Wilhelm Kaisen

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Wilhelm Kaisen
Bgm Kaisen k.jpg
Mayor of Bremen
In office
1 August 1945 – 17 July 1965
Deputy Jules Eberhard Noltenius
Adolf Ehlers
Willy Dehnkamp
Preceded by Erich Vagts
Succeeded by Willy Dehnkamp
Personal details
Born (1887-05-22)22 May 1887
Hamburg, German Empire
Died 19 December 1979(1979-12-19) (aged 92)
Bremen, West Germany
Political party Social Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Helene Kaisen
Children 4

Carl Wilhelm Kaisen (22 May 1887 – 19 December 1979) was a German politician from the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). Between 1945 and 1965 he was mayor of the city Bremen and President of the Senate as the head of the state Free Hanseatic City of Bremen.

Biography[edit]

Kaisen was born in the German city of Hamburg, and spent his youth there. His family's poverty did not allow him to visit a higher school or even receive a high school education. In 1905 he became Member in the SPD. After the First World War he moved to his wife's home city Bremen. Influenced by his family he managed to get the SPD into the parliament of Bremen (Bürgerschaft). From 1919 to 1928 he was journalist and editor editor-in-chief of the SPD-newspaper Bremer Bürger-Zeitung. From 1920 to 1928 he was member in the Bürgerschaft of Bremen. In 1928 Kaisen became the SPD Senator of Social Services in the Senate of Bremen. In March 1933, he was forced to resign by pressure from the Nazis.

Kaisen was not involved in politics during the Nazism era. He spent his time with agriculture in the suburb of Bremen-Borgfeld.

On 1 August 1945, the US military government made Kaisen mayor of Bremen. Supported by the Liberals as well as the Communists he tried to re-establish the political and economical structures of the Weimar Republic. He was re-elected by the people of Bremen during the first free elections after the war. In July 1965, after nearly twenty years in office, he resigned as mayor.

Kaisen was very popular with the general public, but less so within the SPD itself. The decision to position Germany within the NATO led to a break with chairman of the SPD Kurt Schumacher.

Kaisen died in Bremen on 19 December 1979. He was the oldest former prime minister of a German state from 4 January 1978 to 9 June 1980, preceded by Arthur Werner and succeeded by Hans Ehard. If one only counts the prime ministers of West Germany, he held the destinction since 5 January 1970, preceded by Christian Stock.

Honours[edit]

Although not well known in the rest of Germany, Wilhelm Kaisen is held in high regard in Bremen and Bremerhaven. A number of things were named in his honor:

  • Wilhelm Kaisen High School in the Neustadt district
  • Wilhelm Kaisen, a rescue cruiser of the Maritime Search and Rescue Service (in service from 1978 to 2012)
  • Wilhelm Kaisen Bridge, the great Weser bridge in the center of the city
  • A container terminal in Bremerhaven (since 1971)

There are also several streets and squares in both cities named after Kaisen and his wife. Two statues and a bust of him can be found in Bremen.

Literature[edit]

  • Karl-Ludwig Sommer: Wilhelm Kaisen. Eine politische Biographie. Hrsg. von der Wilhelm-und-Helene-Kaisen-Stiftung Bremen, Verlag J. H. W. Dietz Nachf., Bonn 2000, 541 S., geb., ISBN 3-8012-0293-3
  • Hans Koschnick, Hg.: Zuversicht und Beständigkeit. Wilhelm Kaisen. Eine Dokumentation. Bremen 1977. ISBN 3-87681-069-8.

Look after[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Erich Vagts
Mayor of Bremen
1945–1965
Succeeded by
Willy Dehnkamp