GERTRUD BÄUMER AND HELENE LANGE
* 12th September 1873 in Hohenlimburg (Hagen), today Germany
† 25th March 1954 in Bielefeld, today Germany
* 9th April 1848 in Oldenburg, today Germany
† 13th May 1930 in Berlin, today Germany
Helene Lange and Gertrud Bäumer were German women’s rights activists and politicians. Many schools in Germany still bear their names today.
Helene Lange stood, above all, for equal educational and professional opportunities for women, and was one of the most important representatives of the moderate wing of the early German women’s movement. She was also regarded as the undisputed leader of the teacher’s movement. In 1890, she founded the General German Women Teachers Association (ADLV).
In 1898, Helene Lange met Gertrud Bäumer, and groomed her to be her successor. Gertrud Bäumer became chairman of the Federation of General German Women‘s Association (BDF). In 1919, Bäumer, together with Friedrich Naumann and others, founded the German Democratic Party (DDP), of which she was deputy chairman from 1920 to 1930.
Bäumer was also instrumental in the creation of the National Women’s Service. This charity organization coordinated food supplies, and helped with the voluntary deployment of women within industry and the economic system during the Second World War.
As a result of working together, an intense friendship quickly developed between the two women, which led to a life of cohabitation that lasted until Lange’s death in 1930. This form of living together was described as a “Boston marriage”. To the outside world, these “romantic friendships” were presented as being Platonic, thus without sexual involvement.