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Richard von Weizsäcker
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1991-039-11, Richard v. Weizsäcker.jpg
10th President of Germany
6th President of the Federal Republic of Germany
In office
1 July 1984 – 30 June 1994
Preceded by Karl Carstens
Succeeded by Roman Herzog
Personal details
Born (1920-04-15)15 April 1920
Stuttgart, Germany
Died 31 January 2015(2015-01-31) (aged 94)
Berlin, Germany
Nationality German
Political party CDU
Spouse(s) Marianne Freifrau von Weizsäcker

Richard Karl Freiherr von Weizsäcker (15 April 1920 – 31 January 2015) was a German politician, and a member of the CDU party. He was President of Germany from 1984 to 1994.


He was born in Stuttgart, the son of the diplomat Ernst von Weizsäcker and brother of physicist and philosopher Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker. His grandfather Carl von Weizsäcker had been Minister President of Württemberg

In World War II he served in the German Army. He was wounded in East Prussia in 1945 and was sent home to Stuttgart. Then he continued his study of history in Göttingen and eventually studied law.

As a law student he was a member of his father's defence team at the Eleventh secondary Nuremburg Trial aka the Ministries Trial. He took his first judicial state exam in 1950, the second in 1953, and in 1955 was promoted doctor juris. In 1953 he married Marianne von Kretschmann; they have four children.

From 1967 to 1984 he was a member both of the Synod and the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany. He leaded the German Evangelical Church Assembly from 1964 to 1970.

Political career

Von Weizsäcker with U.S. President Ronald Reagan and former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, 1985

Richard von Weizsäcker joined the CDU in 1954 and was a member of the Bundestag (German Parliament) from 1969 to 1981.

He was elected vice president of the Bundestag 1979-1981, but did not stand for re-election, because he became the Governing Mayor (German: Regierender Bürgermeister) of West Berlin (1981-1984).

He was elected President of Germany by the Bundesversammlung (Federal Convention) in 1984, succeeding Karl Carstens. He was Germany’s first president after reunification.

After his presidency, he was involved in politics and charitable affairs. He was the chair of a commission installed by the then SPD-Bündnis 90/Die Grünen government for reforming the Bundeswehr.

He has served on many international commissions. He was chairman of the Independent Working Group on the future of the United Nations and was one of three 'Wise Men' appointed by European Commission President Romano Prodi to consider the future of the European Union.

Retirement and death

He retired in 1994 and lived in Berlin. He wrote books during his retirement.

Richard von Weizsäcker died in Berlin, Germany, aged 94.


Von Weizsäcker as part of his father's defence team at the Ministries Trial

Von Weizsäcker has written may books, including

  • Von Deutschland aus
  • Die deutsche Geschichte geht weiter
  • Von Deutschland nach Europa
  • Vier Zeiten

His autobiograghy is called From Weimar to the Wall: My Life in German Politics (1999).

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