Wolfgang Hoffmann (politician)

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Grave in the main cemetery in Freiburg

Wolfgang Hoffmann (born April 4, 1893 in Strasbourg , † March 25, 1956 in Freiburg im Breisgau ) was a German lawyer, Lord Mayor of Freiburg im Breisgau and an amateur pianist .

Youth and Studies

The son of an editor-in-chief spent part of his school days in Freiburg im Breisgau. At the local Berthold-Gymnasium he completed his schooling and studied from 1912 in Freiburg and Strasbourg Jura . In 1914 he became a soldier and was taken prisoner in the first year of the war, from which he returned in 1918. Hoffmann then continued his studies. After the state examination in 1919, he married Emilie Stöckle. Since the young father of the family - the first son was born in 1923 - did not yet have a permanent job, money was certainly tight in the Hoffmann family. Added to this were the difficult economic conditions of the post-war period.

So Hoffmann used his talent as a pianist. In the summer of 1919 he made his well-paid recordings for piano roles of the current hits with the well-known Freiburg manufacturer of reproduction pianos M. Welte & Sons . Since these recordings identify him as an experienced entertainment pianist, it is quite possible that he continued to use this talent and bridged the time up to his doctorate and a permanent position as a piano player in pubs and cinemas.

Professional life and National Socialism

In 1920 he was charged with a thesis on the youth penitentiary in Baden doctorate . Soon afterwards he entered the civil service and finally in 1924 became a member of the government at the Baden district office and then at the police headquarters in Freiburg.

In addition to his professional career, Hoffmann devoted himself to politics. In 1925 he was elected to the Baden state parliament as a member of the Center Party . Since 1929 he was a member of the KDSt.V. Wildenstein Freiburg im Breisgau. As an avowed critic of the burgeoning National Socialism , he got into trouble after the seizure of power in 1933: the consequences were loss of the Landtag mandate, a post as a civil servant, compulsory leave and, in 1937, compulsory retirement “for reasons of illness”. Hoffmann found employment in the private sector and, among other things, was the operating syndic of the Hellige company in Freiburg since 1939 . After the Hitler assassination attempt on July 20, 1944 , he was arrested and interned in Lörrach .


After the collapse of the Third Reich, Hoffmann was one of the first to get involved in building democracy. He was one of the co-founders of the Baden Christian Social People's Party (BCSV) , from which the CDU Baden later emerged, and was a member of the presidium of the anti-fascist alliance " Das Neue Deutschland " with the Social Democrat Carlo Schmid and the Protestant pastor and communist Erwin Eckert , that campaigned for the democratic construction in the French occupation zone .

In Freiburg, Hoffmann had belonged to the municipal council committee since 1945, which was supposed to support the acting mayor Max Keller in the administration of the city. In the summer he was offered the post of mayor in Konstanz , in the autumn that of Freiburg. Hoffmann decided on Freiburg and was appointed Lord Mayor by the Baden Ministry of the Interior on November 8th. The municipal council elected the following year confirmed Hoffmann in his office.

Lord Mayor

Hoffmann and his city administration were faced with enormous tasks, the lack of living space and the insufficient supply of food were dramatic. Operation Tigerfish completely destroyed over 11,000 homes and the urban infrastructure was in ruins.

View of the Freiburg City Theater (2010)

At the end of 1945 it was already clear that, despite the material hardship in Freiburg, a lively concert life had developed. In addition to economic and socio-political tasks, Hoffmann also set himself the goal of rebuilding cultural life. He co-founded the Freiburg Music Academy, the later University of Music , where he previously from Augustinermuseum used Wentzingerhaus made available. Hoffmann's name remains forever associated with the reconstruction of the city ​​theater . As early as June 1946, he had entrusted the architect Wilhelm Mersch and employees of the city administration with the task of planning the reconstruction of the theater in the ruins of the building that had been destroyed in 1944. The clearing of rubble began at the end of 1948 and on December 30, 1949, just five years after the destruction, gaming operations were resumed. Hoffmann had not only successfully appealed for donations, but had also performed as a pianist since 1949, now mainly with music from the Viennese Classical and Romantic periods.

The reconstruction concerts with the City Philharmonic Orchestra and the Lord Mayor as a soloist became a long-standing tradition and brought in a total of 120,000 D-Marks, the concert on November 16, 1953 alone brought in net proceeds of DM 18,000, which means that under Among other things, a new Steinway grand piano could be procured for the theater.

Wolfgang Hoffmann's death on March 25, 1956 came as a complete surprise to the citizens and his family. 4,000 citizens gave the popular mayor their last escort .


Wolfgang-Hoffman-Platz in Freiburg-Betzenhausen


A foyer in the city theater is named in honor of Hoffmann, as is the square in front of the former post office in Betzenhausen .


  • Wolfgang Hoffmann: What was really ?: a small contribution to the historical development of teacher training in Baden . Freiburg im Breisgau: Preßverein Freiburg im Breisgau (approx. 1926).
  • Wolfgang Hoffmann (edit.): Three years of community work in Freiburg i. Br. Ed. By the city administration of Freiburg im Breisgau. Freiburg im Breisgau: Goldschagg 1948.
  • Gerhard Dangel: Wolfgang Hoffmann. A Welte pianist and mayor at the piano . In: The mechanical musical instrument. 22nd year, September 1996, pp. 31-32. ISSN  0721-6092

Web links

predecessor Office successor
Max Keller Lord Mayor of Freiburg im Breisgau
Josef Brandel