Weichmann, Herbert

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WEICHMANN, HERBERT (1896–1983), German politician. The son of a doctor in Silesia, Weichmann became an official in the Weimar government. He was a provincial judge from 1926 to 1927 and from 1927 to 1933 held a number of important governmental posts. With the advent of the Hitler regime, Weichmann left Germany for France, Spain, and finally the United States, where he became a university lecturer. In 1948 Weichmann returned to Germany. At the invitation of the burgomaster of Hamburg he joined the city's administration. He held high positions and was himself eventually elected burgomaster (1965–71). In 1965 Weichmann entered the Bundesrat (the Federal Upper House) as a Social Democrat and became its president. In this capacity, he was acting president of federal Germany in the absence of the president from the country. Weichmann, whose family was killed by the Nazis, regularly attended synagogue services and emphasized his Jewishness at every opportunity. He always rejected the frequent suggestion that he be considered for the presidency of the Federal Republic because he felt that, as Jew, he would be a burden on relations with the Arab world.


W. Schaber, in: Aufbau, 33, no. 26 (1967), 7; W. Winfried, in: Hamburger Bibliographien, 17 (1974); H. Fahning (ed.), Herbert Weichmann zum Gedächtnis… (1983); E. Presser, in: Neues Lexikon des Judentums (2000), 849.

[Monika Halbinger (2nd ed.)]