Partner Helene Lange, Gertrud von Sanden

Queer Places:
Bethel-Bielefeld Alter Friedhof Bielefeld, Stadtkreis Bielefeld, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Waldfriedhof Heerstrasse Charlottenburg, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Berlin, Germany

ImmagineGertrud Bäumer (September 12, 1873 in Hohenlimburg - March 25, 1954 in Gadderbaum) was a German women's rights activist and politician. She was a member of the German Democratic Party from 1919 to 1932 and in 1920 became the first woman in Germany to be a ministerial councillor in the Ministry of the Interior of the German Reich. [1] The German Federation of Women’s Associations (Bund Deustcher Frauenvereine), the organization which forbad Alice Salomon’s attendance at the 1915 women’s peace congress at The Hague, featured a devoted couple, the feminist pedagogue Helene Lange, and the writer and politician Gertrud Bäumer: Lange and Bäumer lived together for more than 30 years and they share a ‘Grave of honour’ in a Berlin cemetery.

Gertrud Bäumer came from a family of pastors. The great-grandfather, Wilhelm Bäumer (1783-1848), was a pastor in Bodelschwingh near Lütgendortmund. As a church politician, he advocated the continuation of the presbyterial-synodal constitution in the Prussian province of Westphalia, founded in 1815, and beyond throughout Prussia. Wilhelm Bäumer, who corresponded with Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834), thus belonged to the larger overall context of early ecclesiastical and political constitutionalism. [2] After the early death of her father Emil (1845-1883), ten-year-old Gertrud moved into her grandmother's house with her mother Caroline, née Schede (1850-1929), and her two siblings. In her memoirs, Bäumer describes the emptiness of her mother's life and her economic dependence on kinship as a painful but instructive experience. On the wasteland of the grandmother's house, she writes: "Was this women's life – this spiral around one's own axis?" [3] Her decision to take up a profession was therefore, according to her own statement, clear at an early stage: "I wanted to become a teacher – and had to become a teacher for economic reasons." [4] She attended the "Higher Daughter School" in Halle (Saale) and then completed the teacher seminar in Magdeburg. From 1894 she taught at elementary schools in Halberstadt, Kamen and Magdeburg and was able to support her mother financially. Soon after, through the mediation of an older colleague, she established contacts with the General German Teachers' Association (ADLV), whose chairman Helene Lange made a great impression on her both professionally and personally. In 1898 she moved to Berlin to take the head teacher's examination, which was the prerequisite for starting a course of study. At that time, the study of women was only possible in Prussia with the exception of the individual professors; the enrolment of women was not officially approved until 1908. Bäumer financed her studies herself, among other things through publication work for the women's movement; She did not receive any support from Hoffmann's Family Scholarship, which was granted to every male student of her relative. [5] She studied theology, German studies, philology and economics at the University of Berlin, where she received her doctorate in 1904 on Goethe's Satyros.

Board of the first German Women's Congress in Berlin at the beginning of March 1912. Back row from the left: Elisabeth Altmann-Gottheiner, Martha Voss-Zietz, Alice Bensheimer, Anna Pappritz; Front row from left: Helene von Forster, Gertrud Bäumer, Alice Salomon.

Baumr, like many women of the time, came to the bourgeois women's movement about her profession as a teacher, which at first saw itself as a women's education movement. In Berlin, she came into closer contact with Helene Lange, who was considered the undisputed leader of the teacher movement. Shortly after her arrival in 1898, when Baumr heard through an acquaintance that Lange was increasingly hampered in her work by an eye disease, she offered herself as an assistant. Very quickly, not only a lively joint journalistic work developed, but also an intense friendship, which resulted in a cohabitation that lasted until Helene Lange's death in 1930. Long soon recognized the spiritual potential and above-average performance of the young Gertrud Bäumer and decided to build her up as her successor. Not least at Lange's instigation, Bäumer quickly rose to board positions of the Federation of German Women's Associations (BDF). In 1910 she replaced Marie Stritt as chairman, held the office until 1919 and remained the undisputed most influential figure of the association after this time. [6] During the war, she was instrumental in the establishment of the National Women's Service, a charity that sought to coordinate food supplies and the voluntary use of women within industry and business. [7] Her main work for the women's movement was to work within the BDF and the monthly magazine Die Frau, which is regarded as the mouthpiece of the bourgeois women's movement. In 1916, she and Marie Baum took over the establishment and management (until 1920) of the Social Pedagogical Institute in Hamburg, a higher technical school for welfare nurses. [8] The intensive and close cooperation with the students at that time led to recurring meetings of the former circle in the following years.

Gertrud Bäumer was one of the representatives of a difference feminism, who attributed the stated "female principle" to the task of contributing to the humanization of life. Politically, she identified with the social liberalism of Friedrich Naumann, with whom she worked closely from 1906; From 1912 she was editorially responsible for the cultural part of his magazine Die Hilfe, founded in 1894. After his death in 1919, she temporarily became the sole editor. She also had not only a working group with Naumann, but also an intense friendship. [9] After the amendment of the Prussian association law in 1908 (which had previously prohibited women from entering political parties), Gertrud Bäumer and Helene Lange joined the Freisinnigen Vereinigung, in which Naumann had also been active since 1903. The free-thinking association later emerged from the left-liberal Progressive People's Party (FVP). In 1919, Bäumer, together with Naumann and others, founded the German Democratic Party (DDP), of which she was vice-chairman from 1920 to 1930. [10] In 1919 she moved to the Weimar National Assembly and from 1920 to 1932 had a Reichstag mandate, of which from 1930 to 1932 as a member of the German State Party (DStP), in which the German Democratic Party had recently merged. She did not stand for re-election to the Reichstag in 1932. In 1920, she was also appointed As Ministerial Councillor to the Ministry of the Interior, where she was responsible for the Youth Welfare and Education Units. From 1926 to 1933 she was delegate of the Reich government to the League of Nations in Geneva.

In 1933, after being removed from political office by the Nazis, Bäumer turned more to historical studies, travel and literary work. In the autumn of 1933, she wrote her political autobiography Life Trail through a turn of times,which she apparently understood as a "spiritual confrontation with National Socialism". [11] At the beginning of 1934, she moved with her second partner Gertrud von Sanden to Gießmannsdorf in Silesia (today Gosciszow). In a letter to her uncle Werner Schede, she addressed the dilemma that her continued work under the National Socialists would have presented her with: "So I am dismissed with pension and also taking into account my former teacher's time. Personally, this is the more clean solution for me. If I were in office, I would now have to make, for example, the orders on Jewish children in schools or the impending injunction for history lessons, which is intended to deposition everything that has happened since the collapse [i.O.]. That would be impossible for me." - Letter of 28 April 1933[12] Despite the ban on speaking against her in 1939, she continued to give lectures, especially in evangelical circles. [13] "Your home became a meeting place for friends and a refuge for the persecuted." [14]. Against the sharp criticism of fellow contestants such as Dorothee von Velsen, Anna Pappritz and Marie-Elisabeth Lüders[15] she also decided to continue publishing her magazine Die Frau in collaboration with Frances Magnus-von Hausen, even though this demanded more and more concessions over time, including the inclusion of Nazi content.

Until 1933, Gertrud Bäumer had published her daily political papers mainly in the journal Die Hilfe. In this magazine, which was closely linked to the DDP in terms of personnel and saw itself as a forum for the national-social circle around Naumann, increasing attention was paid to the phenomenon of the emerging National Socialism. When in the autumn of 1923 in Bavaria rumours of a "March on Berlin" (modelled on Mussolini's March on Rome) and conspiracy plans between Hitler and parts of the Reichswehr leadership became increasingly known, Gertrud Bäumer described the events in Bavaria as "unscrupulous struggle for the power of such people, to whom the empire is only worth so much as s i e in it, today as before the world war. And the good and gullible bourgeoisie is following them and, with the toll of its sufferings, disappointed hopes and good paternal feelings, makes a popular movement out of a coup d'état of the old 'society'." [17] When the so-called Hitler coup actually took place on 9 November 1923, she commented with resignative words: "What is worse than this tragi-comic gimmick is the fact that this class offensive has also energised Republican parties and has broken or paralyzed their power to defend the Republic. The economic rulers in Germany are, at best, rational republicans." [18] With the increasing success of the "movement", she warned that "the political victory of this wave of sentiment [...] the German collapse [would be]. More dangerous than these sentiments themselves is the fact that even those who do not share them do not see all their danger." [19] Hitler's Mein Kampf called it an "astonishingly confused book,"[20]; their verdict on National Socialism remained negative: "National Socialism, whatever is valuable in it, is more destructive than uplifting for so long than its leaders act irresponsibly: irresponsibly in the demotion of opponents, which is not restrained by any sense of truth, irresponsible in the demagogic and falsified depiction of the German situation and the balance of power, irresponsible in the unscrupulous 'appeal to the pig dog in man', as was rightly said in the Reichstag, irresponsible in the unrestrained exploitation of the inability to judge and in the abuse of the power." [21] She herself hoped for a renewal of the center,[22] although she was aware of the fact that the divisiveness of the parties made it difficult to achieve a common political profile of the "middle". The basis for them, however, always had to be "the preservation of civil freedom in the spirit of the Reich Constitution". [23] However, it did not reject all the ideas and goals of National Socialism from the outset. She recognized very well that the National Socialists were successful not only because of their "technique of mass processing"[24]. The conglomerate of ideas as presented in the Nazi ideology addressed a variety of different interests. There could be no discussion about the inhumane anti-Semitism and the "internal political atrocity propaganda"[25] of this party, which wanted to be a "movement". Undoubtedly, however, the NSDAP was able to fill a deficit in party politics, even if only through promises. Bäumer took seriously the emotional crisis that she believed was manifested in the successes of the National Socialists. It was important to her to reform parliamentarism, which in her opinion threatened to develop more and more into small-believing particularindividualism of interests. [26] The semantic proximity of the terms "national-social", as the AidCircle called itself, and the "National Socialist" of the NSDAP led to a very special attention to this party. Gertrud Bäumer saw the main difference, however, in the fact that in Naumann "National Socialism connected with democracy",[27] and was carried on in this sense. The "Epigone[n] a la Hitler", which Bäumer called "hysterical foam bats", made them angry at their "economic-political fantasy"[28]: "If what is now called National Socialism, not, flattened and run away at the same time, in his thought work remained claster-deep below the level at which the old National Socials worked, serious youth, who in the dark time are looking for a goal and a way, would have to find a connection here – some individual reshaping and reshaping, but following the general idea, which lifts socialism out of Marxist narrowness and as a task of the nation." [29] When she had to watch the spectacle of the NSDAP deputies in party uniform at the opening of the Reichstag on 13 October 1930, she wrote: "A hot protest stands in one against the will to violence, which expresses itself renommistically in the elevator of this force." [30] Gertrud Bäumer refused to engage in a discussion of the content or even a cooperation with the National Socialists. Rather, it is necessary to fight, "... against a power that wants to replace the citizen with the political soldier at the expense of respect for the living conscience of the individual and by forcibly decommissioning all other views – something at its core un-German, un-Germanic. Only by ruthlessly combating this new german-people's edition of an outrageous Byzantineism will the real and powerful of the movement be freed from a nasty and very unracial alloy!" [31] Bäumer's critical but ultimately lavish attitude towards National Socialism is symptomatic of her reformist and state-supporting approach: her efforts were to improve within systems, whatever systems they were. In the time of National Socialism, however, she agreed to compromises that were no longer sustainable for most of her fellow women in the women's movement. [32]

After her impeachment in 1933 and her move to Gießmannsdorf together with Gertrud von Sanden, she devoted herself more to her writing activities and in the following years undertook study trips to Switzerland and Italy with Ludwig Nießen and Sanden's daughter Isabel Hamer. In 1936 she was created in an extensive work by Adelheid – Mother of the Kingdoms. Bäumer had believed until the very end that, despite considerable concessions to censorship and other press regulations, the publication of women could still convey remnants of women-moving content – an optimism that hardly any of her former companions still shared. In addition to self-censorship, companions such as Anna Pappritz, Marie-Elisabeth Lüders, Alice Salomon and Dorothee von Velsen also accused her of not distinguishing herself or only insufficiently from Nazi anti-Semitism. In 1944, she and Frances Magnus-von Hausen finally stopped the appearance of the woman due to a lack of paper. In the winter of 1945 Bäumer fled with the grandson of her now deceased partner to Saalfeld/Saale (Körnerstraße 6) and on to Bamberg. She tried to participate in the political construction of the Federal Republic and in particular in the reconstruction of a women's movement, but found that it was precisely in the women's organizations of the post-war period that her lavish behaviour in the era of National Socialism was interpreted as opportunism and that her conception of women's politics was no longer up-to-date. She was also active in the founding circle of the Christian Social Union (CSU). Bäumer gave some lectures, especially on theological and historical topics, but soon began to suffer from atherosclerosis, which gradually made public activity impossible for her. Gertrud Bäumer moved with her sister Else Bäumer (1875-1959) to Bad Godesberg in 1949. At the beginning of 1954 she was transferred to the Bodelschwingh institutions in Bethel (Bielefeld), where she died on 25 March. She is buried in the local cemetery. At the grave monument of the honorary tomb of the state of Berlin for Helene Lange at the cemetery Heerstraße in Berlin-Westend, an inscription in memoriam reminds of Gertrud Bäumer. [33]

My published books:

See my published books