OBITUARY: Gerd Bucerius
Monday 02 October 1995
In terms of prestige the weekly came to overshadow the daily. Together with Der Spiegel, Bucerius's publication has remained the most influential German weekly. Yet the development of Die Zeit was not without difficulties. Although Germans were excited about new ideas in politics, the arts and economics, and were desperate for contributions which helped them to understand the shameful years of Hitlerism, the financing of such a project was not easy. In the 1950s the paper suffered severe financial losses.
Bucerius had bought 50 per cent of the shares in the rival weekly Stern, which was a great financial success. Stern was glossy, Die Zeit was not; Stern mixed fashion, crime, sex, scandal, even cookery, with serious political articles. Happily all three weeklies survived. Die Zeit achieved profitability in the second half of the 1970s. In its early years the paper was regarded as independent but rather conservative; by the end of the 1960s it was on the liberal wing of the Bonn establishment.
Gerd Bucerius was born in Ham, Westphalia, in 1906. He studied law in Hamburg and worked briefly as a judge in Kiel and Flensburg. He could not continue in this position after the Nazi take-over in 1933 but remained a lawyer, defending those who fell foul of the regime.
Bucerius was a founder member of the right-of-centre Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in 1945. After serving in the regional government in Hamburg and the Economic Council, the forerunner of the German parliament, he entered the first democratically elected post-war German parliament, the Bundestag, in 1949, remaining a member until 1962. He was most concerned about the future of Germany and served as the chairman of the Berlin committee, in 1949-53.
From the start, Bucerius was for the market economy, worried about the influence of the Catholic church and took the view that the Protestant wing of the CDU must have its proper place in the party hierarchy. Nevertheless, he supported Konrad Adenauer as party leader and Chancellor. Later he became increasingly disenchanted with "the old fox". Adenauer wanted to make Bucerius responsible for any criticism of his leadership which appeared in Die Zeit. Bucerius could not convince his leader that he did not interfere with the editor's freedom. On 22 March 1962 Bucerius resigned from parliament and from the CDU. He supported Dr Ludwig Erhard, the "Atlanticist" and father of the economic miracle, to succeed Adenauer in 1963 against the "Gaullist" wing of Christian Democracy.
In the 1980s Bucerius handed over the management of Die Zeit to Helmut Schmidt, who had been removed from office in 1982 after the Liberal FDP had withdrawn its support from the Social Democratic Chancellor. Bucerius had known Schmidt since they were both politically active in Hamburg in the post-war years. This did not mean that Bucerius had become a Social Democratic supporter, rather he supported the ex-Chancellor. He was critical of the SPD's dialogue with the ruling SED in East Germany in the 1980s. On this he differed with the formidable Countess Marion Donhoff, his long- time collaborator at Die Zeit. Bucerius felt the SPD was taking the SED too seriously, regarding it as the legitimate representative of the people it ruled. He believed it was an illusion to think real peace could be had with such a regime.
In 1986, together with the Social Democrat Herbert Wehner, Bucerius was elected a freeman of the city of Hamburg. On that occasion Helmut Schmidt said, both were full of passion, both were filled with a sense of responsibility for the fate of Germany.
Karl Anton Martin Gerhard (Gerd) Bucerius, publisher, lawyer: born Hamm, Westphalia 19 May 1906; publisher and proprietor, Die Zeit 1946-95; married 1947 Gertrud Muller; died Hamburg 29 September 1995.
Swedish stars ask fans for £195 pledges on crowd-funding website
voicesJust when you thought you could find a man, get married, and have a baby by the age of 35... it turns out you’re too late, says Grace Dent
sportNapoli 2 Arsenal 0: Gunners must now face either Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid or Barcelona in knock-out stages
musicAs Mariah Carey and Noddy Holder rake in the royalties from their classics, why there hasn't been a decent festive hit for 20 years?
theatreAuthor Daniel Rosenthal recalls the mishaps that almost brought the curtain down on the likes of John Gielgud and Diana Rigg
filmFilm producers sue Warner Bros for $75m over Hobbit films
lifeAs the Royal Mail plans to phase out deliveries on two wheels, it's no wonder posties are in a spin
musicThe 21-year-old beat Ella Eyre and Chlöe Howl to win the honour
lifeFull of the joys and want to help your fellow man? December isn't the time to do it
techLuke Blackall reports on precision engineered prams and babygros that monitor your child 24-7
Latest in News
Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute
David Cameron explains selfie with Obama and Helle Thorning-Schmidt at Mandela Memorial
French café starts charging extra to rude customers
Krokodil in Mexico? Teenager hospitalised after 'injecting drug into her genitals'
Australia incest case: Filthy and severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
- 1 Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute
- 2 It’s shameful that our universities have accepted gender segregation under pressure from the most oppressive religious fanatics
- 3 John McAfee's $100 'anti-NSA' device: 'this is coming and cannot be stopped'
- 4 Is Facebook making us forget? Study shows that taking pictures ruin memories
- 5 Australia incest case: Filthy and severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
- < Previous
- Next >
£600 - £750 per day: Cornwallis Elt : SENIOR PROJECT MANAGER- HR- ORACLE- ASS...
£23 - £30 per hour: Morgan Hunt: A fantastic opportunity has arisen within a c...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Morgan Hunt: Job Title - HR Manager Role type - Pe...