Adam Stegerwald

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Stegerwald in 1931 Adam Stegerwald JS2.jpg
Stegerwald in 1931

Adam Stegerwald (14 December 1874, Greußenheim, Lower Franconia – 3 December 1945) was a German Catholic politician and a leader of the left wing of the Centre Party.

Greußenheim Place in Bavaria, Germany

Greußenheim is a municipality in the district of Würzburg in Bavaria, Germany.

Lower Franconia Regierungsbezirk in Bavaria, Germany

Lower Franconia is one of seven districts of Bavaria, Germany. The districts of Lower, Middle and Upper Franconia make up the region of Franconia.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.


Under the Empire

The son of a farmer attended from 1881-88 the primary school in Greußenheim. In Würzburg he learned the profession of a carpenter. In 1893, he entered the Catholic Gesellenverein in Günzburg (Swabia).

The Gesellenvereine were German Roman Catholic societies set up in the nineteenth century. They were originated by Adolph Kolping, surnamed the Journeymen's Father (Gesellenvater). They had for aims the religious, moral, and professional improvement of young workers.

Günzburg Place in Bavaria, Germany

Günzburg is a Große Kreisstadt and capital of the district of Günzburg in the Swabian district of Bavaria. This district was constituted in 1972 by combining the city of Günzburg – which had not previously been assigned to a Kreis (district) – with the district of Günzburg and the district of Krumbach.

Swabia historical and cultural region of Germany

Swabia is a cultural, historic and linguistic region in southwestern Germany. The name is ultimately derived from the medieval Duchy of Swabia, one of the German stem duchies, representing the territory of Alemannia, whose inhabitants interchangeably were called Alemanni or Suebi.

From 1900 to 1902 he was a private listener of Lujo Brentano for two semesters for economics and special economics at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. From 1903-05 he attended lectures at the Graduate School of Cologne. From 1916-19, he was a member of the board of the Reichsernähungsamt. From 1917-18 he belonged to the Prussian House of Lords.

Lujo Brentano German economist and social reformer

Ludwig Joseph Brentano was an eminent German economist and social reformer.

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich university in Munich, Germany

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich is a public research university located in Munich, Germany.

Cologne Place in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

Cologne is the largest city of Germany's most populous federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and its 1 million+ (2016) inhabitants make it the fourth most populous city in Germany after Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich. The largest city on the Rhine, it is also the most populous city both of the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Region, which is Germany's largest and one of Europe's major metropolitan areas, and of the Rhineland. Centred on the left bank of the Rhine, Cologne is about 45 kilometres (28 mi) southeast of North Rhine-Westphalia's capital of Düsseldorf and 25 kilometres (16 mi) northwest of Bonn. It is the largest city in the Central Franconian and Ripuarian dialect areas.

During the Weimar Republic

As a representative of the Christian trade unions he signed on 15 November 1918 the "Arbeitsgemeinschaftsabkommen" between the employer's association and the trade unions. From 1919-29 he became the head of the Christian German Union Federation (DGB). He was from 1919 to 1920 a member of the National Assembly. He belonged to the 'Committee for the preliminary discussion of the draft constitution for the German Empire' of the National Assembly. From March 1919 to November 1921 he was Prussian Minister for People's Welfare. From April to November 1921 he held both the office of the Prussian Minister-president, from April 1929 to March 1930 that of the Minister for Transports, from March 1930 to May 1932, the Minister for employment.

Weimar National Assembly 20th-century constitutional convention in Germany

The Weimar National Assembly was the constitutional convention and de facto parliament of Germany from 6 February 1919 to 6 June 1920. The assembly drew up the new constitution which was in force from 1919 to 1933, technically remaining in effect even until the end of Nazi rule in 1945. It convened in Weimar, Thuringia and is the reason for this period in German history becoming known as the Weimar Republic.

A minister-president or minister president is the head of government in a number of European countries or subnational governments with a parliamentary or semi-presidential system of government where he or she presides over the council of ministers. It is an alternative term for prime minister, premier, chief minister, or first minister and very similar to the title of president of the council of ministers.

Nazi Regime

As Minister of Labour in the cabinet of his former personal assistant Heinrich Brüning he tried to save under the conditions of the Great Depression at least the basics of the Weimar welfare state. He failed therein because of the resistance of the Heavy industry. On February 21, 1933, he was attacked at an election rally in Krefeld by Nazis. [1]

Heinrich Brüning German chancellor

Heinrich Aloysius Maria Elisabeth Brüning was a German Centre Party politician and academic, who served as Chancellor of Germany during the Weimar Republic from 1930 to 1932.

Great Depression 20th-century worldwide economic depression

The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression that took place mostly during the 1930s, beginning in the United States. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations; in most countries it started in 1929 and lasted until the late-1930s. It was the longest, deepest, and most widespread depression of the 20th century. In the 21st century, the Great Depression is commonly used as an example of how intensely the world's economy can decline.

Heavy industry collective term for mining, iron industry and steel industry

Heavy industry is industry that involves one or more characteristics such as large and heavy products; large and heavy equipment and facilities ; or complex or numerous processes. Because of those factors, heavy industry involves higher capital intensity than light industry does, and it is also often more heavily cyclical in investment and employment.

In March 1933, he led together with Ludwig Kaas and Albert Hackelsberger negotiations with Adolf Hitler. Afterwards the Centre party agreed to the Enabling Act. From 1933-34 he was indicted, along with Wilhelm Marx and Heinrich Brauns, in the trial of the Cologne Volksverein Verlag in his capacity as board member of the National Association for Catholic Germany. On 30 July 1934, he submerged temporarily. [2]

After the 20 July plot, he was temporarily arrested under the Aktion Gitter . From August 24, October 19, 1944 he was detained by the Gestapo in Würzburg prison. [3] During the time of Nazi Germany he had no influence.

After the war

In 1945, he was appointed at the behest of the American occupation forces for District President of the district of Lower Franconia. Stegerwald became the leading head of the Würzburg group that was instrumental in the founding of the Christian Social Union in Bavaria in the summer and autumn of 1945, in addition to the Munich group around Josef Müller.

Adam Stegerwald died in December 1945 from pneumonia, eleven days before his 71st birthday.[ where? ]


Preceded by
Otto Braun
Prime Minister of Prussia
Succeeded by
Otto Braun

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  1. Die Niederrheinische Volkszeitung berichtete am 22. Februar 1933 über den Vorfall unter der Überschrift Zentrumsversammlung von Nationalsozialisten gesprengt: „Dramatisch gestaltete sich die Lage, als ein kleiner Trupp das Podium stürmte, auf Stegerwald eindrangen und ihm mehrere Kopfhiebe beibrachte. Ein Schlag war so heftig geführt, dass der Bügel der Brille eine blutige Wunde am Ohr hinterließ.“ – „Sie schlugen den früheren Minister Stegerwald mit Kopfhieben nieder, ohne dass die Polizei zu Hilfe kam“. (in: Wilhelm Hoegner: Die verratene Republik. 1958, S. 345)
  2. „Während der Röhm-Affaire stand er mit Heinrich Brüning auf der Liste derjenigen, die beseitigt werden sollten. Doch verhinderten, wie er in seinem ersten Lebenslauf nach 1945 schrieb, der Reichspräsident und einflussreiche Kreise der Reichswehr den Plan der Nationalsozialisten. Auf Empfehlung einer ausländischen Botschaft verließ er für kurze Zeit Berlin und lebte drei Monate im Exil“ (vgl. Helmut J. Schnorr: Adam Stegerwald, Gewerkschafter, Politiker der ersten deutschen Republik. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der christlich-sozialen Bewegung in Deutschland. 1966.)
  3. „Dort scheint ihm die Realität des Dritten Reiches aufgegangen zu sein. Nach dem Zeugnis des Würzburger Kunsthistorikers Kurt Gerstenberg (1886–1968), der zusammen mit Stegerwald eine Gefängniszelle teilte, hat sich der Exminister außerordentlich tapfer gezeigt und die Quälereien und Bitternisse der Haft mit stoischer Ruhe ertragen. Allerdings scheint seine robuste Gesundheit durch die Inhaftierung gelitten zu haben“ (vgl. Rudolf Morsey: Zeitgeschichte in Lebensbildern – Aus dem deutschen Katholizismus des 20. Jahrhunderts. Band 1, 1973, S. 216.).