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Events> Timeline 1914 to Date

July 14

 Opening of the Rhine-Herne Canal
The Rhine-Herne Canal connects the Dortmund-Ems Canal with the Rhine and further with the seaports of Belgium and the Netherlands. The canal is not only used to transport coal, but also to supply industry with cooling and service water.

August 1

 Outbreak of the First World War
The order by Kaiser Wilhelm II to mobilize the army, the navy and the two armed forces for the coming August 2nd, 1914 triggered a wave of patriotic enthusiasm in Westphalia, which resulted in spontaneous rallies, an unexpected rush of volunteers for military service and a special commitment to support who expresses government measures. According to the Dortmund Higher Mining Office, there is also an extraordinarily enthusiastic atmosphere among the miners in the Ruhr area, which lasted until the end of 1915.
In addition to the general euphoria, there are also signs of uncertainty about future prospects, which is expressed in hamster purchases, panic-like fear of spies, loss of confidence in the stability of the currency, etc.
Since the military measures have priority, there are bottlenecks in the supply of the civilian population mainly due to transport difficulties, but also due to speculative withholding of goods. The drafts for military service, regardless of their important war economic function, cause a considerable shortage of labor both in the Ruhr mining industry and in the steel industry, which can only be gradually compensated by relying on women, foreign workers, mainly from Belgium and the Netherlands, prisoners of war and workers from less war industries are used.
The labor shortage in agriculture, on the other hand, cannot be resolved for the duration of the war, despite the deployment of prisoners of war. The harvest in late summer 1914 can only be brought in through the use of schoolchildren, students and soldiers from the immobile units and the replacement formations of the VII Army Corps.




 Protest strikes against food shortages
In protest against the increasingly poor food supply, a series of spontaneous miners' strikes took place in the administrative districts of Arnsberg and Münster from mid-August 1916. In part, the wage situation is also the cause of the dissatisfaction, because the few groceries that are still freely available are offered at prices that far exceed the financial possibilities of industrial workers. The colliery administrations had already started to buy additional groceries for their workforce and to sell some of it below the purchase price.
In other parts of Westphalia, too, there were food riots in the course of the year, for example on May 10th, 1916 the first so-called "fat riot" in Bielefeld.


 "Turnip winter"
In the severe winter of 1916/17 the general food shortage took on dramatic forms. Not only do the bread rations have to be reduced, above all the supply of the staple food potato is completely inadequate, the rationing is reduced to 3 pounds per person per week. The turnip is becoming the staple food in all of Westphalia, and in many forms it has to replace or stretch most of the usual foods. In all parts of Westphalia, the municipalities set up so-called "mass feedings", which ensure the only meal a day for a considerable part of the population. Desperate women try to help themselves by stealing bread and even soldiers are forced to beg or steal food.
The food shortage triggers a wave of strikes in the Rhenish-Westphalian industrial area, which lasted until July 1917 and is sometimes accompanied by street demonstrations, riots and looting. However, the protest actions are not of a political nature. At a workforce meeting of the "Auguste Victoria" union in Marl, for example, spokesmen demand higher wages and better food supplies, but emphasize: "We do not want a strike, we are hungry".


January 30

 "January Strikes"
Under the impression of political mass strikes in Austria-Hungary in mid-January 1918, the Spartacus group and parts of the USPD shouted "Down with the war! Down with the government!" for the 28.01.1918 also to the political mass strike. The appeal has met with a great response, especially in Berlin, but also in other cities. In total, more than a million workers take part in strike actions across Germany.
Despite a relatively lively agitation, the strike call in the Rhenish-Westphalian industrial area met with very little response. In the last days of January and the first days of February 1918, the workforce of 31 coal mines between Hagen and Bockum-Hövel went on strike. Similar to the development of the strike in Berlin, the highest number of strikers was reached on January 30, 1918, when around 13,000 miners in all three shifts were on strike. In the first days of February, the strike collapsed quickly under the pressure of countermeasures by the military authorities, without the strike actions in the Ruhr area having assumed the same level of militancy as in Berlin, where regular street fights broke out.

November 12

 Prince Leopold IV abdicates the throne.
Prince Leopold IV renounces the throne for himself and the House of Lippe-Biesterfeld. The overthrow in Lippe was thus completed without any major revolutionary unrest.

November 8

 November Revolution
The trigger for the revolutionary events in Germany were spontaneous refusals of service by sailors of the German high seas fleet on October 29, 1918, because they did not want to be sacrificed in a senseless attack on the British fleet immediately before the end of the war, planned without the knowledge of the Reich government. After the arrest of numerous sailors, their comrades demonstrate in Wilhelmshaven and Kiel for their release. After a clash between demonstrators and the armed military in Kiel, this protest movement turns into a militant political overthrow movement, which the local industrial workers join. In the course of November 6, 1918, the situation changed fundamentally when the rebellion spread to numerous northern German military bases.
For the development in the whole of West Germany it is decisive that the approximately 45,000 strong garrison garrison of Cologne on November 7th, 1918 mostly joins the rebels. From Cologne the rebellion spreads in a star shape into the Rhenish and Westphalian garrisons.
The mutiny of a replacement unit of a machine gun company in the relatively remote Haltern on November 8th, 1918 is probably the first revolutionary event in Westphalia. The Deputy General Command of the VII Army Corps in Münster, as the highest military command authority, tries in negotiations with representatives of the Münster majority Social Democrats to channel the revolutionary movement and to prevent it from sliding into radical waters. In fact, the transfer of power to workers and soldiers' councils takes place on November 8th. and November 9th, 1918 largely undramatic, occasionally even almost unnoticed (e.g. in Soest). As a rule, the insurgents limit themselves to freeing military and political prisoners from prisons. Otherwise, the emerging council organizations work together with the local governments to cope with the most urgent tasks such as securing the food supply and maintaining public order and security.
The transition to revolutionary-democratic conditions in the Rhenish-Westphalian region with its strong industrial workers, its great industrial potential and its strategically important location between the front and home contributed significantly to the implementation of the new order.

November 13

 Establishment of the General Soldiers Council in Münster
A meeting of the soldiers 'councils in the district of the VII Army Corps resolves the establishment of a general soldiers' council in Münster as the central institution. District soldiers 'councils are set up in each of the 23 Landwehr districts of the corps, to which the soldiers' councils of individual units are subordinate.
After the return of the active units of the VII Army Corps, at the end of November and beginning of December there were clashes in many places such as the tearing down of red flags, the arrest of workers 'and soldiers' councils and, in isolated cases, armed clashes between the former front troops and security services of the local council organizations.

December 7th

 Beginning of the establishment of the Freikorps
The General Command in Münster secretly begins to set up volunteer associations from units of the former Western Army in order to have a "reliable" instrument in hand in the fight against left-wing radicalism, that is, beyond the control of soldiers' councils.
In the course of December, the "volunteer department of the 2nd Guard Reserve Division" was established near Hagen and Witten; the "Freiwillige Landesjägerkorps" under Major General Maercker in the Paderborn area; the "Freikorps Heuck" near Lippstadt; the "Freikorps von Aulock" in the Ahlen-Beckum-Oelde area and the "Freikorps Lichtschlag" in Hagen.
The appeal "Volunteers before!" Signed by the government of the People's Representatives after the resignation of the USPD members from 07.01.1919 gives the establishment of the Freikorps a legal foundation. Allegedly soldiers are to be recruited for the protection of the eastern parts of the country, but in fact the creation of an "executive force" is being pushed.
Immediately after the legalization of volunteer advertising, the "Westphalian Volunteer Battalion" under Captain Franz von Pfeffer and the "Freikorps von Bock" in Münster as well as the "Freikorps Gabcke" are set up in the Sennelager. Furthermore, students from the University of Münster found the "Academic People's Army" as a "student military association".
All Freikorps are mainly used against striking workers and to suppress unrest and uprisings, where they are characterized by ruthless and brutal action (the "Freikorps Lichtschlag" is notorious as the "Freikorps Manslaughter"). In the hands of their leaders, who mostly uncompromisingly reject the democratic form of government, the Freikorps also form the military backbone for counter-revolutionary endeavors.


January 19

 Election to the constituent German national assembly
In the election to the constituent German National Assembly, women and active soldiers who have been excluded from elections are entitled to vote. Furthermore, the voting age has been reduced from 25 to 20 years of age. The first truly democratic election in Germany in the two constituencies of Westphalia North and South with an above-average voter turnout brings those three parties, the intergroups formed in 1917, a clear success Committee had constantly worked: the center, which had acted as the "Christian People's Party", the SPD and the DDP.
The constituency of North Westphalia includes the administrative districts of Münster and Minden, the Grafschaft Schaumburg district and the Free States of Lippe and Schaumburg. There, with 42.1 percent of the vote, the center becomes the strongest party, clearly ahead of the SPD with 30.6 percent and the DDP with 9.8 percent. The two conservative parties DNVP and DVP only get 8.7 and 6.6 percent of the vote, respectively. The USPD remains insignificant at 2.1 percent. Taken together, 82.5 percent of the electorate vote for the three parties of the later "black-red-gold coalition" (center, SPD, DDP).
The constituency of Westphalia-South consists of the administrative district of Arnsberg. Here, with 41.3 percent of the vote, the SPD is clearly ahead of the center, which receives 28.3 percent of the vote. Thanks to the waiver of the DVP, the DNVP becomes the third strongest force with 15.3 percent of the votes, ahead of the DDP with 10.0 percent. With only 5.1 percent of the vote, the USPD has little support. Here, too, a combined four-fifths of all voters (79.6 percent) vote for the three parties center, SPD and DDP.

February 11

 Actual end of the council movement in Westphalia
The commanding General Oskar Freiherr von Watter, with the backing of the designated Social Democratic Reichswehr Minister Gustav Noske, arranged for the General Soldiers' Council in Münster to be dissolved and most of its members to be arrested for "incitement" and "high treason".
The background to the action is the conflict over the restructuring of the internal conditions of the peace army: While a draft by the Prussian Minister of War Reinhardt of January 19, 1919 provides for the military to be largely withdrawn from democratic control, the council organizations are calling for comprehensive democratization and the creation of a "people's army". The Münster General Soldiers Council supports these demands, but is ready to negotiate regardless of verbal radicalism. The attempt to set up its own security force in Münster, however, provided the military with the pretext they were looking for to intervene.
With this blow, the council movement in Westphalia is effectively put to an end. At the local level, workers' councils continue to exist for some time, but they can no longer influence further developments.


March 13

 Kapp-Lüttwitz Putsch
The counterrevolutionary Kapp-Lüttwitz putsch in Berlin triggers spontaneous work stoppages, demonstrations and mass gatherings in the Rhenish-Westphalian industrial area. The attempt by military district commander General von Watter to maintain "peace and order" with the help of free corps, some of which openly sided with the putschists, led to the formation of armed workers' units, which their opponents referred to as the "Red Ruhr Army".
The initial defensive movement against the Kapp-Lüttwitz Putsch grows into a general uprising, through which the government is to be forced, among other things, to dissolve the "counter-revolutionary" military units and to have extensive rights of participation for the trade unions. The rebels bring the entire Ruhr area under their control within a few days, lay siege to the Wesel fortress and advance across the Lippe into the Münsterland. Only a massive contingent of Reich Defense Units and Freikorps can suppress the uprising with brutal violence until April 8th, 1920.
On closer examination, the crimes accused of the insurgents often turn out to be atrocity propaganda by their opponents. The alleged "red terror" serves to justify the many arbitrary shootings by government soldiers and the numerous death sentences imposed by the courts against actual or alleged members of the "Red Ruhr Army".

April 1

 "Battle of Pelkum"
The Epp brigade carried out an encircling attack at Hamm-Pelkum on units of the "Red Ruhr Army" that were far inferior in every respect. In the so-called "Battle of Pelkum" a large number of workers and working-class Samaritans are killed in battle, wounded, murdered or shot dead. The police recorded 79 deaths, but estimates amount to 150 to 300 deaths. The Reichswehr recorded only minor losses of its own.

April 26

 General Oskar Freiherr von Watter is dismissed
The commander in military district VI, General Oskar Freiherr von Watter, is dismissed from the Reichswehr. His dismissal was not due to his unclear attitude during the Kapp-Lüttwitz Putsch, nor because of the "white" terror of the Reichswehr and Freikorps in the Ruhr area for which he was responsible. Rather, he lost the backing of the Reichswehr leadership through his stubborn insistence on permanent occupation of the Ruhr area. This would have led to serious difficulties with the Allies, because most of the Ruhr area belonged to the 50-kilometer zone demilitarized on the left bank of the Rhine.

May 1

 First local NSDAP group in Westphalia
The postal secretary Wilhelm Ohnesorge founds one of the first local groups of the NSDAP outside of Bavaria in Dortmund. Little is known about the beginnings of the group; as of May 1st, 1920 it has 23 members. - The "old fighter" without care held the post of Reichspostminister during the time of the National Socialist rule from 02/02/1937 to 04/30/1945.

May 2

 Murder of Count Otto von Westerholt
The owner of Sythen Castle near Haltern, Count Otto von Westerholt, is found shot dead in the woods of his property. The murder caused a sensation, as an act of revenge by sympathizers of the "Red Ruhr Army" is alleged. Sythen Castle was allegedly heavily devastated by the "Red Ruhr Army" during the fighting in March / April 1920, which became the subject of mass atrocity propaganda.
It wasn't until August 1925 that the perpetrator was discovered by chance. A print shop employee from Oldenburg, a Reichswehr soldier at the time of the crime, had been mistaken for a poacher by the count. When he was about to lead him away, the soldier shot him. The murderer was sentenced to death on December 11, 1925 by the Münster jury court; the appeal was rejected by the Reichsgericht on March 25, 1926.

June 6

 First Reichstag election in the Weimar Republic
In the first Reichstag election in the Weimar Republic, the center becomes the strongest party in the administrative districts of Münster (58.1 percent) and Arnsberg (28.0 percent) and at the same time achieves the best result in a Reichstag election during the time of the Weimar Republic. In the administrative district of Minden, the center also achieved the best results during the Weimar Republic (27.6 percent), but only became the second strongest party after the SPD (28.9 percent). In the Free State of Lippe, the SPD (32.0 percent) is the clear winner ahead of the conservative parties DNVP (24.4 percent) and DVP (20.4 percent).


January 11th

 Occupation of the Ruhr area
France is taking small backlogs in German reparations payments as an opportunity to occupy the Ruhr area militarily in order to secure it as a "productive pledge". The area occupied until January 16, 1923 extends approximately to the Lippe in the north, to Lünen, Dortmund and Hörde in the east and to the heights between the Ruhr and Wupper in the south. The German government responds to the occupation of the Ruhr with passive resistance in order to make it impossible for the occupying powers to use the "productive pledge" and to force them to find a negotiated solution. A dense series of orders is issued which prohibit any form of cooperation with the occupation authorities. In addition, the members of the occupation army should be completely isolated in everyday life. However, the implementation of the concept of a comprehensive resistance is only incomplete because the countermeasures taken by the occupation are having an effect. Above all, the sealing off of the occupied territory by the occupying powers has dramatic consequences for the supply of the population, so that there are repeated hunger riots, which are by no means - as is often assumed - communist attempts to overthrow.
The immense costs caused by the state's continued payment of wages for workers who are on strike or who have become unemployed as a result of the occupation of the Ruhr can only be financed by a huge increase in the circulation of paper money, which triggers hyperinflation. From February, the passive resistance will be flanked by an "active" resistance through acts of sabotage. Nationalist forces among the activists of the Ruhrkampf are consciously heading towards an armed conflict with the occupation forces, so that this form of resistance has to be given up again by the middle of the year. The spiral of violence and counter-violence claims numerous deaths among the population of the Ruhr area and among the occupying forces.


June 21

 Execution of the Ruhrkampf activist Ludwig Knickmann
The Ruhrkampf activist Ludwig Knickmann from Buer is caught by Belgian soldiers while trying to illegally cross the border of the occupied area near Marl-Sickingmühle and is seriously injured in the course of an exchange of fire. Knickmann drowns in his lip while trying to escape.
Since Knickmann had been a member of the NSDAP since 1922, the National Socialists had the opportunity to use his "victim's death" for propaganda purposes. After 1933, Knickmann became the focus of a regional Nazi cult of the dead. Streets, party buildings of the NSDAP and a Gelsenkirchen SA standard are named after him; In his honor, a memorial stone is placed on the lip and a memorial is erected at the site of the firefight, and a memorial plaque is placed on the "Hugo I" colliery, where Knickmann worked until his death. Until the end of National Socialism, commemorations are held annually on the day of his death at his grave in the cemetery of honor in Buer and at the "Ludwig Knickmann Monument" in Sickingmühle.

June 24

 Demolition of the "popular will" in Münster
Radical activists of the Ruhr struggle blow up the printing works of the social democratic daily newspaper "Volkswille" in Münster. The attack, which caused a sensation in the whole of Germany, is the result of disappointment that the passive resistance in the Ruhr area does not lead to a new war, but on the contrary, the "active" resistance is more and more contained by means of acts of sabotage.
The date of the attack, the first anniversary of the assassination of Reich Foreign Minister Walther Rathenau by right-wing extremists, also symbolizes the radical nationalists' declaration of war on the Weimar Republic. On the occasion of the anniversary, the Münster local cartel of the free trade unions called for a protest rally against right-wing extremist activities, which gives the hatred of the "newspaper of November criminals" additional nourishment.
In March 1925, two of the assassins, refugees from the Ruhr from Essen, who were 22 years old at the time of the act and who had belonged to the Münster branch of the NSDAP, were sentenced to a minimum of five years in prison. They are only seen as the executive organs and not as the intellectual perpetrators of the attack. The rumors that had been circulating in Münster for a long time, according to which the former Freikorpsführer and later Supreme SA leader Hauptmann ret. Franz von Pfeffer initiated the attack, are likely to have been true, because von Pfeffer led actions of the "active" resistance in 1923 on behalf of the state from Münster at "Ruhrgebiet. The leader of the demolition squad was probably the Münster-based secret agent Heinz Kölpin, who is also active on behalf of the state in the battle against the Ruhr. The Reichswehr presumably holds a protective hand over both of them so that they are not subject to criminal prosecution.

September 26th

 Termination of the Ruhr struggle
The war on the Ruhr is broken off by the German government, which is drawing the political consequences of the complete breakdown of the German currency. In any case, passive resistance had already been tacitly given up in many areas because the population's ability to suffer was reaching its limits.


August 11

 Visit of President Ebert in Munster
The Social Democratic Reich President Friedrich Ebert visits the provincial capital of Münster on Constitution Day. Fierce controversy flared up around the visit in the city council, revealing the distance between parts of the bourgeoisie and the republic, its symbols and representatives. The heads of the Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce refuse to attend the official welcome, and Military District Command VI refuses to provide an honorary company. The reception of the Reich President in Münster, often mocked as a "former saddlery worker", is correspondingly cool.

September 14

 "German Day" of the right-wing extremists in Münster
Paramilitary groups, ethnic groups and National Socialists organize a so-called "German Day" in Münster. Besides the World War General and "Reichsführer" of the National Socialist Freedom Movement, Erich Ludendorff, other prominent right-wing radical leaders such as Ernst Röhm, Gregor Strasser, Albrecht von Graefe and Reinhold Wulle came to Münster. With more than 2,000 participants, the "German Day" is the first large army show for right-wing extremists in Westphalia in its early days.

October 10

 Westdeutsche Funkstunde starts broadcasting regularly
The first German radio broadcasts in Germany were broadcast in Berlin in autumn 1923. Within a few months, broadcasters in almost all important regions of Germany follow. "Westdeutsche Funkstunde AG" (WEFAG) is founded in Münster as one of the last broadcasting companies. The Münster location is more of an embarrassing solution, as the plans to set up a transmitter in the Ruhr area or in the Rhineland have to be postponed due to the Ruhr occupation. In order to be able to influence the occupied area, two more transmitters will be set up on the border to the occupied areas in addition to the Münster transmitter: The Dortmund and Elberfeld transmitters will take place on September 18. and 19.09.1925 open their operations.
With the start of the gradual evacuation of the Rhineland in January 1926, the way was cleared for the relocation of the headquarters of the West German broadcasting company. The city of Cologne was able to prevail among numerous applicants, not least because of the skillful conduct of negotiations by Mayor Konrad Adenauer. When the station moved to Cologne in January 1927, the name was changed to "Westdeutscher Rundfunk AG" (WERAG), which became the predecessor of today's WDR.


July 31

 End of the occupation of the Ruhr
The evacuation of the Ruhr area, officially announced on July 15, 1925 and begun on July 20, 1925, will come to an end with the approval of the city of Essen. The sanction area occupied in 1921 will be vacated by August 25, 1925.


September 4

 66th German Catholic Day in Dortmund
The 66th German Katholikentag (then known as the General Assembly of Catholics in Germany) will take place in Dortmund until September 6th, 1927. It is all about discussions about possible solutions to the social question. In terms of the number of participants, the Dortmund Catholic Day surpasses all previous meetings. Around 120,000 believers take part in one of the festive masses celebrated by the papal nuncio Eugenio Pacelli, who later became Pope Pius XII.


June 14

 Elevation of the diocese of Paderborn to the archbishopric
As part of the Concordat between the Free State of Prussia and the Holy See, the Diocese of Paderborn is elevated to an archbishopric. In addition to the archbishopric itself, the suffragan dioceses Hildesheim (until 1994) and Fulda belong to the Paderborn ecclesiastical province.


September 4

 69th German Catholic Day in Münster
The 69th German Catholic Day (then known as the General Assembly of Catholics in Germany) with over 100,000 participants will take place in Münster until September 8, 1930. After 1852 and 1885, Münster is hosting the Catholic Day for the third time. The President of the Central Committee of the German Catholic Convention, Prince Aloys zu Löwenstein, praised the Münster Church Convention as "the most glamorous general assembly since [Trier] 1887".

September 14

 "Landslide election" for the Reichstag
The Reichstag election of September 1930 also led to an electoral movement in Westphalia towards the NSDAP. The success of the NSDAP is far less than the national average, where it is the second strongest party behind the SPD with 18.3 percent.
In the administrative district of Arnsberg, the NSDAP is the fourth strongest party, with 13.9 percent of the vote, behind the center, the SPD and the KPD. In the administrative district of Minden it does a little better with 16.4 percent and becomes the third strongest party behind the SPD and the center. In the Münster administrative district, however, the NSDAP only received 7.4 percent of the votes and became the fourth strongest party after the center, KPD and SPD.
In contrast, the NSDAP in the Free State of Lippe, with 22.4 percent of the votes, clearly exceeds its national average and establishes itself as the second strongest party behind the SPD.


February 17

 Adoption of a new constitution for the Lippe regional church
At the tenth full session of the extraordinary regional synod, a new constitution for the Lippe regional church is unanimously adopted by both evangelical partial denominations. The independence gained through the revolution made it necessary to draft new constitutions, but only after a decade of bitter disputes can the Protestant regional church be the last in Germany to draft and adopt such a constitution. Regardless of all subsequent adjustments, this constitution has remained unchanged in its basic structure and scope to this day.

June 1

 Opening of the Wesel-Datteln Canal
Opening of the Wesel-Datteln Canal, the western section of the Lippe-Seiten Canal that was started in 1915. The construction of a network of artificial waterways in Westphalia, which began with the construction of the Dortmund-Ems Canal, will thus come to an end.


July 31

 Early election of the Reichstag
In the early election of the Reichstag, the NSDAP becomes the strongest party for the first time in the administrative districts of Arnsberg (27.2 percent) and Minden (31.7 percent) as well as in the Free State of Lippe (41.1 percent). In the administrative district of Münster, too, the NSDAP recorded significant gains compared to the election of 1930 (plus 11.2 percentage points), but as the second strongest party (18.6 percent) it is only slightly ahead of the KPD (17.6 percent) and far behind the center ( 44.8 percent). The NSDAP clearly missed its national average of 37.4 percent in all three administrative districts of Westphalia.


January 15

 State election in the Free State of Lippe
The Lippe state government announces the new election of the state parliament on January 15, 1933. The NSDAP initially attaches little importance to the state elections. In the first phase of their election campaign from December 4, 1932 to December 17, 1932, so-called "Russia drivers" appear almost exclusively, former members of the KPD who fell away from communism after a stay in the Soviet Union and became supporters of the NSDAP.
It was not until the severe crisis of the NSDAP at the end of 1932 that the party leadership rethought. There are a number of reasons for this: The defeat in the Reichstag election of November 1932 was a clear sign that the frustrated appendix was beginning to crumble because, despite all the successes, participation in the government of the NSDAP did not seem foreseeable. The resignation of Gregor Strasser, the exponent of the "left" wing of the NSDAP, from all party offices due to profound differences of opinion on December 8th, 1932 presented the NSDAP with an acid test. Furthermore, the party is financially at an end because of the electoral campaigns, which were carried out with enormous propaganda expenditure. Against this background, at the end of 1932, all the major German newspapers predicted their imminent end in editorials of the NSDAP.
The NSDAP therefore needs a new success at any price in order to avert the impending decline. The entire party apparatus is therefore mobilized for the second phase of the Lippe state election campaign. From January 3rd, 1933, practically all party celebrities appear at election events. Above all, however, the tireless personal commitment of the party leader Adolf Hitler, who goes "over the villages" and between January 4th. and speaking at 16 events on January 14, 1933, is exaggerated by the National Socialist historiography in retrospect into mythicality.
The state election in the Free State of Lippe is later glorified by the National Socialists as a "breakthrough battle to take power". The NSDAP, which was not represented in the Lippe state parliament after the 1929 election, wins 39.5 percent of the vote and becomes the strongest party in the state parliament with 9 seats (a total of 21 seats) ahead of the SPD with 30.1 percent and 7 seats. Compared to the Reichstag election of November 1932, the NSDAP gained 4.7 percentage points, but despite the gigantic propaganda expenditure, remained 1.6 percentage points below the result of the Reichstag election of July 1932. The NSDAP still celebrated the insignificant success in the Lippe state election as a tremendous victory and turnaround and can increase the political pressure on the Reich level again.

March 5

 Last Reichstag election under still halfway democratic conditions
In the last Reichstag election, which took place only under halfway undemocratic conditions, the center in the Münster administrative district was able to maintain its dominant position over the NSDAP (28.7 percent) with 39.0 percent of the votes. In the administrative districts of Arnsberg and Minden, the NSDAP is well ahead of the other parties, but in some cases clearly falls short of the Reich average of 43.9 percent (Arnsberg: 33.8 percent; Minden: 40.7 percent).
In the Free State of Lippe, on the other hand, the NSDAP achieved a dominant position with 47.1 percent of the vote, ahead of the far behind the SPD, which received 28.0 percent of the votes.

May 10

 "Action against the un-German spirit" in Münster
As the climax of the "Action Against the Un-German Spirit" organized by the "German Student Union" in May 1933, book burnings took place in almost all German university towns. On May 10, 1933, around 1,000 books by socialist, pacifist and Jewish writers as well as a black, red and gold flag were burned on Hindenburgplatz in Münster in the presence of the rector, numerous lecturers and students from the university and many onlookers. The books had been collected from all public libraries and bookshops in Münster since May 4th, 1933.
Before they were burned, a "stake" was erected on May 6th, 1933 on the cathedral square, on which these "corrosive Jewish and Marxist writings" were denounced. Such "stakes" are only set up in Dresden, Erlangen, Königsberg and Rostock, with the exception of Münster.
For the assumption, which is often found in the literature, that the newly founded Reich Propaganda Ministry was behind the "Action Against the Un-German Spirit" and had controlled it, no conclusive evidence has yet been found. The planning and implementation of the campaign are in the hands of the "German Student Union", the umbrella organization for German students.

August 7

 Assassination of Felix Fechenbach
The social democratic journalist Felix Fechenbach is murdered in what is now the Neuenheerse state forest between Kleinenberg and Scherfede. Fechenbach had been editor of the SPD newspaper "Volksblatt" in Detmold since 1929. On March 11th, 1933 he was arrested in front of the state parliament building in Detmold and taken into so-called "protective custody". After several months in Herford, Heinrich Himmler ordered his transfer to the Dachau concentration camp. Fechenbach is "shot while trying to escape" by the escort unit.
A memorial stone from the then North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister Heinz Kühn was unveiled at the murder site on August 25, 1973.


March 26

 Public condemnation of the National Socialist religious and racial policy by the Bishop of Munster
In his pastoral letter for Easter, the Bishop of Münster, Clemens August Graf von Galen, sharply condemned the National Socialist religious and racial policy. He does not name National Socialism by name, but only speaks consistently of the "new paganism", whereby he explicitly opposes the ideas represented by Alfred Rosenberg in his book "The Myth of the 20th Century": "A word of truth and the Clarity is all the more necessary when the enemies of religion, as is happening now, not only fight this or that doctrine of the Church, but deny or falsify the very foundations of religion itself and the most sacred secrets of Revelation.
It attacks the foundations of religion and culture as a whole whoever destroys the moral law in man. But that is what those who declare of morality only apply to a people insofar as it promotes the race. Obviously this puts race above morality, blood above law. "
In October 1934, Bishop Galen also had the counter-writ "Studies on the Myth of the 20th Century" prepared by Catholic scholars distributed as an official supplement to the "Ecclesiastical Official Gazette for the Diocese of Münster" after Cardinal Schulte from Cologne had not honored his promise to print.

September 22

 The SS takes over the Wewelsburg
The Wewelsburg, a Weser Renaissance castle of the prince-bishops of Paderborn, is ceremoniously handed over to the Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, who rents it annually at the symbolic price of one Reichsmark. According to the original plan, the Wewelsburg is to be expanded into the "Reichsführer-School SS" for the ideological training of the SS leadership cadre. However, it serves as the SS research facility for pseudoscientific historical and racial investigations. From 1939 prisoners from the specially built Niederhagen concentration camp began to develop the Wewelsburg into the representative and ideological headquarters of the SS order, but work had to be stopped in the spring of 1943 due to the war. On March 31, 1945, the Wewelsburg was blown up by an SS commando on the orders of Himmler.



 Members of the free trade union railway workers in the Rhine-Ruhr area in court
From 01.12. The trial against the main actors of one of the largest, well-known trade union resistance groups during the Nazi era took place in Düsseldorf before the 2nd Senate of the People's Court. After months of interrogation, the free-trade union railway workers belonging to the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) were charged with high treason for their work against the Nazi regime and sentenced to long prison terms.
The break-up of the free trade unions by the newly installed NS government and NS organizations in the spring of 1933 was different in many places, often violent, but sometimes also in the form of a gradual handover and takeover of the unions and their institutions. The occupation of the trade union houses and the arrest of the leading functionaries on May 2nd, 1933 were often preceded by temporary confiscations and bans by SA and NSBO ​​commissioners (National Socialist Company Cell Organization), arrests and acts of revenge against individuals. At the same time, the free trade unions were deprived of their operational anchoring by eliminating the works councils elected in March and April 1933. Unless they fled abroad, the dismissed union and company officials were often imprisoned for long periods in prisons and "wild" concentration camps, were then monitored and, in many cases, were not given a job in their trained occupation for years, but lived on benefits, small pensions or made a living self-employed. A number of union officials also took jobs as representatives, which subsequently made it to them
became possible to travel a lot without attracting attention and to establish contacts with like-minded people. ... further...


November 9

On November 7th, 1938, the seventeen-year-old German-Polish Jew Herzel Grynszpan carried out an assassination attempt on the German legation secretary Ernst vom Rath in Paris. Grynszpan acts out of desperation that his parents were deported across the German-Polish border on October 28, 1938, along with 15-17,000 other so-called "Eastern Jews", where they are rejected by the Polish authorities and have to camp in no man's land under poor conditions .
Following the news of the assassination attempt, serious riots began in Kurhessen-Nassau and Magdeburg-Anhalt on November 7th / 8th, 1938, but things remained calm in Westphalia. On the afternoon of November 9th, 1938, Ernst vom Rath died of his injuries. The leadership of the NSDAP, almost all of whom gathered in Munich in the evening to commemorate the Hitler putsch on November 9, 1923, issued the barely veiled order to mobilize "popular anger". Then a few hours later a wave of terror hits the German Jews.
When the pogrom was officially declared over on November 10, 1938, several hundred synagogues across the country were burned down, at least 8,000 Jewish shops were destroyed and countless apartments were devastated. Between 90 and 100 - possibly even more - Jews had been slain, stabbed or beaten to death. About 26,000 male Jews are arrested and taken to concentration camps, where some are also murdered.
In Westphalia, the course of the pogrom was generally characterized by coincidences and improvisation; only the persecutions and devastation in Gütersloh seem to be based on a system. In some places, for example, synagogues are "overlooked". be destroyed. In a relatively large number of cases, narrow buildings prevent arson, but this does not offer any protection from complete destruction. Unlike in southern Germany, where pogroms break out again and again for about a week, the riots in Westphalia are subsiding, but in some places only reached the night of November 10th. its climax on 11/11/1938.
To the surprise of the NSDAP officials, the majority of the population of Westphalia rejected the pogrom; Above all, the Catholic rural population condemns the destruction of the synagogues, which they regard as sacred institutions.
In total, an estimated 1,800 to 2,000 Jewish places of worship were destroyed in what was then Reich territory. Of the approximately 370 to 380 synagogues that existed around 1900 in the area of ​​today's state of North Rhine-Westphalia, around 75 survived the pogrom night and the demolitions during the war years, which resulted in the destruction of November 9th and 10th. or can be traced back to war damage - but mostly in a heavily modified form, often distorted by subsequent use.



 The first prisoners of war arrive at Stalag VI A in Hemer
The regional labor office in Dortmund and the military district command VI in Münster agree to set up a prisoner-of-war camp in military district VI. The barracks planned for armored troops and still under construction in Hemer are set as the location. In September / October the first Polish prisoners of war arrive at the still unfinished prisoner-of-war team main camp (Stalag) VI A. In 1940 the French made up the largest contingent with around 25,000 men. From October 1941 mainly Soviet prisoners of war came to Hemer.
At the urging of the "Reichsvereinigung coal", the Stalag VI A was declared a "special team camp for mining" on November 4th, 1942. The Hemer camp is thus responsible for the labor deployment of prisoners of war in the mining of the eastern Ruhr area. For this purpose, almost exclusively Soviet prisoners of war are recruited from Stalag 326 (VI K) in Stukenbrock. The heavy and dangerous work - and this with inadequate nutrition - is responsible for a very high death rate among prisoners of war.
From the end of 1943 the number of Soviet prisoners of war administered from Hemer has consistently exceeded 100,000. This makes the Stalag VI A the largest prisoner of war camp in the entire German Reich. In the camp itself, however, there are initially only 2-3,000 prisoners; in 1943 their number increased to 10,000 people; towards the end of the war the number continued to swell until it finally reached around 23,000 people. The consequences are catastrophic conditions that result in a high death rate in the camp. The exact number of prisoners of war who died in Hemer itself is not known; Estimates assume around 20,000 deaths.
On April 14th, 1945 the Stalag VI A is liberated by American troops. It then serves as a warehouse for so-called Displaced Persons (DP) and as a repatriation center. The last prisoners of war left the camp at the end of August 1945. A memorial will be erected on November 22nd, 1992 to commemorate the victims. On the 50th anniversary of the camp's liberation, a memorial room with an exhibition was opened in 1995.

December 10

 Prof. Dr. Gerhard Domagk receives the Nobel Prize for Medicine
For his "discovery of the therapeutic effect of Protosil in various infectious diseases", the pathologist Prof. Dr. Gerhard Domagk was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology. Domagk first wrote a letter of thanks to the Swedish Karolinska Institute, but under political pressure he rejected the award in a second letter. Since 1935 the journalist Carl von Ossietzky, who was in custody in the concentration camp, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the award of the Nobel Prize for the National Socialist regime represented an international provocation. Domagk did not receive a diploma and gold medal until December 1947, but the prize money had expired and was on the Nobel Fund flowed back.


August 23

 "Labor Education Camp"
The first so-called "work education camp" Hunswinkel for "contract-breaking and notoriously unwilling to work followers" in Westphalia is set up in the limestone quarries of the Hochtief company at the Versetalsperre near Lüdenscheid. Workers denounced as "work loafers" are detained there by the Gestapo for 6 weeks and have to do the heaviest work for 12 hours a day.
The "labor education camps" soon developed into an essential means of pressure for company management and the Gestapo. From 1941 a total of ten more "labor education camps" were set up in Westphalia, including a women's camp at the Ahaus jute spinning mill. Since German accused men are mainly sent to the front in penal battalions, the "labor education camps" develop into penal camps for foreign, mostly Soviet forced laborers.
On March 22nd, 1943, the Gestapo control center in Münster set up the only "labor camp for German strollers" in Westphalia at the jute spinning mill in Ahaus, but Dutch women are also instructed there. Like other prisoners, these 30-50 women in prison are also subjected to the most cruel abuse during their six weeks in prison, sadistic punishments such as being locked in a standing cell with a constant cold shower and starvation, which often leads to permanent health problems and death.


July 10

 Occupancy of the Stukenbrock prisoner of war camp
The first two transports with 2,000 Soviet prisoners of war arrive at the prisoner-of-war team main camp (Stalag) 326 (VI K) on the Senne military training area near Stukenbrock.
The construction of this prisoner-of-war camp began in early May 1941 as part of the preparations for the German attack on the Soviet Union. For reasons of racial ideology, the Russian "subhumans" are to be housed separately from the prisoners of other nations and isolated from the German population in camps at military training areas. When the Soviet prisoners of war arrive in the Senne, there are still no accommodations available, so that they have to camp for months in the open air and in self-dug holes in the ground. Due to malnutrition, poor hygiene, reckless treatment and systematic murder, only a few prisoners of war survived the winter of 1941/42.
From September 1942, Stalag 326 was assigned its own work area consisting of Lippe and the administrative district of Minden. Now prisoners of war of other nationalities are also being transferred to the Senne. In addition, the warehouse will be the central selection warehouse for workers in the Ruhr mining industry, who will be sent to Stalag VI A in Hemer for further distribution. A total of around 310,000 prisoners are likely to have passed through Stalag 326, of which only a few remained in the camp itself, but were usually housed in external detachments.
In Stalag 326 itself, more than 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war are certain to have perished; the number of 65,000 deaths is probably way too high.
On April 2nd, 1945 the Stalag 326 is liberated by American troops; the prisoners will be returned to their homeland by summer. The former camp site has been used by the "Erich Klausener" state police school since 1970; On June 21st, 1996 a documentation center will be handed over to its destination.

October 19

 Lorenz Jaeger is enthroned as Archbishop of Paderborn
The former pastor of the division, Lorenz Jaeger, was elected Bishop of Paderborn on May 29, 1941 by the Paderborn Metropolitan Chapter. On October 19, 1941 he was ordained by the papal nuncio Cesare Orsenigo. His enthronement was attended by a large crowd in and in front of the Paderborn Cathedral, in which there are noticeably many young people. The celebration is by no means intended as a challenge for the NSDAP, but is perceived by the party as a provocation, as it has to realize that the desired "conformity" of all public life in the Catholic Church has reached an insurmountable limit.


 Niedermarsberg - Beginning of the murder of children as part of "euthanasia"
From 1940 the Westphalian provincial hospitals got caught up in the maelstrom of the mass murder of mentally ill and mentally handicapped people, which the National Socialists initiated under the guise of "euthanasia" (Greek, "beautiful death"). As part of the children's "euthanasia" program, "children's departments" were created in the St. Johannes-Stift in Niedermarsberg and - in November 1941 - in the Dortmund-Aplerbeck Provincial Hospitals, in which an estimated more than 200 children were killed with overdosed medication. In September 1940, 59 Jewish patients were abducted from the Provincial and other sanatoriums - see the example of Reinhard Beyth in Bethel - and gassed. In the course of "Aktion T4", the gassing of around 70,000 patients from German sanatoriums and nursing homes, a total of 2,890 patients from Westphalian provincial hospitals were transferred to Hesse between June and August, 1,334 of whom died in the gas chamber in Hadamar.
In August 1941 Hitler ordered - not least because of the public protest of the Bishop of Munster, Clemens August Graf von Galen - that "Aktion T4" should be discontinued. The killing went on in secret. Against the background of the "decentralized euthanasia" in 1943 another 2,846 patients were abducted from the Westphalian provincial hospitals, most of whom died.
At the end of the Second World War, the Westphalian institutional psychiatry was also facing a catastrophe: thousands of the patients entrusted to their care were treacherously murdered, a large part of the institution was used for purposes other than intended, the system of psychiatric care collapsed, the profession of psychiatrist hopelessly discredited.


April 28

 "Maternity Camp" Waltrop-Holthausen
The first pregnant forced laborers from Poland, Russia and the Ukraine arrive at the "Waltrop-Holthausen maternity camp". The establishment of so-called "maternity camps" was ordered at the end of 1942 in order to be able to check the children born there on the basis of "racial" criteria and to classify them as "good" or "bad racial" according to their qualifications.
The Waltrop-Holthausen camp is likely to be set up as a central reception center for pregnant women from all over Westphalia at the instigation of the Westphalia State Labor Office. It is probably the largest maternity and abortion camp in what was then the German Reich.
While the mothers are supposed to be employed as labor and are sent back to the "work assignment" after their childbirth or forced abortion, their children are largely undesirable. At least a third of the women found in the camp are therefore admitted to have an abortion. The conditions for the children born are designed in such a way that a large proportion of the infants die before the age of one. No information is available on the number of infants and small children who either starved to death in Waltrop or who died in the aftermath of inadequate care; however, it must be assumed that at least half of the children born in Waltrop have died.

May 17

 Destruction of the Möhne dam
In the middle of the (first) "Battle of the Ruhr" from March to July 1943, 19 British Lancaster bombers attacked the Möhne and Sorpe dams with special bombs in the night from May 16, 1943 to May 17, 1943.Operation "Chastise", which has been in preparation for months, is intended to interrupt the water and energy supply of the Ruhr area, possibly decisive for the war, by destroying the two largest dams of the Ruhrtalsperrenverein. In addition, the Eder dam is attacked, which supplies the industrial area around Kassel with energy and the Mittelland Canal with water via a pumping station.
While the Sorpe dam is missed, the Möhne and Eder dams are badly damaged. The attack is deliberately carried out at the time of the highest water level, because only then can the special bombs develop their effect. Within five hours, 110 million cubic meters of water shoot through the valley of the Möhne and the Ruhr. According to official figures, at least 1,600 people died in the tidal wave, including many foreign workers and prisoners of war whose barracks in Neheim were swept away by the floods.
In the short term, the attack has considerable repercussions on the production of important armaments. The intended lasting impairment of the water and energy supply in the Ruhr area does not succeed, however, as the failures can be compensated for thanks to a system of ring and composite pipelines from other dams. In addition, the damage can be repaired faster than the British expected: the first turbines will be running again in May and the two destroyed dams will be restored in October.

March 7

 Resistance fighters and slave laborers murdered
The Gestapo began systematic mass shootings of resistance fighters and forced laborers in Dortmund on the "playground" in the Bittermark, in Rombergpark and on the railway site between Hörde and Berghofen. More than 280 people fell victim to the mass murder by April 12, 1945.
In other cities too, immediately before the end of the war, numerous forced laborers and opponents of the National Socialist regime were murdered by the Gestapo, for example in Hagen, where at least 50 people were killed; Among them is a British Air Force member who is executed contrary to martial law.

March 12

 Heaviest air raid of the Second World War on the European theater of war on Dortmund
On March 12, 1945, Dortmund experienced the heaviest air raid that was flown on a European city during the Second World War. More than 1000 machines of the British Bomber Command drop over 4800 tons of high explosive and mine bombs over the city, the inner city of which had already been completely destroyed by the major attack of October 6th, 1944 / October 7th, 1944.
In any case, the aerial warfare reached its climax in February and March 1945. Largely unhindered by German air defense, the Allies fly large-scale attacks with four-engine long-range bombers, which are supplemented by practically non-stop attacks by fighter bombers. Before the last decisive attack across the Rhine into the interior of Germany, the Ruhr area and the hinterland of the German front are to be cut off from all traffic connections. With extremely heavy "earthquake bombs" ("Tallboy" with 5 tons, "Grand Slam" with 10 tons) the railway viaducts at Bielefeld, Minden and Arnsberg are destroyed, which finally brings the large-scale railway traffic to a standstill.

March 19

 Hitler's "Nero" command
Hitler orders "all military, traffic, communications, industrial and supply installations as well as material assets within the Reich territory that the enemy can somehow make immediately or in the foreseeable future usable for the continuation of his struggle". The destruction is to be prepared by the military command authorities, the Gauleiter and the Reich Defense Commissioners.
In Westphalia-Lippe this is so-called "Nero command" by and large not executed. When Allied troops advance, bridges are primarily blown up, which, however, only insignificantly delay the advance of Allied troops. It is partly thanks to the responsible military and partly courageous citizens that further destruction does not take place. In the Ruhr area, miners in particular prevent the mines from being blown up at the risk of their lives. On the contrary, they keep the pumps running in order to prevent the shafts from "flooding".