- Louise Schroeder
Louise Dorothea Schroeder (b.
2 April 1887in Altona (Elbe); d. 4 June 1957in Berlin) was a German politicianof the SPD party. She was the first female member of the Bundestagduring the Weimar Republic. An educator and activist central in the "Arbeiterwohlfahrt" movement, and she was under scrutiny of the Naziparty during the 1930s and 1940s for her socialist positions. After the division of Germany following World War II, she served as mayor of West Berlinfrom 1948–1951.
Life and work
Schroeder had a significant part in the establishment of the "Arbeiterwohlfahrt" (Workers Welfare Institution) and from 1925 worked as a lecturer in its school in Berlin. She also held a teaching position at the German University of Politics, now the
Otto-Suhr-Institut für Politikwissenschaft(Otto-Suhr Institute for Political Studies) until she was disqualified by the Nazis. Up to the end of the Second World War, she spent time in Hamburg, Berlin and Denmark, even though repeatedly summoned to interrogations.
In 1948 Schroeder belonged to the foundation committee of the Freie Universität Berlin (
Free University of Berlin).
While she was engaged in Socialist Labour movement from early on, the SPD party arrived, allowing the discovery for topics such as social politics and the equalisation of women.
From 1946 to 1951 she was joint editor with Otto Suhr in Berlin of a theoretical fortnightly publication entitled "Das sozialistische Jahrhundert" ("The social century").
From 1919 she was one of the youngest members of the assembly of constituents of the
Weimar Republicand with the introduction of the female right to vote, became the first female Member of the Bundestag. She held this position until the Nazis seized power in 1933.
After 1945 she worked to restore German democracy, initially as a member of the city council (until
1 February) and from 1949 until her death in 1957 as a member of European Parliament.
Social politician Otto Suhr pushed for her becoming Mayor, given her already well renowned political activities. Due to various tensions in town councils and municipalities, the first postwar mayor
Otto Ostrowskistepped down from his position, allowing for Ernst Reuterto be elected into office in June 1947. However he was not allowed to undertake this position due to soviet objection. Consequently, Louise Schroeder undertook this position from 8 May 1947until 7 December 1948, after which she then became Mayor of West Berlinuntil 18 January 1951. To this day she stands as the only woman to have reached this political highpoint of Berlin.
Louise Schroeder was awarded the Great Cross of Merit with Star and Shoulder Ribbon of the
Bundesverdienstkreuz(Federal Cross of Merit).
2 April 1957she was named honorary mayor of Berlin. A square in the Wedding district of Berlin was named after her and later in 1998, the Louise Schroeder Medal was founded.
Since then, the
Louise-Schroeder-Gymnasiumin Munichwas named after her, as well as a conference room of Hamburg Airport, and a street in her birthplace of Hamburg-Altona.
* [http://berlin.spd.de/servlet/PB/menu/1019314/ Short biography of Louise Schroeder on the Berlin SPD website] (German)
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