Philipp Jenninger
KAS-Wirges-Bild-7185-1 (cropped).jpg
Philipp Jenninger in 1987
President of the Bundestag
West Germany
In office
5 November 1984 – 11 November 1988
Preceded byRainer Barzel
Succeeded byRita Süssmuth
German Ambassador to Austria
In office
German Ambassador to the Holy See
In office
Personal details
Born(1932-06-10)10 June 1932
Rindelbach, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Died4 January 2018(2018-01-04) (aged 85)
Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Political partyCDU

Philipp Jenninger (10 June 1932 – 4 January 2018) was a German politician of the Christian Democratic Union and diplomat. He was the President of the Bundestag from 1984 to 1988. He also served as Member of the German Parliament, the Bundestag (1969–1990), Minister of State at the German Chancellery (1982–1984), German Ambassador to Austria (1991–1995) and German Ambassador to the Holy See (1995–1997).

Life and ministerial career

Phillipp Jenninger, whose full name is Philipp-Hariolf Jenninger, was born in 1932 in Rindelbach, now a part of Ellwangen. He studied law at the University of Tübingen, obtaining a doctoral degree in 1957 with a dissertation titled Die Reformbedürftigkeit des Bundesverfassungsgerichts (The necessity of reform of the Federal Constitutional Court) and passing the state examination in 1959. In 1960, he started working in the Bundeswehr administration in Stuttgart. He became an assistant in the Federal Ministry of Defense and later personal assistant and press contact of Federal Minister for the Affairs of the Defence Council Heinrich Krone. After the dissolution of this ministry, he worked from 1966 to 1969 as political assistant of Federal Minister of Finance Franz Josef Strauß.

Between 1982 and 1984, Jenninger served as Minister of State at the German Chancellery, under Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

Bundestag membership and presidency

Jenninger was a member of the Bundestag from 1969 to 1990, always as directly elected representative of a constituency. At first, he represented Crailsheim; after 1976, he represented Schwäbisch Hall.

After Rainer Barzel's resignation, Jenninger was elected President of the Bundestag on 5 November 1984. As President, he made a controversial speech in a special session on 10 November 1988 commemorating the 50th anniversary of Kristallnacht.[1] Jenninger tried to explain the reasons behind German enthusiasm for National Socialism in the 1930s. His speech was presented badly (by his own later admission), as his way of speaking allowed the interpretation that Jenninger didn't sufficiently dissociate himself from the Nazi ideas he referred to, making it hard to distinguish what were his own ideas and what were the "fascinating" (as Jenninger said) Nazi ideas he was just reporting.[2] More than 50 members of parliament walked out during their President's speech in protest.[3] This caused a political storm, and Jenninger resigned his Bundestag presidency on 11 November. He did not stand for reelection as a Bundestag member in the 1990 elections. One year after the incident, Jewish community leader Ignatz Bubis, who later became chairman of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, used several passages of Jenninger's speech verbatim (although he didn't use the word "fascinating"), demonstrating that the content of Jenninger's speech had not been ambiguous, just his performance of it.[4]

Ambassador to Austria and the Holy See

Jenninger served as German ambassador to Vienna, Austria from 1991 to 1995, and as ambassador to the Holy See from 1995 to 1997.

Other offices

Philipp Jenninger was President of the European Movement in Germany from 1985 to 1990, and has since been their honorary President. He was a member of the presidium of Studienzentrum Weikersheim.


Jenninger died on 4 January 2018 in Stuttgart, aged 85.[5][6]



  1. ^ Bonn (North Rhine-Westphalia): newspaper clippings, transcript of speech by Philipp Jenninger, Speaker of the West German Parliament, 1988; November Pogrom, 1938 Commemoration Collection; AR 6342; Box 1; Folder 11; Leo Baeck Institute.
  2. ^ American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Yearbook Vol. 90 Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine, 1990, p. 358.
  3. ^ The New York Times, November 13, 1988, Storm of Protest Archived 2007-12-28 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Peter Schmalz, "Keiner hat etwas gemerkt", Die Welt, 1 December 1995. (in German)
  5. ^ "Philipp Jenninger: Ex-Bundestagspräsident im Alter von 85 Jahren gestorben - SPIEGEL ONLINE". Archived from the original on 2018-04-14. Retrieved 2019-09-10.
  6. ^ "Früherer Bundestagspräsident Philipp Jenninger gestorben". Archived from the original on 2018-03-09. Retrieved 2019-09-10.