • Ulrich Lappenküper : Wilhelm Hausenstein - Adenauer's first head of mission in Paris . In: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte . Vol. 43 (1995), No. 4, pp. 635-678. ( Online ; PDF; 2.0 MB)
  • Walther Migge: Wilhelm Hausenstein. Paths of a European. Catalog of an exhibition . Marbach am Neckar 1967.
  • Robert MinderHausenstein, Wilhelm. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 8, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1969, ISBN 3-428-00189-3 , pp. 113-115 ( digitized version ).
  • Peter Matthias Reuss : The Mission Hausenstein (1950–1955) . Sinzheim 1995, ISBN 3-930747-20-0 .
  • Martin Schieder : In the eyes of the other. German-French art relations 1945–1959 (= Passagen / Passages. Vol. 12). With a foreword by Werner Spies and a poem by KO Götz. Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 2005, ISBN 978-3-05-004148-3 , pp. 74-88.
  • Dieter Sulzer: The estate of Wilhelm Hausenstein. A report . German Schiller Society, Marbach am Neckar 1982, ISBN 3-928882-43-0 .
  • Johannes Werner: Wilhelm Hausenstein. A résumé . Iudicium, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-89129-177-9 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b c d Wilhelm Hausenstein: Paris memories . Günter Olzog Verlag, Munich 1961, p. 239.
  2. a b Eva-Maria Herbertz: “Life lived me”. The biography of Renée-Marie Hausenstein . Allitera-Verlag, Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-86906-172-6 , p. 13.
  3. Eva-Maria Herbertz: "Life lived me". The biography of Renée-Marie Hausenstein . Allitera-Verlag, Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-86906-172-6 , p. 18.
  4. ^ Wilhelm Hausenstein: Paris memories . Günter Olzog Verlag, Munich 1961, p. 240.
  5. Michael Assmann, Herbert Heckmann (Ed.): Between Criticism and Confidence. 50 years of the German Academy for Language and Poetry. Wallstein, Göttingen 1999, p. 22.
  6. ^ Otto B. Roegele: Review of the Parisian years . In: Walther Migge: Wilhelm Hausenstein. Paths of a European. Catalog of an exhibition, Marbach am Neckar 1967, p. 185
  7. Eva-Maria Herbertz: "Life lived me". The biography of Renée-Marie Hausenstein. Allitera, Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-86906-172-6 ( reading sample (pdf)).
  8. Helga Pfoertner: Living with history. Vol. 1, Literareron, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-89675-859-4 , p. 194 ( PDF; 1.1 MB ( Memento from April 28, 2014 in the Internet Archive ))