Our History

Pauline Schwarzkopf was born on 22 April 1908 in Mannheim to Auguste and Friedrich Weinmann. It was the start of a long life that carried on until 25 December 2005.

At the age of ten she witnessed the collapse of the empire and of the grand duchy. As a girl and young woman she grew up in the Weimar Republic. After the early death of her father in the 1930s, Pauline and her mother moved to Berlin. She lived through the National Socialist period and saw the end of Second World War in Berlin.

Pauline Schwarzkopf (on the right) and Gerhard Merzyn (former director of Haus Rissen, in the middle) talking to a guest

She witnessed the inception of the Federal Republic of Germany, the partition of Berlin and Germany and at the end of her life, from 1990 onwards, she experienced her 5th Germany. In 1957, at the age of 49, she married the business man Heinz Schwarzkopf. Life granted them 13 happy years before Heinz Schwarzkopf was killed in a tragic car accident in 1969.

Establishment of the foundation

In memory of her husband Pauline Schwarzkopf founded the independent Heinz-Schwarzkopf Foundation Young Europe in Hamburg in 1971, whose mission it has been to spread the idea of European unity and peace among young people.

The following decades of her life were dedicated to the ambitious project of working for a united Europe, taking lessons from the terrible developments of the 20th century that had so directly affected her life.

The Heinz-Schwarzkopf Foundation was originally based at the International Institute for Politics and Finance in Hamburg and moved to the Hamburg headquarters of the NGO Europa-Union in 1991. Since July 2000 the foundation has a permanent home in the centre of Berlin with its own seminar and lecture facilities.

Left to right: Ilka Keuper (managing director of the Schwarzkopf Foundation), Martin Hutsebaut (european trade union confideration), Pauline Schwarzkopf.

From 1971 Pauline Schwarzkopf dedicated her energy entirely to the foundation. She took part in nearly all of the Foundation’s political seminars and every trip with young people to the European institutions of Strasbourg, Luxembourg and Brussels. The foundation was the first politically-impartial organisation to send young people to political seminars in East Germany and Poland in the 1970s.

Pauline Schwarzkopf shaped the foundation through her work, her strong emotional personality and her sense of social justice. Her heart was always with those who were at a disadvantage. Christianity was a strong influence.

Heinz Schwarzkopf – biographical background

Heinz Schwarzkopf was described by Pauline, as well as by friends and relatives, as a man whose intention it was to draw lessons from the Nazi period and World War II, in order to make Europe more peaceful. He was especially interest in the role of young people from all over Europe, and was actively involved in several philanthropic organisations.

However, we learned new facts about his life from a historical expertise we had commissioned for the occasion of the 100th birthday of Pauline Schwarzkopf in 2008: Heinz Schwarzkopf joined the National Socialist Party in April of 1933, asked to join the SS in 1935, and did so in 1938.

He was drafted to the 76th Infantery Division in 1939 and participated in the attacks of France and the Soviet Union. Whether his unit was involved in war crimes has not be determined so far. Heinz Schwarzkopf was wounded in summer 1942 and spent the rest of the war as a clerk in the military archives in Potsdam.

Naming of the Foundation

The intention of naming the Foundation after Heinz Schwarzkopf suggested him as a role model for young people. Given the new findings, this could not be upheld. Therefore, the Foundation’s board decided to change the name of the Foundation to “Schwarzkopf-Stiftung Junges Europa“, honouring the life and work of Pauline Schwarzkopf. The original intention to use the name “Pauline-Schwarzkopf-Stiftung” was impossible as Pauline had explicitly declined this while she was still alive.

Additionally, the Foundation’s Charter was amended, adding the goals of fighting right-wing extremism, racism and anti-semitism. Given the biography of our original eponym, we feel even more committed to work with young people all over Europe for a peaceful, united and diverse Europe.

Just like Pauline Schwarzkopf, we see the European idea as the key vision for our future, and the best path to a peaceful European future in a globalised world.

Management of the Schwarzkopf Foundation

Since its founding in 1971, the Schwarzkopf Foundation was directed by Ilka Keuper, Kitty Köster and Philipp Scharf. More information about the current team led by Luisa Seiler can be found here.

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