Picture of Otto Winterer The following is an English translation of the German article about the famous Otto Winterer the Burgermeister of Freiburg Germany.

English translation provided graciously by Ronit Deggelmann (Germany) a friend of Tatjana Winterer (Germany)

A whole epoch has the trademark of the 'second founder'

Town hall sovereign: Mayor Otto Winterer characterized Freiburg's face, in his 25 years of duty like no one else

None of the Freiburg's mayors of the prewar days could ever compare with him and not just because of his years of service. Mayor Dr. Otto Winterer (1846-1915) did exactly 25 years in office, and what he accomplished in this time, earned him the honor of 'Ehrenbürgerwürde' (being a special citizen in a town) of Freiburg. His name is not just given to a street in Herden (where he lived in 1913, after he retired) but to a whole epoch of the history of Freiburg.

Quick career

'The Winterer Era was the foundation of Freiburg'. Otto Winterer was born in January 1846 as a baker's son in Ettenheim. When 14 years old he came to Freiburg to go to the Bertholds grammar school, he then studied law and national economy in Freiburg and Heidelberg, from there he brought his preference for romantic, towers and castles with him. The restoration of the Martins- and Schwabengate, the historical rebuilding of the old university, to the 'new town hall' all happened because of Mr. Winterer.

But he had a special love for the cathedral. He also founded the cathedral restoration group in 1890, where he was president until he died. After his studies, he took part in the civil service in 1871, where his career started quickly. At 30 years old he had already been head of Buchen, but he soon gave his career in the civil service up, to become mayor of Constance. There he soon brought order to the finances and got a 'complete trust' for that. Freiburg wanted him to leave Constance and to come back to become the successor of mayor Schuster. Winterer was the only candidate and so he won and became mayor in May 1888.

Otto Winterer was respectfully called the 'second founder' of Freiburg. During his time the number of inhabitants and houses doubled. The city brightened up and representative and prestigious buildings were built up. A bungalow quarter was conceived for attracting new citizens from the North (e.g. Hamburg and Bremen). Soon Freiburg had the nickname 'Pensionopolis' (which means city with lots of retiring people). Mr. Winterer wanted to improve the worth of living and the quality of life instead of the industrial growth.

He built up a modern sewage system, improved the petroleum and electricity system. For example the traffic system - the first streetcar ran (pulled by horses) 1891. He also offered cheap apartments for worker's families. Because of these things, even the shy Freiburg experienced an economic and political boom. But to brighten up the city was still central and important for him.

The city streams were not just preserved, no they were extended and wells were put up. As for keeping the two big towers, Winterer commited himself in the district. 'As long as I am mayor of Freiburg, those two State's evidences of Freiburg's wonderful past, those two friend's of our cathedral's youth will stay (as they are). Anyway Winterer ruled the town hall with 'a strict hand, unselfish against himself and he demand a lot of his employees' told Werner Preker in the 'Freiburger biographies'. His success based not just of his good exam, his administration experience and his endurance and extra work. More important has been 'his mental movement that he was full of ideas and his ability for carrying through. But both words are correct: father and ruler' told Renate Lissem-Breinlinger in the third episode of the city history. 'In spite of his big plans, he kept so much overall view that he never lost the trust of the majority' the text continues. Just with his biggest project, the opening of the theater in 1910 (which was designed by architects from Berlin), earlier days 'the most striking, monumental building in the townscape' except the cathedral got criticism - it was mostly against the high costs of the construction. Politically Winterer belonged - like most responsible grand dukes of the administration - to the liberal camp, but he was 'from the beginning clearly above the parties' continues Lissem-Breinlinlinger. From 1883 to 1889 he was representative of the national liberal party and member for the second chamber of the Baden (state) situation of living. From 1905 until his death he belonged to the first chamber of the 'Oberhaus', appointed member (a real distinction). Grand Duke Friedrich I offered him a position as minister in Karlsruhe, but Winterer wanted to stay 'Grand duke of Freiburg' like contemporaries called him.

'Always a good figure' The mayor was seen in their eyes always a good figure and he seemed 'more important when he held a speech or did some other representation duties, that anyone else' told Lissem-Breinlinger.

Privately, he lived with his younger wife (by six years) and his six children modestly in a company flat in the town hall on the 'Franziskaner Place'. At first after he retired in summer 1913, he moved in a house in the Wintererstreet 56, but he couldn't enjoy his retirement for a long time. In January 1915 he went to the St. Josef Hospital because of a serious stomach disorder, where he died on February 26th. 'His dead saved him to experience the breakdown of his system of worth' Lissem-Breinlinger ended.