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Luitpold Steidle
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-40306-0012, Weimar, 8. CDU-Parteitag cropped to highlight LS.jpg
Luitpold Steidle (1956)
Born 12 March 1898
Ulm, Württemberg, Germany
Died 27 July 1984
Weimar, Thuringia, Germany
Nationality German
Occupation Army officer
Politician
Political party NSDAP
CDU
Spouse(s) Elisabeth Driessen (26 September 1922)
Children Ludger Steidle
Hiltrud Steidle

Luitpold Steidle (born Ulm 12 March 1898: died Weimar 27 July 1984) was a German army office and an East German politician. During his political career he belonged to the CDU.[1]

He was described by Der Spiegel in 1947 as a "refreshingly open-minded man with a narrow distinctive face, in his late 40s".[2][3]

LifeEdit

In 1898 Luitpold Steidle was born into a catholic family in Ulm, in the Kingdom of Württemberg, which less than thirty years earlier had been incorporated into the German Empire. His father was a senior military judge.[1]

He attended secondary school in Munich before joining the army in 1915. By the end of the war he had reached the rank of lieutenant. He immediately resumed his education, from 1918 attending what was then known as the Technical High School (College) in Munich, where he studied Agricultural sciences.[4] However, he then switched to a more hands-on training. He learned farming at Hohenpolding and at Grasselfing (Olching), both located a short distance to the west of Munich.[4]

In 1922[1] he set himself up as an independent farmer in Loibersdorf (Aying),[4] between Munich and Rosenheim. In 1926 he took a job as a merchandise inspector, and in 1928 as a stud-inspector near Kassel, in Beberbeck, one of the country's leading stud centres. However, with the steady increase in mechanised agriculture and the general economic decline the stud business was itself under pressure and the principal stud at Beberbeck business went into liquidation in 1929, even though business activity did not come to an immediate halt. On 1 May 1933 Steidle joined the Nazi Party which had seized power in January 1933 and spent the intervening months consolidating its own power and banning other political parties in Germany. He lost his job in 1933 and a period of unemployment followed. He worked briefly as an insurance agent during 1934 before rejoining the army at the end of the year, recovering immediately the officer's rank that he had held when decommissioned in 1918.[1]

He was promoted to the rank of colonel in 1942 and sent to fight on the Russian front as a regimental commander. In 1943 he was caught up in the Battle of Stalingrad. He survived, but was taken prisoner of war by the Soviets. While in captivity he was a founder member of the German Officers' League (BDO / Bund Deutscher Offiziere),[1] an organisation created under the presidency of Walther von Seydlitz to promote an accommodation between the Soviet Union and Germany in order to avoid the destruction of the latter after further bloodshed. Understandably, the BDO enjoyed the support of their Soviet captors.[5] One precondition for the BDO's objective to have become a realistic proposition would have been the successful removal from power of Adolf Hitler. This did not happen for another two years. In the meanwhile, as the BDO's Vice-president (and one of its most persuasive speakers) Luitpold Steidle was sentenced to death[1] in absentia by the German state, as he describes in the volume of his memoirs that covers this period.[4]

Till the end of the war, during his time in Soviet detention, Steidle served as representative of the National Committee for a Free Germany. When he returned to what had been Germany, it was to the part that had become the Soviet Occupation Zone (SBZ / Sowjetische Besatzungszone), and was beginning the transformation into the stand-alone state, East Germany. After the war, between 1945 and 1948, Steidle was vice-president of the German Agriculture and Forestry Division in the SBZ.[1] In 1946, as a Roman Catholic, he joined the Christian Democratic Union (CDU / Christlich-Demokratische Union Deutschlands) in East Germany, although it was already becoming apparent that for the foreseeable future the CDU, like the country in which it operated, was destined to operate separately from its West German namesake. Between 1948 and 1949 he took over as deputy chairman of the German Economic Commission in the SBZ/East Germany.[1]

In October 1949 Steidle was elected/nominated[6] to the Provisional People's Chamber (Volkskammer). He remained a member of the (after 1950 no longer "provisional") (Volkskammer) till 1971. He held office from 1949 till 1950 as Minister for Work and Health, and from 1950 till 1958 as Minister for Health.[1][7] He also provided advice on the creation of the National People's Army (NVA / Nationale Volksarmee), established in 1956 (following a period during which the wartime allies, including the Soviet Union, had agreed that permitting Germany an army was inappropriate).

From 1960 till his retirement in 1969 Luitpold Steidle was mayor of Weimar, where afterwards he continued to live.[1][8]

AwardsEdit

Luitpold Steidle received the usual awards conferred on politicians by states with that use Honours Systems. He was also, in 1956, made an Honorary Senator of Greifswald University and, in 1972, an Honorary Member of the Presidential Council of the Kulturbund (Culture League).[1]

PublicationsEdit

  • Das Nationalkomitee Freies Deutschland, Burgscheidungen 1960
  • Das Große Bündnis, Burgscheidungen 1963
  • Entscheidung an der Wolga, Berlin 1969
  • Dokumente Familienarchiv, Bayreuth, 2010

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 "Steidle, Luitpold * 12.3.1898, † 27.7.1984 CDU-Funktionär, Minister für Gesundheitswesen, Oberbürgermeister von Weimar". Bundesstiftung zur Aufarbeitung der SED-Diktatur: Biographische Datenbanken. http://www.bundesstiftung-aufarbeitung.de/wer-war-wer-in-der-ddr-%2363%3B-1424.html?ID=3386. Retrieved 3 December 2014. 
  2. "...ein frischer, aufgeschlossener Mann mit schmalem, markantem Gesicht, Ende der vierzig."
  3. "Aus dem Handgelenk: Die letzte Bastion". Der Spiegel (online). 13 December 1947. http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-41123867.html. Retrieved 3 December 2014. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Luitpold Steidle (1969). Entscheidung an der Wolga. Berlin: Union-Verlag VOB. pp. 61–64. 
  5. Hermann-Ernst Schauer. "Sinnloses Blutvergießen endlich beenden: Über die Gründung und das Wirken des Bundes Deutscher Offiziere". Verband Deutscher in der Résistance, den Streitkräften der Antihitlerkoalition und der Bewegung Freies Deutschland" (DRAFD), Frankfurt am Main. http://www.drafd.de/?DrafdInfo201008_BDO. Retrieved 4 December 2014. 
  6. Following the establishment of an electoral structure for the October 1950 "election", a voter simply took the ballot paper, which contained only one name, and dropped it into the ballot box. A voter could vote against the candidate by crossing out his or her name, but had to do so in a separate voting booth without any secrecy. Between 1950 and 1986 recorded Participation always exceeded 98% and "yes" votes always exceeded 99% of votes cast.
  7. "VOLKSÄRZTE / MEDIZIN Genese schneller, Genosse". Der Spiegel (online). 13 May 1953. http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-25656377.html. Retrieved 5 December 2014. 
  8. "Sowjetische Delegationen auf DDR-Rundreise: Nach zweiwöchigem Aufenthalt in Weimar wurde am Montagvormittag die vom- Stellvertreter des Ministers für Kultur der UdSSR 1.1. Zwetkow geleitete, sowjetische Freundschafts- und Regierungsdelegation von Oberbürgermeister Luitpold Steidle und weiteren ..". Neues Deutschland (online archive). 14 November 1967. https://www.nd-archiv.de/ausgabe/1967-11-14. Retrieved 5 December 2014. 

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