Annemarie Renger

Annemarie Renger (née Wildung), (7 October 1919 in Leipzig – 3 March 2008 in Remagen-Oberwinter), was a German politician for the "Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands" (Social Democratic Party of Germany – SPD).

From 1972 until 1976 she served as the 5th President of the Bundestag. She was the first woman to hold this office and the first women to hold one of the five highest federal offices of the Federal Republic of Germany.

She was nominated as the presidential candidate of the SPD in 1979, the first woman to be nominated for President by a major party.

Annemarie Renger
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F039421-0028, Hannover, SPD-Bundesparteitag, Renger
Annemarie Renger in 1973
President of the Bundestag
(West Germany)
In office
Preceded byKai-Uwe von Hassel
Succeeded byKarl Carstens
Vice President of the Bundestag
(on proposal of the SPD-group)
In office
Preceded byHermann Schmidt-Vockenhausen
Succeeded byHelmut Becker
Personal details
Born7 October 1919
Leipzig, Germany
Died3 March 2008 (aged 88)
Remagen, Germany
Political partySPD
only SPD predecessors and successors in her office of Vice President are mentioned


Annemarie Renger attended the "Augusta-Lyzeum" in Berlin, an all female high school. Her scholarship was withdrawn and she was forced to leave the institution in 1934 after it was found out that her parents' political attitude did not coincide with that of the ruling Nazi party. Renger instead entered vocational training to become, and worked as, a bookseller and publisher in Berlin.

Later she worked as a private secretary for Kurt Schumacher, the leader of the Social Democratic Party. In 1946 she became office manager for the SPD party executive committee in Hannover and later in Bonn.


Annemarie Renger's family was rooted in the social democratic movement. Her grand father was an active party member. Annemarie was one of seven children to Fritz Wildung (1872–1954; a carpenter, SPD politician and sports executive) and his wife Martha (1881–?) who joined the SPD in 1908—the first year women in Germany were eligible to join political parties. In 1924, her father became executive director of the "Zentralkommission für Arbeitersport" ("Central Committee for Workers' Sports") in Berlin. The Nazis prohibited him from working and persecuted him.


In 1938, Annemarie Renger married Emil Ernst Renger, an advertising manager, who was killed in 1944 while on military duty in France. Their son, Rolf Renger (1938–1998), later a member of the Free Democratic Party (FDP), whom she survived, did not get to know his father. Annemarie Renger's husband died when she was 26 years old, also having lost three of her brothers to war.

In 1945, she met Kurt Schumacher, and became his closest confidant and partner until his death in 1952. In 1965, Annemarie Renger married Aleksandar Loncarevic, an economist from Yugoslavia. Their marriage lasted until his death in 1973. After 1965, the couple lived in Oberwinter near Bonn.

Political career

Renger's association with the SPD continued through the horror of the Nazi regime. After the fall of the Hitler regime she wanted to take use of the newly gained liberty:

Before us lay the rubble of Germany. I was firmly determined to get myself involved in politics, and to participate in building a democratic Germany. I wanted to help ensure that the world would never experience war again.”

Party career

Annemarie Renger became a member of the SPD in 1945. On 1 October, she took up the position of a private secretary to Kurt Schumacher. She later said that since the age of 10, she had wanted to later become a “party secretary”. Upon reading one of his speeches titled “Wir verzweifeln nicht” (“We do not despair”) her attention was called to the Kurt Schumacher, leader of the Social Democratic Party, who had been tortured in the concentration camps by the Nazis. She wanted to meet the author of these lines.

The famous photograph showing Annemarie Renger supporting the very ill and amputated (one foot and one arm) Kurt Schumacher[1] has become an icon of German post-war history.[2]

After the 1972 federal election, the SPD held a plurality of seats and thus, with the support of the Free Democrats, on 13 December 1972, was able to elect her as President of the Bundestag.

Since 1973, Renger had been a member of the SPD "federal party committee" as well as the party's chairmanship. From 1979 until 1983, she served in the party's "control commission". In addition to Egon Franke, Annemarie Renger was considered a leading member of the so-called "Kanalarbeiterriege" (engl. "Sewage Workers Guild"), a powerful group of SPD members of the Bundestag in the years 1957 through 1982. Their political orientation was rather conservative and union-friendly. In 1982, the "Sewage Workers Guild" merged with the Seeheimer Kreis.

Candidacy for the Office of Federal President

In 1979, Annemarie Renger was nominated by her party as a candidate for the Office of the Federal President (Bundespräsident), but lost by a margin of 431 to 528 electoral votes to Karl Carstens, the candidate of the CDU and CSU parties. The 66 electoral delegates seated by the Free Democratic Party (FDP) abstained.

She not only perceived the SPD [party] as a political interest group but, foremost, as a community of like-minded people. This community not only appealed to the mind, but to heart and emotion, as well. Here she learned to not only contemplate, but to comprehend the world. Hier lernte sie die Welt nicht nur zu betrachten, sondern zu begreifen. Here, she found support. Here, [her] will arose to help better the world. The bonds and mouldings developed here were so strong, that they held through [her] lifetime. "

— Gerhard Schröder, former Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany[3]

Member of the Bundestag

In 1953, Annemarie Renger won her seat as Member of the Bundestag, and held it through 1990. From 1959 until 1966 she, as well, served as a member of the Advisory Conference of the European Council and the Western European Union.

From 1969 until 1972 she served as "Parlamentarische Geschäftsführerin" (Majority whip) of the SPD. She was the first woman to enter the internal leadership of the SPD parliamentary group (German: “Fraktion”) in the Bundestag.

After the SPD, for the first time in German history, had won the majority of seats in the Bundestag in the 1972 federal election, Annemarie Renger on 13 December 1972, was elected President of the Bundestag – the first woman to hold this office in Germany and the first woman in the world holding such office in a freely elected parliament.[4] Later Renger said: “I myself proposed my running for this office to the members of our Bundestag parliamentary group. You think, they really had chosen me [for the job, had I not proposed that myself]?“

At the same time she chaired two subcommittees of the "Council of Elders of the Bundestag": the "Subcommittee on Budget" and the "Subcommitte on Issues of Taxation of Remuneration for Members of the Bundestag". She also was chairperson of the "Joint Committee" ("Gemeinsamer Ausschuss nach Artikel 53a des Grundgesetzes").

Following the 1976 federal election, the "Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands" (CDU, Christian Democratic Union) and its sister party, the "Christlich Soziale Union in Bayern" (CSU, Christian Social Union in Bavaria) regained plurality in the Bundestag, and Karl Carstens followed Annemarie Renger as President of the Bundestag. Renger was elected Vice President of the Bundestag and served in this function until her resignation from the Bundestag prior to the 1990 federal election. During her term as Deputy-President, she chaired several committees of the "Council of Elders of the Bundestag". From 24 June 1977 until 1983, Annemarie Renger served as vice-chairperson of the Bundestag "Auswärtiger Ausschuss" (Foreign Relations Committee).

During the voting on the SPD motion on the NATO Double-Track Decision (NATO-Doppelbeschluss) held on 22 November 1983,[5] which called for additional negotiations with the Soviet Union prior to stationing of Intermediate Range Nuclear Weapons in Europe, she abstained together with 24 party colleagues of the SPD, among them Helmut Schmidt and Egon Franke, Dieter Haak, Karl Ahrens and Hans Matthöfer from the party's right wing.[6]

Social dedication

From 1985 on, Annemarie Renger served as President of the “Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund Deutschland”, a non-profit relief and welfare organisation, which is a member of the European “Samariter International e.V.” (SAINT) . From 1987 until 1998 she was chairwoman of the supervisory board of “McDonald’s Kinderhilfe” (Children Support Fund). From 1991 until 1995 she chaired the „Vereinigung ehemaliger Mitglieder des Deutschen Bundestages und des europäischen Parlaments e. V.“ (Association of Former Members of the German Bundestag and the European Parliament).

She was chairwoman of the "Zentralverband demokratischer Widerstandskämpfer- und Verfolgungsorganisationen" (Central Association of Organisations of Democratic Resistance Fighters and the Persecuted), President of the "Kurt-Schumacher-Gesellschaft" (Kurt-Schumacher-Society), and Honorary President of "Netzwerk Europäische Bewegung Deutschland" (Network European Movement)


Annemarie Renger received various commendations for her special engagement to the German-Jewish-Israeli relationship. Having served as head of the "German-Israeli Parliamentary Group" for 14 years, in 1992 she was awarded the Buber-Rosenzweig-Medal, together with Hildegard Hamm-Brücher. She held an honorary doctorate of the Ben-Gurion-University of Negev. In 2006 she received the "Heinz-Galinski-Preis" ("Heinz-Galinski-Award") of the Berlin Jewish Community. Annemarie Renger has been awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz (Federal Cross of Merit, officially: “Verdienstorden der Bundesrepublik Deutschland”, “Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany”).


Annemarie Renger is commonly regarded as a "Grande Dame", the last of the grand ladies of the German Social Democratic movement. This is owed not only to her political influence, her life in a social democratic community, or to her age, but also to her demeanor. Renger set great value on style and appearance. She had a preference for sports cars and mink coats and her hair styling was always perfect. There are legendary anecdotes about her friendly, but resolute remark to Gerhard Schröder, then (1980) newly elected Member of the Bundestag and Chairman of the SPD “Juso" (abbreviation for "Young Socialists") youth organisation (and later to become Federal Chancellor) about him failing to wear a necktie: „Genosse [(comrade)] Schröder, you will have to wear a necktie for tomorrow's election of the Bundeskanzler – as called for by custom". Schröder followed her order and, at a later occasion, remarked: „For her, wearing proper attire was a sign of respect towards a constitutional body of democratic Germany. The institutions of parliamentary democracy had to be respected. For Annemarie Renger, they were emitting grace of their own, and this was not to be violated.[7]


"I have achieved what I wanted to. It has been demonstrated that a woman can do it."

— Annemarie Renger, Former President of the German Bundestag[8]

"I am part of Social Democracy."

— Annemarie Renger, Former President of the German Bundestag[9]

"We have lost a great Parliamentarian, a dedicated Democrat, a Member of the Bundestag with heart and soul. Annemarie Renger was the first woman and the first Social Democrat in the history of the German Bundestag to hold this office, and she executed her duties gladly and convincingly – with determination and dignity. Characteristic of her was her sometimes energetic assertiveness which every parliamentarian – across party lines – was able to experience.

— Norbert Lammert, Former President of the German Bundestag[10]


  • Sozialdemokratie und Parlament. in: Beiträge zu Einzelproblemen des „Entwurfs eines ökonomisch-politischen Orientierungsrahmens für die Jahre 1973–1985“. Bonn-Bad Godesberg 1973, pg. 29–37.
  • Parlamentarierinnen in den europäischen Versammlungen. in: Wolf Frühauf: Wissenschaft und Weltbild. Festschrift für Hertha Firnberg. Wien 1975, pg. 49–56.
  • Annemarie Renger, Karl Carstens, Alfred Ollesch: Selbstverständnis. Der Bundestag im Spiegel dreier Debattenbeiträge. Bonn 1977.
  • Die Konferenz der Europäischen Parlamentspräsidenten – Ursprung und Ziele. in: Heinz Rosenbauer, Volkmar Gabert: Parlamentarismus und Föderalismus. Festschrift für Rudolf Hanauer aus Anlass seines 70. Geburtstages. Ehrenwirth, München 1978, pg. 184–189, ISBN 3-431-02064-X.
  • Berechtigte Kritik hält lebendig. Der Bundestag ist anpassungsfähig und reformbereit geblieben. in: Hartmut Klatt: Der Bundestag im Verfassungsgefüge der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Bonn 1980, pg. 141–144.
  • Notwendigkeit und Formen einer parlamentarischen Planungsbegleitung. in: Jürgen Jekewitz, Michael Melzer, Wolfgang Zeh: Politik als gelebte Verfassung. Festschrift für Friedrich Schäfer. Westdeutscher Verl., Opladen 1980, pg. 87–92, ISBN 3-531-11500-6.
  • Fasziniert von Politik. Beiträge zu Zeit. Seewald, Stuttgart 1981, ISBN 3-512-00610-8
  • Der zentrale Ort der Politik. in: Eckart Busch: Parlamentarische Demokratie. Festschrift für Helmut Schellknecht zum 65. Geburtstag. Heidelberg 1984, pg. 3–8.
  • Eine faszinierende Aufgabe. in:Rupert Schick: Der Bundestagspräsident. Stuttgart 1987 (9th edition), pg. 117–122, ISBN 3-87959-315-9.
  • Braucht der Staat des Grundgesetzes Elemente direkter Demokratie? in: Philipp Jenninger: Unverdrossen für Europa. Festschrift für Kai-Uwe von Hassel zum 75. Geburtstag. Nomos, Baden-Baden 1988, pg. 339–345, ISBN 3-7890-1576-8.
  • Vierzig Jahre Deutscher Bundestag. Erfahrungen und Maßstäbe. in: Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte. Bonn 1989, Heft 37,38, pg. 7–12. ISSN 0479-611X
  • Ein politisches Leben. Erinnerungen. Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, Stuttgart 1993, ISBN 3-421-06532-2

See also


  1. ^ Picture showing Renger and Schumacher
  2. ^ Eulogy by the President of the Bundestag, Prof. Dr. Norbert Lammert, at the memorial session of the Bundestag honoring the late Annemarie Renger Archived 22 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Speech by former Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Gerhard Schröder, honoring the late Annemarie Renger (Thursday, 13 March 2008, at the Bundestag in Berlin) (german language)
  4. ^ Eulogy to Annemarie Renger
  5. ^ SPD motion concerning the NATO Double-Track Decision of the German Bundestag (german; PDF)
  6. ^ Minutes of the 35th session of the Bundestag on 22 November 1983 (german; PDF)
  7. ^ Speech by former Chancellor, Dr. Gerhard Schröder during the eulogy session of the Bundestag in honor of the late Annemarie Renger on 13 March 2008 (german)
  8. ^ (german ARD TV news) on the passing of Annemarie Renger
  9. ^ on the passing of Annemarie Renger
  10. ^ Appreciation by the President of the German Bundestag, Prof. Dr. Norbert Lammert Archived 23 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine

External links

1919 in Germany

Events in the year 1919 in Germany.

1972 West German federal election

Federal elections were held in West Germany on 19 November 1972 to elect the members of the 7th Bundestag. In the first snap elections since 1949, the Social Democratic Party for the first time in the history of the second German republic became the largest party in the Bundestag, winning 242 of the 518 seats. The coalition with the Free Democratic Party was resumed.

1979 West German presidential election

An indirect presidential election (officially the 7th Federal Convention) was held in West Germany on 23 May 1979. Deeming his reelection to be unlikely, incumbent Walter Scheel elected not to seek a second term. The two candidates to replace him were the President of the Bundestag Karl Carstens, nominated by the Christian Democratic Union and Carstens' immediate predecessor Annemarie Renger, nominated by the Social Democratic Party. Carstens won the election on the first ballot.

2008 in Germany

Events in the year 2008 in Germany.


Annemarie or Annmarie is a feminine German given name. It is merging of the names Anne and Marie.


The Buber-Rosenzweig-Medaille is an annual prize awarded since 1968 by the Deutscher Koordinierungsrat der Gesellschaften für Christlich-Jüdische Zusammenarbeit

(DKR; German Coordinating Council of Societies for Christian-Jewish Cooperation) to individuals, initiatives, or institutions, which have actively contributed to Christian–Jewish understanding. Forty-four different societies belong to the DKR. The name of the prize honors the memory of the Austrian-Jewish philosopher, translator, and educator Martin Buber (1878–1965) and the German-Jewish theologian Franz Rosenzweig (1886–1929). In its inaugural year, the prize was granted to both the historian Friedrich Heer (Gottes erste Liebe; God's First Love) and the Protestant theologian Friedrich-Wilhelm Marquardt (Die Entdeckung des Judentums für die christliche Theologie: Israel im Denken Karl Barths; The Discovery of Judaism for Christian Theology: Israel in the Thought of Karl Barths).

Erich Köhler

Erich Köhler (June 27, 1892 – October 23, 1958) was a German politician. He was the 1st President of the Bundestag from 7 September 1949 to 18 October 1950.

Köhler co-founded the Christian Democratic Union (Germany) in 1945. He was elected as a member of the first German Bundestag for Wiesbaden's constituency in 1949.

European Movement Germany

European Movement Germany is a non-partisan network of interest groups in the field of EU politics in Germany. It cooperates closely with all EU stakeholders on a national and European level, most particularly with the German Federal Government and the European Commission. The 247 member organisations represent various social groups including business and professional associations, trade unions, educational and academic institutions, foundations and political parties, amongst others. The aim is to continually improve, in close cooperation with political institutions, communication on European politics, European perspectives and the coordination of European policy. The EM Germany network is a member of European Movement International.

Gegen Vergessen – Für Demokratie

Gegen Vergessen – Für Demokratie (Against Oblivion – For Democracy) is a German organization promoting diversity, tolerance and democratic participation, and opposing racism, prejudice and right-wing and left-wing extremism. It focuses in particular on the two dictatorships on German soil, the Nazi dictatorship and the communist dictatorship of East Germany. The organization was founded in 1993 and is headquartered in Berlin. Its activities are supported by the Government of Germany.The organization was co-founded after the German reunification by former SPD chairman Hans-Jochen Vogel, Annemarie Renger, Jürgen Burckhardt, Manfred Struck and Freimut Duve, who all belonged to the SPD. Its current chairman is Joachim Gauck (since 2003), the deputy chairmen are Eberhard Diepgen, Bernd Faulenbach and Cornelia Schmalz-Jacobsen. The advisory council is chaired by Rita Süssmuth, and the Executive Director is Michael Parak.The first chairman was Hans-Jochen Vogel (1993–2000), who was succeeded by former Bremen mayor Hans Koschnick (2000–2003).

Hans Bonkas, an honorary member of Gegen Vergessen – Für Demokratie, was active in the resistance against both the Nazis and the SED regime and spent seven years in an East German jail, and joined the Reichsbanner Schwarz-Rot-Gold in 1932.

German order of precedence

The German order of precedence is a symbolic hierarchy of the five highest federal offices in Germany used to direct protocol. It has no official status, but has been established in practical use.

The President of Germany, the head of state of Germany.

The President of the Bundestag, the speaker of the German parliament, the Bundestag.

The Chancellor of Germany, the head of the government of Germany.

(1.) The President of the Bundesrat, the speaker of the Bundesrat, a federal legislative chamber, in which the governments of the sixteen german states are represented. He or she is ex officio also deputy to the President of Germany (Basic Law, Article 57). Thus, he or she becomes first in the order, while acting on behalf of the President or while acting as head of state during a vacancy of the presidency.

The President of the Federal Constitutional Court, the supreme court of Germany.

Kai-Uwe von Hassel

Kai-Uwe von Hassel (21 April 1913 – 8 May 1997) was a German politician from Schleswig-Holstein associated with the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). He served as Minister President of Schleswig-Holstein from 1954 to 1963, as Federal Minister of Defence from 1963 to 1966, and as Federal Minister for Displaced Persons, Refugees and War Victims from 1966 to 1969. From 1969 to 1972 he was the 4th President of the Bundestag.

Karl Carstens

Karl Carstens (14 December 1914 – 30 May 1992) was a German politician. He served as President of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) from 1979 to 1984.

Norbert Lammert

Norbert Lammert (born 16 November 1948) is a German politician of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). He served as the 12th President of the Bundestag from 2005 to 2017.

Otto Braun

Otto Braun (28 January 1872 – 15 December 1955) was a German Social Democratic politician who served as Prime Minister of Prussia for most of the time from 1920 to 1932. After the Nazis seized power in 1933, Braun went into exile in Switzerland.

Presidium of the Bundestag

The Presidium of the Bundestag is responsible for the routine administration of the Bundestag, including its clerical and research activities. The presidium consists of the President of the Bundestag and a variable number of Vice Presidents, currently six.

The president is elected by all members of the Bundestag during its first meeting; he almost always comes from the largest fraction in the Bundestag (tradition has made this a sort of an unwritten law). His administration ends with the end of the legislature, but he can be re-elected, as long as he is re-elected to the Bundestag.

In 1994 it was decided that every faction in the Bundestag should be represented by a Vice President.

Rainer Barzel

Rainer Candidus Barzel (20 June 1924 – 26 August 2006) was a German politician of the CDU. He served as the 8th President of the Bundestag from 1983 to 1984.


Renger is both a surname and a given name. Notable people with the name include:

Annemarie Renger (1919–2008), German politician

Thomas Renger (born 1972), German sitting volleyball player

Renger van der Zande (born 1986), Dutch racing driver

Seeheimer Kreis

The Seeheimer Kreis (English: "Seeheim Circle") is an official internal grouping in the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). The group describes itself as "undogmatic and pragmatic" and generally takes moderately liberal economic positions.

It was founded in September 1974. One of the prominent founding members is Gesine Schwan, a former SPD candidate for the German Presidency. The group is led by Petra Ernstberger, Carsten Schneider, and Johannes Kahrs. The Circle is named after its long-standing meeting place, Seeheim (Bergstraße), just south of Frankfurt.

Wolfgang Neuss

Wolfgang Neuss (3 December 1923 – 5 May 1989) was a German actor and Kabarett artist. Beginning in the mid-1960s, he also became famous for his political engagement, first for the SPD, then for the extra-parliamentary opposition, APO. He died in 1989 from a longtime cancer.

At the age of 15 he went to Berlin to become a clown but was dismissed. When Germany entered into the Second World War Neuss was drafted, first to the Reich Labour Service where he was occupied with road construction. Later he was sent to the Eastern Front where he became injured and was rewarded with the Iron Cross. It was during his stays in military hospitals and, after the war during military detention that Neuss began to discover his interest in acting and for Kabarett.

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