Annemarie Renger


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(b. Leipzig, 7 Oct. 1919; d. Remagen-Oberwinter, 3 March 2008)

German; President of the Bundestag 1972–6 Renger was brought up in the SPD; her father was a full-time official of the workers' sport movement. For financial reasons she was forced to leave her grammar school and take a job in a printing firm, where she met her first husband. He was killed in the war, leaving her with a 7-year-old son. Renger found herself in Hanover in 1945 and answered an advertisement in the local paper for volunteers to help Kurt Schumacher set up the new SPD. She responded enthusiastically and was soon Schumacher's secretary and companion, remaining with him until his death in 1952. The SPD did not forget her and in 1953 she was elected to the Bundestag. She played an important part in the women's groups within the SPD but she was also elected to all the SPD's leading organs. She was a member of the Executive 1961–73, and the smaller Presidium 1970–3. In 1972, with the SPD in government and the biggest group in the Bonn parliament for the first time, she was elected President of the Bundestag. She served for four years and then as Vice-President. Renger was on the right of the SPD, the so-called ‘canal workers’, who felt the party was swinging too far to the left in the late 1970s. Keen on Germany being anchored in Western Europe, she remained in parliament until German unity was restored in 1990.

Subjects: Politics.

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