They affect public life and politics in postwar Germany, while remaining in the shadow of their husbands. The book is about the first lady pays tribute to them.
The first lady of Germany – the wives of the chancellors and presidents of Germany and party leader of the GDR – performed the no less important work than their husbands, but about them little is known. Therefore, the historian, the author of the book “Their side of the story. Germany and its first lady from 1949 to this day” shpekht Heike (Heike Specht), who decided to give them a tribute, and had to spend a lot of time in archives, studying newspaper articles, radio and television broadcasts, official reports, and conduct interviews with the former first lady or their relatives and friends.
Over the past 70 years in German history was 18 the first lady. And every one used the power that she was given this position. And since German law is nowhere spelled out that the responsibility of the first lady, and the field of activity was wide. Some participated in political decision-making on a par with their spouses, while others cared more about the atmosphere: skillfully compensated for the shortcomings of their husbands, have built personal contacts with the leaders of other countries and their wives, was a direct conduit to the people, helping to understand their needs and to predict reaction.
The first lady of Germany
Become a pioneer and pave the path for all other post-war first lady had Elly Heuss-Knapp (Elly Heuss-Knapp). The first Chancellor of postwar Germany, Konrad Adenauer (Konrad Adenauer) was twice a widower. Therefore, in this period the only role the first lady played the wife of the President of Germany, Theodor Heuss (Theodor Heuss), although, in his opinion, she was approached for the role of President more than he does. Born into a family of a University Professor and daughter of Georgian aristocrats, she received an excellent education and spun in intellectual circles. Even before the presidency of Theodore Heuss she earned a living as a teacher and editor, wrote the texts for advertising campaigns, compiled a textbook on Economics for women, made presentations, encouraging women to go to the polls, she was politically active and even, like her husband, passed in state Parliament.
Becoming the first lady, Elly Heuss-Knapp has dedicated himself to the support of women in the difficult postwar years almost single-handedly was taking care of the family experienced financial difficulties. Together with like-minded girls she created the Association of rest homes for mothers (M?ttergenesungswerk), which exists to this day. Since then, the patronage of this Association to adopt the wives of the presidents Germany. But this is not the only example of how the first lady of Germany contributed to the development of the country.
The projects of the first lady
Hilda Heinemann (Heinemann Hilda), third wife of German President Gustav Heinemann (Gustav Walter Heinemann), lobbied for women’s rights and ensured that gender equality was enshrined in the basic law. She raised her topics to her in society voiced: created a Fund with the aim to change the attitude towards the mentally ill, advocated providing support to drug addicts and women serving sentences. The fact that she visited the prison alone, without a spouse, it was for German innovation.
A doctor Mildred Scheel (Scheel Mildred), wife of Federal President Walter Scheel (Walter Scheel), used his popularity to draw attention to the problems of Oncology, and established a Foundation to combat cancer of the Deutsche Krebshilfe. Wife of Richard von weizsäcker (Richard von Weizs?cker) Marianne von weizsäcker (Marianne von Weizs?cker) spoke openly about the problems of HIV-infected and brought the subject out of the taboo zone. Loki Schmidt (Loki Schmidt) together with scientists have made an ecological expedition to a far country and painted ware, the proceeds from the sale of which was founded by her in 1979 the Fund for the protection of nature.
As Ruth Brandt was fascinated by Brezhnev
The reunification of the country and the warming of relations between the West and the East, the first lady also played a role. Ruth Brandt (Rut Brandt) was called a “tactical weapon” of Chancellor Willy Brandt (Willy Brandt). He met her in Sweden, where they were both hiding from persecution by the national socialists. In Berlin, where newly-married couples came back a year before the siege, she quickly fell in love with. Norwegian by birth, she has brought to this city an international flair. Her self-confidence, courage to Express their opinions, sense of humor and sense of style became for many a source of inspiration.
When Willy Brandt became Chancellor, the natural charm of Ruth Brandt helped to Woo foreign politicians – even geostrategic enemies. According to the memoirs of contemporaries, Leonid Brezhnev was absolutely fascinated by it. This is evidenced, for example, the following facts. During a visit to Bonn in 1973, the General Secretary of the CPSU at the end of the official dinner at the Palais Schaumburg asked permission from the Chancellor a few moments separately to communicate with his wife and did not fail to tell her a few jokes. A few days later, visiting the couple Brandt, Secretary General, seeing Ruth immediately went to her and what he did not expect, took her hands in his and kissed one of them. Historians have no doubt that the first lady has contributed to the exhaustion of the political situation.
The wife of another Chancellor Hannelore Kohl (Hannelore Kohl) in his own way influenced the course of history. Born in Berlin and raised in Leipzig, she is constantly reminded of Helmut Kohl (Helmut Kohl) about the “open wound” and the importance of the reunification of the country. Her son in conversation with the author of the book recalls how the family, on the initiative of Hannelore Kohl, went to Germany – home. Later, the development of agreements about the reunion, she not only typed text on a typewriter, but also helped to find the right wording.
How to change the image of the first lady
I wonder how different first ladies were treated to his role. The wife of the father of the economic miracle, the German Chancellor Ludwig Erhard (Ludwig Erhard) Erhard Louise (Luise Erhard), the economist by training, was his most exacting critic on economic issues, but tried to stay out of politics and barely appeared in public. In the story she became more like the initiator of the construction of the Chancery Bungalow in Bonn. It was she who commissioned the Munich architect Zep Rufus (Sep Ruf) to develop the building project, which then was home to several heads of government and for official receptions.
Veronica Carstens (Carstens Veronica), wife of the Federal President Karl Carstens (Karl Carstens), took the role of first lady to a minimum and continued to receive patients in their medical practice five days a week, and the official meetings took Saturday and Sunday. Loki Schmidt turned the position of the first lady in the profession. Her working day lasted 12 – 15 hours. She was accompanied by Helmut Schmidt in the trips, received a lot of letters from residents and diligently respond to them, and itself (then the first lady had no office, no Secretary). A former political commentator and parliamentary correspondent Doris Schroeder-kepf (Doris Schr?der-K?pf) was the chief adviser of her husband and she actively participated in politics, where it continues to be after divorce with Gerhard schröder (Gerhard Schr?der) – as the Deputy of the state Parliament of Lower Saxony.
The first lady of the GDR was not inferior to Western ladies in activity. Lotte Ulbricht (Ulbricht, Lotte), wife of the Chairman of the state Council of the GDR Walter Ulbricht (Walter Ulbricht), was his staff, wrote speeches everywhere accompanied on trips and helped with their great knowledge of the Russian language. In turn, Margot Honecker (Margot Honecker) was not satisfied is much more important for her was her own career: the wife of Secretary General of the SED, Erich Honecker (Erich Honecker) was the Minister of education of the GDR and, according to historians, the most influential woman in East Germany.
The first lady’s image has varied and externally. When the wife of the Federal President Christina Rau (Rau Christina) appeared in Berlin’s Bellevue Palace, where he worked husband, in jeans, and even with three children, the Protocol was in shock. A tattoo on the arm of Bettina Wulff (Bettina Wulff) has caused a scandal in the media and became the subject of public debate. The new first lady, wife of President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier (Frank-Walter Steinmeier) Budenbender Elke (Elke B?denbender), this issue has not yet been given. And the life partner of the current German Chancellor Angela Merkel (Angela Merkel) and do know quite a bit: Joachim Sauer (Joachim Sauer) prefer to do without public attention.