Frankfurter Gesellschaft's history


The Frankfurt Society for Trade, Industry and Science was founded in 1919 on the initiative of the patron and Chamber of Commerce Vice-President Dr. Karl Kotzenberg and the former Frankfurt Lord Mayor Dr. Georg Voigt in the tradition of the bourgeois, enlightened Casino Society of 1802. In the following years of the Weimar Republic, great personalities such as Albert Einstein, Walter Rathenau, or the writers Heinrich Mann and Stefan Zweig were guests as speakers. Important representatives of science, business, culture and politics met regularly in its Siesmayerstraße social hall, then as now, to cultivate an intensive exchange of ideas across party and ideological boundaries in a hospitable atmosphere. During the Nazi era, the Frankfurt society adapted to the brown spirit of the times and the Villa Bonn was renamed the "House of Business". All Jewish members were forcibly expelled, 103 members in 1935 alone, among them the long-time vice-president and great supporter of the Frankfurt Society, Dr Arthur von Weinberg. In addition, numerous non-Jewish members from outside the regime declared their resignation by 1945. It was not until 1988 that the injustice done to the Jewish members by the then Frankfurt Society was made an issue. The expulsions were declared null and void.

New Beginning

After the Second World War, the Rector of Goethe University, Prof. Dr. Walter Hallstein, at that time Lord Mayor of the City of Frankfurt am Main, Dr. Walter Kolb, and the President of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Dr. Alfred Petersen, met in October 1947 to resurrect the Frankfurt Society. Many outstanding guests who have addressed the Society's members in recent decades bear witness to the wide range of political and intellectual topics that occupy the Frankfurt Society: Ludwig Erhard, Carl Orff, Theodor Heuss, Willy Brandt, Henry Kissinger, Alfred Herrhausen, Karl Otto Pöhl, Angela Merkel, Petra Roth, Nike Wagner, Norbert Lammert, Rüdiger Safranski and many others have stood at the same lectern.

Tolerant und Cosmopolitan

The Frankfurt Society for Trade, Industry and Science is not elitist. Its self-image is shaped by the fact that its members are committed to civic engagement for our community. The diversity of professions and talents gives the society the intellectual quality and spiritual breadth that makes it a special attraction in the city's society. Openness to the world and tolerance, the art of listening and arguing, but also the enjoyment of one's own cultivated gastronomy, these are the indispensable elements of a lively togetherness.