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Horst Ehmke

In office
March 26, 1969 – October 22, 1969
Preceded by Gustav Heinemann
Succeeded by Gerhard Jahn

Chief of Staff of the German Chancellery
In office
October 22, 1969 – December 15, 1972
Preceded by Karl Carstens
Succeeded by Horst Grabert

Federal Minister of Post and Communications
In office
December 15, 1972 – May 7, 1974
Preceded by Lauritz Lauritzen
Succeeded by Kurt Gscheidle

Born February 4, 1927 (1927-02-04) (age 82)
Free City of Danzig
Political party SPD
Occupation Professor of law

Horst Paul August Ehmke (born February 4, 1927) is a German lawyer, law professor and politician of the Social Democratic Party (SPD). He served as Federal Minister of Justice (1969), Federal Minister for Special Affairs and Chief of Staff at the German Chancellery (1969-1972) and Federal Minister for Research and Technology as well as Federal Minister for Post and Communications (1972-1974).



Ehmke was born in the Free City of Danzig, where he passed his Abitur[1]. In 1944, at the age of 17, Ehmke was enrolled as a member of the Nazi Party, although he later stated the registration happened without his own knowledge.[2][3] Following the Expulsion of Germans after World War II he came as a refugee to western Germany. He studied Law and Economics in Göttingen and Political science and History at Princeton University (U.S.) from 1949 to 1950. In 1952, he promoted as Dr. iur., and in 1956, he passed his final examinations. In these years, he was the assistant of Adolf Arndt, member of the Bundestag (SPD). From 1956 to 1960, Ehmke became a member of the Ford Foundation in Cologne and Berkeley. After passing his Habilitation in 1960, he became extraordinary Professor at the University of Freiburg. From 1963 on, Ehmke was ordinary Professor and held the chair of Law at this university. Since 1974, he is accredited as a lawyer.

Ehmke is married and has two children.

Political career

Chief of Staff Horst Ehmke greeting Senator Ted Kennedy in Bonn, April 1971

Since 1947, Ehmke has been a member of the SPD, where he was a member of the executive board from 1973 to 1991. He was a member of the Bundestag from 1969 to 1994 for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Here, he was deputy whip of the SPD faction from 1977 to 1990.

Ehmke was Federal Minister of Justice in 1969, Federal Minister for Special Affairs and Chief of Stass at the German Chancellery from 1969 to 1972 and Federal Minister for Research and Technology as well as Federal Minister for Post and Communications from 1972 to 1974.


Regarding the events on 9/11, Ehmke said, "Terrorists could not have carried out such an operation with four hijacked planes without the support of a secret service."[4]


  • Grenzen der Verfassungsänderung, 1953
  • Politik der praktischen Vernunft – Aufsätze und Referate, 1969
  • Politik als Herausforderung. Reden – Vorträge – Aufsätze 1968–1974, 1974
  • Politik als Herausforderung. Reden – Vorträge – Aufsätze 1975–1979, 1979
  • Beiträge zur Verfassungstheorie und Verfassungspolitik, 1981
  • Mittendrin – Von der Großen Koalition zur Deutschen Einheit, 1994

After retiring, Ehmke also wrote detective stories revolving around politics:

  • Global Players, 1998
  • Der Euro-Coup, 1999
  • Himmelsfackeln, 2001
  • Privatsache, 2003
  • Im Schatten der Gewalt, 2006


This article incorporates information from the revision as of January 6, 2007 of the equivalent article on the German Wikipedia.

External links



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