Wolfgang Thierse

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Wolfgang Thierse at the Berlin Youth Policy Festival 08

Wolfgang Thierse (born October 22, 1943 in Breslau ) is a German politician ( SPD ). From 1998 to 2005 he was President of the German Bundestag and from 2005 to 2013 its Vice-President .


Wolfgang Thierse 2005 in the Martinskirche in Memmingen during the laudation on Gyula Horn on the occasion of the first award of the Memmingen Freedom Prize 1525

education and profession

Wolfgang Thierse was born on October 22, 1943 as the son of a lawyer and a member of the Catholic Center Party (later CDU district member) in Breslau. His grandfather Paul Thierse was a doctor of high school in Breslau, later a senior magistrate and also a member of the Center Party. After being expelled from Breslau, Wolfgang Thierse's family settled in the Thuringian Eisfeld , where Thierse attended high school. He was also a member of the FDJ . After high school at the Extended Secondary School in South Thuringia Hildburghausen he trained as a typesetter at the Thuringian Tageblatt in Weimar .

In 1964, Thierse began studying German and cultural studies at the Humboldt University in Berlin , which he completed in 1969 with a diploma. He then worked as a research assistant to Wolfgang Heise in the Cultural Studies / Aesthetics section of the Humboldt University . The GDR Ministry of Culture , where he worked in the visual arts department from 1975, fired him after he refused to sign a declaration in favor of Wolf Biermann's expatriation .

In 1977 he went to the Central Institute for the History of Literature at the Academy of Sciences in the GDR as a research assistant . There, among other things, he was in charge of the historical dictionary of basic aesthetic terms , which appeared from 2000. Between 1970 and 1987 worked Thierse to the scripts for seven DEFA - documentaries with and comment texts written. In 2003 he presented an audio book with one of the most famous stories by Charles Dickens , A Christmas Story .

Party career

Thierse was non-party until the fall of the Wall and the peaceful revolution, and in October 1989 he joined the New Forum , one of the citizens' movements on the Alliance 90 list . At the beginning of January 1990 he became a member of the Social Democratic Party of the GDR (SDP). After Ibrahim Böhme resigned , Thierse was elected chairman of the GDR SPD at a special party conference on June 9, 1990.

On September 27, 1990, he was elected one of the deputy party leaders at the SPD's unification party convention. He resigned from this office in November 2005, but was still a member of the party executive committee. At the federal party conference of the SPD in Dresden in November 2009, he no longer ran for the party executive committee.

Thierse is the spokesman for the “Christians in the SPD” working group . From 1991 to 2013 he was chairman of the SPD's Fundamental Values ​​Commission and is currently an advisory member there.

Member of Parliament

Wolfgang Thierse, 1990

From March to October 1990 Thierse was a member of the GDR's first freely elected People's Chamber . Here he was initially deputy chairman and from August 21, 1990 chairman of the SPD parliamentary group .

Thierse was one of the 144 MPs elected by the People's Chamber who became members of the German Bundestag on October 3, 1990 . On October 4, 1990, he was elected deputy chairman of the SPD parliamentary group. From December 1990 to December 1991 he was also chairman of the parliamentary group for the New Länder / Germany Policy .

Wolfgang Thierse moved in 1994 , 1998 and 2009 on the national list of Berlin , in the other cases as directly selected delegates of the constituency Berlin-Mitte - Prenzlauer Berg - Weißensee I ( 1990 ) and Berlin-Pankow (since 2002 ) in the Bundestag one. In the 2005 Bundestag election , he received 41.1% of the first votes . In 2009 he lost his direct mandate to Stefan Liebich from the Die Linke party . On August 28, 2012, Thierse announced that he would no longer run for the 2013 federal election.

On October 26, 1998 Thierse was elected President of the German Bundestag with 512: 109: 45 votes and confirmed in office on October 17, 2002 with 357: 219: 20 votes. Thierse received only 59.9 percent of the vote because he was accused from the camp of the Union parties of having conducted his office too partisanly in the last legislative period.

In his first term also fell CDU donations scandal that so far he was concerned, as Parliament President when he qua office was responsible for monitoring compliance with the political parties law and to penalize infringements. He imposed a fine of 7.8 million D-Marks on the CDU and had the state grants to the CDU cut by a total of 41 million D-Marks. He himself said of these events that he would have preferred not to have dealt with them. On the part of the Union, Thierse was attacked several times because of the fines imposed and his non-partisanship was called into question - among other things because Thierse, as President of the Bundestag, continued to serve as deputy SPD party chairman. The Federal Constitutional Court, however, confirmed the legality of this procedure expressly provided for in the Political Parties Act.

Since the CDU / CSU parliamentary group emerged as the strongest parliamentary group from the 2005 Bundestag election, his term of office ended on October 18, 2005. He was elected Vice President of the Bundestag with 417: 136: 52 votes. On October 27, 2009, he was this again with 371: 170: 65 votes, the worst result of all five elected deputies.

In spring 2005 he led a delegation to the mausoleum of the Chinese dictator Mao Zedong .

Other engagement

Thierse has been personally elected member of the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK) for many years , honorary president of the European Movement Germany , of which he was president from 1998 to 2000, patron of the Georg Elser Initiative Berlin and a member of the board of trustees of Aktion Deutschland Hilft e. V., the alliance of aid organizations and member of the advisory board of the Cusanuswerk . Since October 2000 Thierse has been chairman of the board of trustees of the Federal Chancellor Willy Brandt Foundation , which was established in 1994 by the German Bundestag. He was also chairman of the board of directors of the Social Democratic Cultural Forum, which focused on artistic and cultural policy issues, cultural policy programs, culture of remembrance , Berlin culture as well as values ​​and religion. He is a member of the board of trustees of the Carlo Schmid Foundation and of the honorary council of AMCHA Germany , the central organization for psychosocial help for survivors of the Holocaust and their descendants in Israel . Until 2013 Thierse took over the patronage of the treatment center for torture victims . He supports the concern to include the German language with constitutional status in the Basic Law .

In 2019 he joined an open letter to Cardinal Reinhard Marx , published by eight personalities - theologians and well-known Catholics - on February 3, 2019 in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung . It calls for a "new start with sexual morality" with a "sensible and fair assessment of homosexuality", "real separation of powers" in the church and the removal of the excesses of the ordination office and its opening to women. An appeal was made to the German Bishops' Conference to give diocesan priests the freedom to choose their way of life "so that celibacy can again credibly refer to the kingdom of heaven".


Wolfgang Thierse is married to the art historian Irmtraut Thierse (* 1946). The couple have two children and are Catholic. It lives in the Berlin district of Prenzlauer Berg .


Actions against right-wing extremism

Wolfgang Thierse is intensely committed against right-wing extremism , u. a. as patron of the Amadeu Antonio Foundation . He regularly takes part in relevant demonstrations. He has come under fire because he also participates in blockade actions against illegal and properly registered right-wing extremist demonstrations , for example on May 1, 2010 in Berlin. Criminal proceedings opened against him in this connection, including for coercion , were discontinued.

On February 19, 2011, after an action against the right-wing extremist demonstrations planned on that day in Dresden , Wolfgang Thierse said in an interview with the MDR : “The police are just busy protecting the neo-Nazis. [...] That's Saxon democracy . "Because he so in the opinion of the police union and by politicians of the Saxon government coalition principles of separation of powers and fundamental rights spot, as assembly and demonstration in question and in dealing with political opponents Faustrecht cheap, those comments were criticized. Holger Zastrow , parliamentary group leader of the Saxon FDP, called him "Bundestag vice-president intolerable". Andreas Arnold, a senior police officer, reported Thierse for insulting. At the beginning of March 2011, the preliminary proceedings initiated against him were discontinued.

Swabian dispute

In two interviews with Berliner Morgenpost and Spiegel at the turn of the year 2012/2013, Thierse complained that the culture in Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg was suffering from the influx of Swabians and other wealthy Germans, insofar as these newcomers did not adapt enough. After 3000 protest mails, some of which were filled with hate, Thierse welcomed the Swabians to Berlin.

Awards (selection)

Wolfgang Thierse has been an honorary doctor of the Philosophical Faculty of the University of Münster since 2004

Wolfgang Thierse was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit 1st Class in 1993 and the Grand Cross of the Federal Cross of Merit in 1999.

In 2001 he received the Theodor Heuss Prize from the Theodor Heuss Foundation and the Ignatz Bubis Prize for understanding between the city of Frankfurt am Main .

On February 26, 2004, Thierse received an honorary doctorate from the Philosophical Faculty of the Westphalian Wilhelms University of Münster . This award recognizes his special services to the understanding between East and West Germany, the strengthening of democratic awareness in the new federal states and the rejection of radical currents in society.

On November 8, 2005 he received the German Society Award . V. for services to German and European understanding.

Thierse was awarded the Kulturgroschen 2016 by the German Cultural Council , the umbrella organization of federal cultural associations, which was presented to him on March 15, 2016 in Berlin. The President of the German Cultural Council Christian Höppner in his reasoning: As a cultural politician, Wolfgang Thierse has dealt intensively with German history and the role of art and artists in society. As a member of the German Bundestag, he has always stood up for culture and was a moral authority - especially in the form of adequate remembrance of German history. He is one of the most prominent defenders of the cultural institutions and the cultural landscape before dismantling in Germany. He received the Kulturgroschen, the highest award of the German Cultural Council, for this extraordinary life's work in cultural policy.

In 2019, Wolfgang Thierse was awarded the Heckerhut by the SPD district association in Konstanz for his commitment to political discourse in Germany.

Publications (selection)

  • (Ed.): Labor is not a commodity. Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau a. a. 2009, ISBN 978-3-451-30290-9 .
  • (Ed.): Basic values ​​for a just world order. A memorandum of the SPD's Fundamental Values ​​Commission on international politics. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 2003, ISBN 3-518-06720-6 .
  • Future east. Perspectives for East Germany in the middle of Europe. Rowohlt, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-87134-442-7 .
  • (Ed.): Ten years of German unity. A balance sheet. Leske and Budrich, Opladen 2000, ISBN 3-8100-2924-6 .
  • (Ed.): Religion is not a private matter. Patmos-Verlag, Düsseldorf 2000, ISBN 3-491-72430-9 .
  • with Avraham Burg : Parliament in German and Israeli democracy. Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Herzliya 2000.
  • (Ed.): The German Parliament. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart [a. a.] 1999, ISBN 3-17-016148-2 .
  • (Ed.): Can politics still be saved? Viewpoints at the end of the 20th century. Structure, Berlin 1996, ISBN 3-351-02454-1 .
  • Speak with your own voice. Piper, Munich a. a. 1992, ISBN 3-492-03604-X .
  • “But the whole is what has a beginning, middle and end”. Problem-historical observations on the history of the concept of work. In: Weimar Contributions. 36, 1990, pp. 240-264.
  • with Dieter Kliche: GDR literary studies in the 1970s. Comments on the development of their positions and methods. In Weimar contributions. 31, 1985, pp. 267-308.
  • Ernst Barlach's sculpture "The Floating One" between East and West. In: Barlach's Angel. Voices to the Cologne floating. Edited by Antje Löhr-Sieberg and Annette Scholl with the assistance of Anselm Weyer. Greven, Cologne 2011, ISBN 978-3-7743-0481-9 , pp. 54-57.



Web links

Commons : Wolfgang Thierse  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Literature by and about Paul Thierse in the bibliographic database WorldCat
  2. Paul Thierse: The national thought and the imperial idea among the Silesian humanists , Breslau 1908. (Dissertation)
  3. Wolfgang Thierse reports on his training as a typesetter and describes the future of the print media ( memento from October 20, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  4. ^ Head against Walls , portrait for his 65th birthday, General-Anzeiger Bonn, 23 October 2008
  5. "film document - Text: Wolfgang Thierse" ( Memento of 2 February 2009 at the Internet Archive ) program text - Cinema arsenal December of 2007.
  6. The majority will look into the tube. ( Memento of April 14, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Netzeitung , November 14, 2009. Retrieved January 10, 2011.
  7. Election results of the party executive ( memento from July 7, 2012 in the web archive archive.today ) SPD press release from November 14, 2009. Retrieved on January 10, 2011.
  8. Religious Debate in the SPD: Separation of State and Church? For God's sake! In: spiegel.de , August 14, 2011, accessed June 21, 2013.
  9. Thierse is no longer running for the Bundestag.
  10. Hans-Joachim Schabedoth : Our years with Gerhard Schröder. Red-Green government work between departure and demolition. A review. Marburg 2006, p. 133
  11. Klaus Wiegrefe: The great destroyer. In: Der Spiegel . No. 40/2005, October 1, 2005, p. 131.
  12. Noon 2009: 29.
  13. Committees ( memento from June 28, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) on the website of the Willy Brandt Foundation, accessed on May 30, 2014
  14. Kulturforum der Sozialdemokratie - Board of Directors ( Memento from December 15, 2013 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on June 30, 2013
  15. Partner of the Treatment Center for Victims of Torture Funders, supporters and partners ( Memento from June 16, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  16. List of various proponents of "German into the Basic Law" , Association of German Language , "Infobrief" - Issue No. 404 (10/2018)
  17. ^ "Open letter to Cardinal Marx: Demand for upheaval in the Church" , domradio.de , February 3, 2019.
    Other Catholics join the open letter to Marx , domradio.de , February 6, 2019.
  18. bz-berlin.de, accessed on August 5, 2018.
  19. Thierse after sit-down in the criticism. In: The time . May 3, 2010, accessed March 30, 2011 .
  20. Sit-in on May 1st Thierse avoided criminal proceedings. In: Stern . May 20, 2010, accessed March 30, 2011 .
  21. a b Police chief reports Bundestag deputy Thierse. In: Saxon newspaper . February 22, 2011, accessed March 30, 2011 .
  22. Thierse intolerable as Vice President of the Bundestag. (No longer available online.) FDP Saxony, February 25, 2011, archived from the original on May 10, 2012 ; accessed on January 1, 2013 .
  23. Investigations against Thierse stopped. In: Berliner Morgenpost . March 2, 2011, accessed March 30, 2011 .
  24. Swabians should say "Schrippe" - Thierse thinks. In: Berliner Morgenpost . December 31, 2012, accessed January 3, 2013 .
  25. “It's never as proper as in Swabia!” In: Der Spiegel . January 2, 2013, accessed January 3, 2013 .
  26. ^ Thierse makes an offer of peace to Swabia , Augsburger Allgemeine , January 14th
  27. “Spießer, Rassist, Nazi”: 3,000 hate mails to Wolfgang Thierse , Augsburger Allgemeine , January 13th
  28. ^ Awards on the website of Wolfgang Thierse
  29. Super User: 2005 - Deutsche Gesellschaft eV Accessed December 11, 2017 (German).
  30. Kulturgroschen 2016: German Cultural Council honors Wolfgang Thierse ( memento from September 9, 2015 in the web archive archive.today ), accessed on September 9, 2015
  31. Aurelia Scherrer: Ex-Bundestag President now wears the SPD's Hecker hat. In: Südkurier . April 18, 2019.