Eugen Bolz

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Eugen Bolz
Bolz stamp.jpg
5th State President of Württemberg
In office
1928–1933
Preceded by Wilhelm Bazille
Succeeded by Wilhelm Murr
Personal details
Born 15 December 1881
Rottenburg am Neckar, Kingdom of Württemberg, German Empire
Died 23 January 1945 (aged 63)
Plötzensee Prison, Berlin, Third Reich
Political party Centre Party
Spouse(s) Maria Hoeneß (m. 1920)
Children 1
Religion Roman Catholic

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

Life[edit]

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). Bolz studied law in Tübingen and there became a member of A.V. Guestfalia Tübingen, a catholic student fraternity or Studentenverbindung, which belonged to the Cartellverband der katholischen deutschen Studentenverbindungen. 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.

Bolz married Maria Hoeneß from Ulm in 1920. The couple would have one daughter.

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

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.

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[edit]

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[edit]

  • "Politics is nothing other than practically applied religion."
  • "Given the Nazis' reign of terror, I demanded that God's law stand above state law."

Literature[edit]

  • Christentum und Politik. Dokumente des Widerstands by Joachim Köhler, 1996 Thorbecke-Verlag Sigmaringen, ISBN 3-7995-4083-0
  • Eugen Bolz und die Krise des politischen Katholizismus in der Weimarer Republik by Joachim Sailer, bibliotheca academica Verlag, ISBN 3-928471-09-0
  • Eugen Bolz (1881 - 1945) by Rudolf Morsey, in: Jürgen Aretz / Anton Rauscher (Hg.), Zeitgeschichte in Lebensbildern, Bd. 5, Mainz 1982
  • Eugen Bolz. Württembergischer Minister und Staatspräsident by Joachim Köhler, in: Michael Bosch / Wolfgang Niess (Hg.), Der Widerstand im deutschen Südwesten 1933-1945, Stuttgart 1984
  • Eugen Bolz by Max Miller, 1951 Schwabenverlag
  • Staatspräsident Dr. Eugen Bolz als Mann u. Staatsmann by Alois Dangelmaier, 1948 Schwabenverlag
  • Leben und Martyrium unseres Staatspräsidenten Dr. Eugen Bolz by Wilhelm Kohler, 1947 Ackermann Verlag

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]