A real Berlin-born
I am a real Berlin-born. I was born on 1 October 1953 in the district Tempelhof. I grew up without a father and have four siblings. Since I was the youngest, I had to learn early to stand my ground. Although my mother had a simple social background and we lived modestly, I was the first in my family who could go to a grammar school and study afterwards. This was only possible because the social-democratic education policy under Willy Brandt gave children from a poor background this chance. Furthermore the whole family stuck together. My older brother supported me financially during my studies for a while. Additionally, I had to job like many of my fellow-students.
Fascination for policy
When I was a student, I joined the Young Socialists and entered into the SPD. Being a politically keen young person I felt attracted by their policies. Another party was never worthy of consideration. Willy Brandt was the guiding idol for me. The way he, as the foreign minister and then Bundeskanzler, pressed ahead with policy of détente and Ostpolitik and how he disbanded the blocking of reforms fascinated me and got me going.
I was active in the representation of pupils and participated in the development of an educational reform project. These were subjects I was interested in. In 1973 I sat my Abitur at the Ulrich-von-Hutten-Oberschule. I have never been a brilliant pupil but always quite a good one. My examination in the subject of social sciences was a comparison of the constitutions of the Weimar Republic, the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany. Maybe, with this combination of subjects my subsequent occupational history as lawyer and politician began to show.
As lawyer in policy
After I had finished school, I had to decide what I wanted to study. Only jurisprudence and political science came into question for me. I decided to study law and planned to become a Judge. During my studies I committed to the Young Socialists and my party. From the very first moment I enjoyed the work in the SPD. I wanted to achieve and change something politically, even if that was not always easy. In 1981, I passed my second juridical state examination. Afterwards I worked for the internal senator in Berlin.
The youngest city councillor of Berlin
In 1984, I became city councillor of national education and culture in the district Tempelhof. So, aged 30, I was the youngest city councillor throughout Berlin. With this position I had turned politics into my profession and had decided to assume responsibility. During my time as city councillor I got to know the public administration of Berlin from the inside. Every day I was confronted with the problems of the field, school and culture. The experiences I gained in local politics were fundamental for my following occupation and are elementary for me to this day.
After eleven years being in this capacity it was time for an occupational change. I decided to run for the Berlin House of Representatives. After the election I wanted to become acquainted with new subject areas and went into the main committee of which I became chairman. There I gained my specialized knowledge of the financial situation of our city that I know in every detail. In addition, my interest was always in cultural and educational as well as social policy. When I am talking about a “social city” I mean a peaceful and tolerant city, living together.
Chairmanship of the parliamentary group and formation of government
After my first four years in the Berlin House of Representatives I was elected as chairman of the parliamentary group of the SPD in December 1999. In the course of the violation of the grand coalition and my following election to the Governing Mayor of a red-green minority government I resigned from that office in June 2001.Then I was nominated for top candidate of the SPD of Berlin at the election brought forward in October. My party had been the strongest force in the Berlin House of Representatives and the coalition of SPD and PDS, set up as a result of this, elected me to the Governing Mayor on 17 January 2002.
On 21 February 2002 I made my first government statement in front of the Berlin House of Representatives: “With courage for Berlin – we will make it”. That is still my motto. Just in such a big and pulsating city like Berlin, it is important not to lose heart. In the same year, rotational I have been elected for president of the Federal Council of Germany. In my second government statement, 16 January 2003, I dealt with the “civil service and collective wage negotiations of the federal state Berlin”. On 1 May 2004, we were able to witness a historic day, also for Berlin, the EU expansion which I attended with my third government statement.
Date and place of birth 1 October 1953 in Berlin
Studies at the FU Berlin
1979 first juridical state examination
1981 second juridical state examination
1981 – 1984 senior civil servant employed at the senator for internal affairs
1984 – 1995 city councillor of the Tempelhof district
1995 – 1999 deputy of the chairman of the parliamentary group of the SPD
December 1999 – chairman of the parliamentary group of the SPD
Since 16 June 2001 governing mayor of Berlin (re–elected 17 January 2002)
Member of SPD and regional party executive, district and regional party conference delegate
1979 – 1984 district authority
1981 – 1984 chairman of the SPD BVV Tempelhof
Member of AWO
Tempelhofer Kunst- und Kulturverein (TKK) (art and culture club of Tempelhof)
partnership association Tempelhof, homeowner, flat owner and property owner registered society of Berlin-Lichtenrade
support association Bruno-H.-Bürgel Schule registered association