Dieter Heymann’s grandparents, Marie and Adolf Geck, were of exceptional importance as a couple of politicians and newspaper publishers, as Anne Junk explains.
. Marie (1865 – 1927) and Adolf Geck (1854 – 1942) are somewhat covered by Aenne and Franz Burda as publishers. Ralf Burgmaier asked Anne Junk how the dudes in this power couple came to be.
BZ: The Gecks’ house at Zhringerstrae 13 only refers to Marie Geck. Why?
junk: This is because of the book “Distinctive Women” that we published in 2006 and the women’s history workshop and we did a city tour for it. Hence the shield. Normally men are in the foreground, here is the other side. But I will gladly take the initiative for Adolf Geck.
BZ: After all, with “D’r alt Offeburger” Adolf Geck invented what a Geck expert writes as a unique newspaper in the history of the media. What is the singularity?
junk: Originally published by Geck Publishers “The People’s Friend”. After discussions with comrades, he had to undertake not to publish any more socialist newspapers for five years. So he invented “D’r alt Offeburger”. The newspaper was a reflection of the geeks’ attachment to their country. On the one hand, they were socialists, but not far from it. In Offenburg they tried to emphasize cultural and political. Marie also contributed a lot in the field of journalism. The mixture did it. It was like that even arch-catholic Offenburgers did not take much offense.
BZ: Geck is Offenburg’s celebrity SPDler. Even the Nazis sent flowers when he died.
junk: Flowers could also have an ephemeral meaning. After all, the Nazis banned “D’r alt Offeburger” in 1933. In fact, it probably wouldn’t be easy to quietly remove the popular face of Adolf Geck. However, we have no source to back this up. In fact, political opponents were often taken in what were cynically called “protective guards” by the Nazis. The men do not.
BZ: When Adolf Geck was elected to the Reichstag, Marie took over the editing. And that with five small children. Hard enough.
junk: She changed radically from the well-to-do Catholic bourgeois daughter to a socialist and businesswoman. When her first husband and two children die and she inherits debts, she gets a job as a receptionist for a photographer in Mannheim. Adolf Geck, an old friend of the family, helps her and they fall in love while reading August Bebel’s “Women and Socialism” together. Against all odds, he left the church. She and Adolf live in a partnership. He takes care of his fragile health, cheats on the publisher when he is in Berlin, is an author himself, including for Clara Zetkin’s feminist journal “Equality”. She is one of the first women in Germany to become a member of a poor municipal council and other committees. After all, he had a nanny. With all this strain, it is not surprising that she was the first of the two to die in 1927. With the women’s history workshop we are preparing a publication on Marie Geck. It should appear by the end of the year.
For people: Anne Junk has been at the Museum im Ritterhaus since 1989, where she is curator of many original exhibits.