Eugen Bolz
5th State President of Württemberg
In office
1928–1933
Preceded byWilhelm Bazille
Succeeded byWilhelm Murr
Personal details
Born15 December 1881
Rottenburg am Neckar, Kingdom of Württemberg, German Empire
Died23 January 1945 (aged 63)
Plötzensee Prison, Berlin, Third Reich
Political partyCentre Party
Spouse(s)Maria Hoeneß (m. 1920)
Children1

Eugen Anton Bolz (15 December 1881 – 23 January 1945) was a German politician and a member of the resistance to the Nazi régime.

Life

Born in Rottenburg am Neckar, Eugen Bolz was his parents' twelfth child. His father, Joseph Bolz, was a salesman. His mother was Maria Theresia Bolz (née Huber). Three days later he was baptized on December 27, 1881, in the former Stiftskirche St. Moritz. He married in 1920 Maria Hoeness from Ulm; they had one daughter. Through his wife's family, Bolz was the uncle of Cardinal Paul Augustin Mayer (1911–2010).

Career

Bolz took his abitur in 1900 at the Karls-Gymnasium in Stuttgart.[1] He was involved in the Windthorstbund, the youth organization of the Centre Party (Germany).

From 1900, he studied law at the University of Tübingen and at the universities of Bonn (1901) and Berlin (1901/02). He became a member of the Catholic student associations AV Guestfalia Tübingen, the KDStV Bavaria Bonn and the KAV Suevia Berlin, all in the CV. At the KAV Suevia Berlin he met the centre politician Felix Porsch who caused him to become a politician after graduation. In 1902, he continued his studies in Tübingen and graduated in 1905 from the first state examination. He then completed the traineeship in Rottenburg, Ravensburg and Stuttgart. After Bolz had passed second state examination in 1909, he worked as a laborer at the prosecution of Ulm. From 1911 to 1914, he worked as an assessor at the Stuttgart prosecution. During World War I he served as lieutenant in the Western Front in Alsace [2] Not long after finishing his studies in Bonn and Berlin, he latched onto politics as a career and joined the Centre Party, which he represented in the Reichstag from 1912 to 1933, and from 1915 to 1933, also in the Württemberg Landtag. In Württemberg, he became Justice Minister in 1919 and Interior Minister in 1923.

At the time when the National Socialists seized power in 1933, Bolz was Württemberg's Staatspräsident – the first Catholic to hold the position in predominantly Protestant Württemberg – and also Interior Minister. Since he was an adherent of Catholic social teaching, which made no secret of its loathing for the Nazis, it was no surprise that Bolz was one of the new régime's greatest opponents. Owing to this, he was forced from office early in 1933 and wound up spending several weeks in a concentration camp. Led by the party whip, Bolz's party approved the new Ermächtigungsgesetz ("Enabling Act") on 23 March 1933, even though it weighed heavily on their conscience.

After being released from the concentration camp, Bolz moved back to Beuron, near Ulm. There, he forswore politics for a while, busying himself mainly with economic issues, papal social encyclicals, and Catholic Action. During this time of involuntary retirement, he sometimes did work as a tax advisor, and he always knew that the Gestapo were watching him.

In late 1941 and early 1942, he came into contact with the resistance circle about Carl Friedrich Goerdeler. Bolz readily declared that he would like to take over a ministerial post in the new government after Hitler was overthrown. Goerdeler put him down as Culture Minister in the cabinet that he foresaw having to put together. Among other things, this would have meant that Bolz would be taking Goebbels's place.

However, on 20 July 1944, Goerdeler's plan fell apart when Claus von Stauffenberg's attempt to kill Hitler at the Wolf's Lair in East Prussia failed. Bolz was arrested on 12 August 1944, and on 21 December, he was sentenced to death at the German "People's Court" (Volksgerichtshof). He was beheaded at Plötzensee Prison in Berlin on 23 January 1945.

Eugen Bolz at the Volksgerichtshof
Eugen Bolz at the Volksgerichtshof

There is a memorial to Eugen Bolz in the form of a bronze plaque at the house where he was born, at Königstraße 53 in Rottenburg am Neckar. It bears, among other things, the Latin inscription "TIMOR DOMINI INITIUM SAPIENTIAE" — "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom". The grammar school that he went to is now called the Eugen-Bolz-Gymnasium. A Catholic private school in Bad Waldsee and a Realschule in Ellwangen – both in Baden-Württemberg – are also named for him. One of the sitting rooms at the Baden-Württemberg Landtag is named after him. In downtown Stuttgart, at the Königsbau, stands a monument to Eugen Bolz.

Stuttgart memorial Eugen Bolz
Stuttgart memorial Eugen Bolz

In 2004, a new bell at the church where Bolz was baptized, St. Moriz in Rottenburg am Neckar, was named after him. Many other buildings, streets and squares in Germany are likewise connected with the name Eugen Bolz.

Eugen Bolz Study Endowment

Since 1994, there has been an "Eugen Bolz Study Endowment" (Studienstiftung Eugen Bolz). This endowment is for study and education, and is closely associated with the Cartellverband der katholischen deutschen Studentenverbindungen (CV). It affords students an education in democracy and civics.

Quotes

Literature

References

  1. ^ Karls-Gymnasium Stuttgart (Hrsg.):125 Jahre Karls-Gymnasium Stuttgart, Stuttgart 2006
  2. ^ Peter Henkel: "Der Sklavenstaat muss verschwinden". In: Kontext, Ausgabe 195, 24. Dezember 2014.

Sources