Mourning for Hans-Jochen Vogel: Farewell to Munich’s father

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Role model, fighter and lively democrat

Hans-Jochen Vogel was the architect of modern Munich: Olympic games, subway and S-Bahn and pedestrian zone – no mayor left his mark on the city so much after the war. An appreciation.

Munich – He was a passionate fighter for justice in society. From top to bottom. And until the end. Munich’s old OB is on Sunday Hans-Jochen Vogel fell asleep forever. At the age of 94. His Parkinson’s disease had recently hit him more and more.

Hans-Jochen Vogel lived with his wife Liselotte (92) in the Augustinum retirement home since 2006. From today’s perspective, anyone who wanted to reach Vogel needed a lot of patience – until his death, he spurned cell phones and computers, as Merkur.de * reports. But even into old age, he took a stand on daily politics. In addition to the issue of social justice, the impending disintegration of Europe moved him. He always warned of a flare-up of nationalism.

Hans-Jochen Vogel was the architect of modern Munich: Olympic games, Subway and S-Bahn, Pedestrian zone – no mayor left his mark on the city so much after the war. At the age of 34, the son of a professor in Göttingen, who was born in 1926, became mayor of Munich – and thus the youngest city head of a major German city.

He remained OB of the state capital until 1972. Because of violent clashes with the SPD left he threw in the towel and went into federal politics. From 1972 to 1974 he worked as Federal Minister of Building, then until 1981 as Minister of Justice. In 1981 he became Governing Mayor of Berlin. As a candidate for chancellor of the SPD, he lost to Helmut Kohl (CDU) in 1983. From 1987 to 1991 Vogel was Willy Brandt’s successor as party leader of the SPD. Vogel was an always quarrelsome voice of German social democracy, one of the greatest of his party.

However, his time as Munich OB, as the father of the city, was formative. It is an extraordinary career: in 1960 Munich was amazed at how far the young lawyer left behind the conservative Josef Müller, known as the “Ochsensepp”: Vogel drove 64.3 percent. The somewhat meticulous young man with the striking glasses is Munich’s promise for the future. With great discipline and enormous diligence, he plunges into his task, the working days last until late at night. The newcomer is impatient, driving and demanding, which not all officials in his house like. It doesn’t take long for Vogel to have a reputation for “authoritarian leadership”. But Munich probably needed exactly that at the time: a young, new style with a lot of energy.

A lot is happening under Vogel’s aegis between 1960 and 1972. During this period, the city grew by 300,000 inhabitants to 1.34 million. Vogel himself expressed his balance in numbers in his book “The Official Chain”: During his tenure, a rapid rail system of 420 kilometers was created, 175,000 apartments were created, 1,770 school rooms and over 2,800 hospital beds and 400 kilometers of roads were built. Munich experienced a boom – even if you didn’t call it that back then, of course. And to top it all off, Vogel paved the way for the construction of the S-Bahn and U-Bahn network and for the Olympic Games. Until the end of his life, the social democrat campaigned for the Olympic Park, including its sports facilities and the stadium, to be declared a World Heritage Site at the heart.

In November 2019, Hans-Jochen Vogel has one of his last public appearances. In the Luitpoldsalon, the elderly politician presents his book “More Justice”. It is a late work, a kind of legacy to contemporary politics. A postulate for a new, fairer land arrangement to counter the madness of exploding rents. At the end of this evening the whole room rises. Hans-Jochen Vogel receives long-lasting applause. The 93-year-old spreads his arms and slowly lowers both hands. As if he wanted to signal: But now the ovation is enough.

You will miss Hans-Jochen Vogel, the grand seigneur of German social democracy.

“The news of Hans-Jochen Vogel’s death fills me with great sadness. With him, Munich loses, Germany loses a great social democrat, a keen analyst and passionate politician. As Mayor, he led Munich into a new era. It was very lucky that he brought the 1972 Olympic Games to Munich. Without the visionary politics of Hans-Jochen Vogel, Munich would not have become the cosmopolitan, international and lovable city as we know it 25 years after the Second World War. Hans-Jochen Vogel was a staunch fighter for social justice, a great thinker and visionary. I will miss him very much. “

Former OB Christian Ude (72) had known Hans-Jochen Vogel for 60 years. “It was the granite rock of a fluctuating policy. The great reformer and Mister Olympia who brought the games to Munich. ”Vogel was also an authority figure that the students rubbed against. “We made our peace in 1968, and since then it has been the model for local politics for me. And he became an ever better and closer friend until I became his successor in three positions. ”As Munich’s OB, president of the city council and SPD top candidate.

SPD veteran Hans-Jochen Vogel recalled the end of the war in 1945 in a * Merkur interview. He says: “I knew that a fatal shot could hit me at any time.“* Merkur.de is part of the Ippen-Digital network

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