Former Presidents and Vice Presidents

Beginning in 1962, there are three former presidents of the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz: Hans-Georg Wormit, Werner Knopp, and Klaus-Dieter Lehmann. There are three former vice presidents: Peter Hofmann, Norbert Zimmermann and Günther Schauerte.

Former Presidents

The first three presidents of the Foundation got the institution established, steered it through the reunification of Germany and laid the groundwork for today’s major projects.

Former State Secretary Hans-Georg Wormit

The first president of the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz, from 1962 to 1977, was former State Secretary Hans-Georg Wormit. Until 1967, his official title as the head of the Foundation was Curator. During Wormit's tenure, the main priority was to install an organizational structure for the Foundation and to establish it as an institution. As a first step, the Foundation's administrative departments were set up. Work began on reorganizing and rebuilding the collections and institutions that had been dispersed during the war.

Under Wormit's leadership, a comprehensive planning concept for buildings and locations was drawn up. In addition, the yearbook series of the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz was launched.

Among other honors, Wormit was awarded the Grand Cross of the Federal Order of Merit and the Ernst-Reuter-Badge. He died in Berlin on 13 August 1992.

Prof. Dr. Werner Knopp

For 21 years – from 1977 until his retirement in 1998 – Prof. Dr. Werner Knopp was in charge of the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz as its second president. His term of office coincided with the reunification of East and West Germany. This historic event made it possible to bring together certain collections and sites within the Foundation's remit, such as the collection of the Gemäldegalerie (Old Master Paintings) at the Kulturforum.

This major undertaking was planned and executed under Knopp's leadership. The Foundation thus made a decisive contribution to establishing Berlin as a cultural capital with a unified museum sector. At its heart is the Museumsinsel (Museum Island) (Museum Island).

Knopp was awarded the Grand Cross of the Federal Order of Merit with Star. He died on 4 January 2019.

Prof. Dr. h. c. Klaus Lehmann

Born in Wrocław (Breslau) in 1940, Prof. Dr. h. c. Klaus Lehmann was the president of the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz from 1998 to 2008. During his time in office, Lehmann began the successful implementation of the Museumsinsel Master Plan, which was presented in 1999. He also got the Humboldt Forum off the ground and set up the Foundation's office of provenance research.

Under its third president, the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz developed into a "cultural global player of a modern type" (Bernd Neumann, then Minister of State and Federal Commissioner for Culture). It continues to be instrumental in raising Berlin's profile as a cultural capital.

Lehmann has received numerous awards, including the Grand Cross of the Federal Order of Merit, the Order of Merit of Berlin, and an honorary doctorate from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich. Since 2008, he has been President of the Goethe Institute.

Former Vice Presidents

The vice president of the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz (SPK) serves as the permanent representative of the president and is responsible for the workings of the central administration. In this capacity, he or she deals with matters pertaining to the organizational structure of the Foundation and individual institutions. The vice president prepares policy decisions on behalf of the SPK as a whole and helps specialist departments belonging to the museums, libraries, or archives to make policy decisions themselves. The three former vice presidents, Peter Hofmann, Norbert Zimmermann and Günther Schauerte, oversaw major construction projects by the Foundation and consolidated its finances. 

Peter Hofmann

In 1968, Peter Hofmann began work as the first Permanent Deputy of the President of the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz: a title that was changed to Vice President in 1990. A lawyer by profession, he had previously worked in the Ministry of the Interior and the local administration of Nördlingen. As Vice President of the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Hofmann was in charge of the Foundation’s central administration. In this capacity, he guided a number of new building projects from the planning stage to completion. Among them were the Kulturforum and the Staatsbibliothek (Berlin State Library). His term of office, which ended in 1997, coincided with the extraordinary challenges of reunification and the consolidation of the Foundation’s institutions in the East and the West, in terms of organizational structure and personnel.

Norbert Zimmermann

The second vice president of the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz was Norbert Zimmermann, who held the position from 1997 until his retirement in 2011. Born in 1946 and trained in jurisprudence, he joined the Foundation in 1984. To begin with he was put in charge of the department of finances, organization, and internal services. In the interim phase after Werner Knopp's departure in 1997, he managed the Foundation's business until Klaus-Dieter Lehmann was officially installed in office.

Among Zimmermann's main achievements were the consolidation of the Foundation's finances and the management of its extensive planning and construction activities. He also formulated its basic policy on matters of provenance and restitution. This was formally adopted in a resolution passed by the Foundation Board in 1999, which is still valid today.

Günther Schauerte

Dr. Günther Schauerte was the vice president of the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation) from 2011 until 2018. He started working for the Foundation in 1986 as an adviser in the Directorate General of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (National Museums in Berlin). He was the deputy general director of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin from 2002 to 2011.

An archeologist, Schauerte proved to be an excellent cultural and financial manager in various positions. His scientific specialty is ancient cultures in the Near East. He was the co-curator of the exhibitions Jordan – Faces of the Orient, Karl Richard Lepsius, and Babylon – Myth and Truth, carried out excavations in Germany and Jordan, and was the Foundation’s deputy project director in an EU Twinning project with the Georgian National Museum.

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