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Heinrich Held

In office
1924 – 1933
Preceded by Eugen Ritter von Knilling
Succeeded by Ludwig Siebert

In office
1927 – 1932

In office
1930 – 1932

In office
1932 – 1933

Born June 6, 1868(1868-06-06)
Erbach, Germany
Died August 4, 1938
Nationality German
Political party Bavarian People's Party
Residence Regensburg, Bavaria
Occupation Journalist
Religion Roman Catholic

Heinrich Held (6 June 1868 – 4 August 1938) was a Catholic politician and Minister President of Bavaria. He was forced out of office by the Nazi takeover in Germany in 1933.



Heinrich Held was born in in Erbach in the Hunsrück, then a part of Prussia. His father, Johannes Held, was a local farmer and musician, his mother was Susanne Held née Kaiser.

Held studied law at the universities of Straßburg, Marburg and Heidelberg before becoming a journalist in Straßburg in 1896. He moved to Heidelberg the year after and became editor of the Regensburger Morgenblatts, a newspaper in the Bavarian city of Regensburg, in 1899. He moved to take up the same position at the Regensburger Anzeiger the year after. From 1906, he became a co-owner of those two newspapers and begun his political involvement as a speaker in the conservative-christian workers' movements.

Held became a member of the Bavarian parliament in 1907, for the Bavarian branch of the Centre Party, and continued to be a member until 1933. He belonged to the left wing of his party and was mainly interested in fiscal politics.

He quickly rose to power within the party, becoming his party's leader in parliament 1914 and party leader shortly afterwards. In 1917, Held was elevated to the title of Geheimer Hofrat, a member of the Bavarian Privy council.

In 1918, after the end of the monarchy in Bavaria, Heinrich Held was one of the co-founders of the Bavarian People's Party (BVP), transforming the Centre's Bavarian branch into a party emphasizing conservative elements and states rights. Held remained the parliamentary leader of the party.

Held also served as the president of the Deutscher Katholikentag from 1921, a regular gathering and discussion forum for the German catholics.

In July 1924, after the resignation of Eugen Ritter von Knilling, Held became prime minister of Bavaria. His government was supported by his own party, the national-conservative German National People's Party, the national-liberal German People's Party and the Bauernbund. His politics as prime minister were aimed at reconciliation with the federal government and a move away from separatism. In 1924, he also signed a Concordat with the Holy See.

He ran in the first round of the 1925 German presidential elections and achieved 3.7 percent of the votes. In the second round, his party supported the right-wing candidate Paul von Hindenburg instead of the Centre Party's candidate Wilhelm Marx.

In 1930, his government lost its majority in parliament and continued as a minority government. From 1930 to 1932, Held also held the offices of Ministers of State for Commerce, Industry and Trade and Ministers of State for Agriculture . Both were merged to form the Ministry for Economy which he held from 1932 to 1933[1].

He continued to advocate states rights within the German republic, publishing papers on the subject. He sharply criticized the removal of the Prussian prime minister Otto Braun by Chancellor Franz von Papen in 1932, a move he considered an illegal interference of the central government in state matters[2].

An attempt supported by a wide coalition of parties, to establish Rupprecht, Crown Prince of Bavaria, as a Staatskommisar with dictatorial powers in 1932 to counter the Nazis failed due to the hesitant Bavarian government under Held[3][4]. Held himself had suggested the idea but wavered in the last minute, choosing not to make an announcement appointing the crown prince to the planned position[5].

The Bavarian government was forcibly removed by the Nazis on 9 March 1933. Held resisted the attempts by the SA to overthrow his government at first but due to receiving no support from the German army, who had orders from Berlin to stay out of domestic politics, he could ultimately not hold off the Nazis[6]. The office of Bavarian prime minister was abolished and replaced by a Reichsstatthalter, a purely administrative position with no political power[1]. Held retired from politics, first escaping to Lugano, Switzerland, where his son Josef lived, later withdrawing to Regensburg. His government pension as a former prime minister was revoked by the Nazis[7].

His son Philipp became one of the first inmates at the Dachau concentration camp in 1933[8].

On 4 August 1938, Heinrich Held died in Regensburg


See also



Political offices
Preceded by
Eugen Ritter von Knilling
Prime Minister of Bavaria
1924 – 1933
Succeeded by
Ludwig Siebert


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