Matthias Platzeck

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Matthias Platzeck
Platzeck in 2009
Leader of the Social Democratic Party
In office
16 November 2005 – 10 April 2006
General SecretaryHubertus Heil
Preceded byFranz Müntefering
Succeeded byKurt Beck
Minister-President of Brandenburg
In office
26 June 2002 – 28 August 2013
DeputyJörg Schönbohm
Ulrich Junghanns
Johanna Wanka
Helmuth Markov
Preceded byManfred Stolpe
Succeeded byDietmar Woidke
President of the Bundesrat
In office
1 November 2004 – 31 October 2005
First Vice PresidentDieter Althaus
Preceded byDieter Althaus
Succeeded byPeter Harry Carstensen
Mayor of Potsdam
In office
4 November 1998 – 26 June 2002
Preceded byHorst Gramlich
Succeeded byJann Jakobs
Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Regional Planning of Brandenburg
In office
22 November 1990 – 3 November 1998
Minister-PresidentManfred Stolpe
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byEberhard Henne
Member of the Landtag of Brandenburg
for Uckermark I
(Potsdam II; 2004–2009)
(Alliance 90/The Greens List; 1990–1992)
In office
13 October 2004 – 8 October 2014
Preceded byLothar Bisky
Succeeded byUwe Schmidt
In office
26 October 1990 – 30 September 1992
Preceded byConstituency established
Succeeded byCarmen Kirmes
Wende politically career
Member of the Bundestag
for Volkskammer
In office
3 October 1990 – 20 December 1990
Preceded byConstituency established
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Minister without Portfolio
In office
5 February 1990 – 12 April 1990
Chairman of the
Council of Ministers
Hans Modrow
Preceded byPosition abolished
Succeeded byPosition established
Member of the Volkskammer
for Potsdam
In office
5 April 1990 – 2 October 1990
Preceded byConstituency established
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Personal details
Born (1953-12-29) 29 December 1953 (age 69)
Potsdam, East Germany (now Germany)
Political partySocial Democratic Party (1995–)
Other political
Independent (1993–1995)
Alliance 90 (1990–1993)
East German Green Party (1990)
Liberal Democratic Party of Germany (1989)
  • Ute Bankwitz
    (m. 1978; div. 1984)
  • Jeanette Jesorka
    (m. 2007)
Alma materTechnische Universität Ilmenau
  • Politician
  • Environmental Hygienist
WebsiteBrandenburgische Landeszentrale für politische Bildung website
Military service
Allegiance East Germany
Branch/service National People's Army
Years of service1972-1974

Matthias Platzeck (born 29 December 1953) is a German politician. He was Minister President of Brandenburg from 2002 to 2013 and party chairman of the SPD from November 2005 to April 2006.

On 29 July 2013 Platzeck announced his resignation from his office in August for health reasons.

Early life and education[edit]

Platzeck was born in Potsdam, the son of a physician and a medical-technical assistant. After attending Polytechnic Secondary School in Potsdam from 1960 to 1966, he went through Extended Secondary School in Kleinmachnow. Following his Abitur in 1972 and military service he studied biomedical cybernetics at the Technische Universität Ilmenau from 1974 onward. After his diploma in 1979, Platzeck worked at the institute for hygiene in Karl-Marx-Stadt (today Chemnitz) in 1979–1980 and the general hospital in Bad Freienwalde from 1980 to 1982. From 1982 to 1990 he was head of the department for environmental hygiene at the agency for hygiene in Potsdam.

Political career[edit]

Platzeck in 1991

Platzeck co-founded ARGUS, a Potsdam environmental organization, with and at the initiative of Carola Stabe in April 1988. In April 1989, he joined the Liberal Democratic Party of Germany but left it shortly thereafter.[1] He represented ARGUS at the founding of the Grüne Liga association of local environmental organizations in East Germany in November 1989. During the political "Wende" of 1989–1990 that led to German Reunification he was their speaker at the East German Round Table talks.[2] From February to April 1990 he represented the oppositional radical Green Party as Minister without Portfolio in the last non-elected but legitimate government of the GDR. Platzeck was elected member of the Volkskammer in 1990 for the Green Party and was parliamentary secretary of the joined faction of Greens and Bündnis 90 (Alliance 90).

After German reunification, he was one of 144 members of the Volkskammer co-opted to the Bundestag. He did not run for a full term in the 1990 German federal election.

In October 1990 Platzeck became a member of the Landtag of Brandenburg for Bündnis 90 (Alliance 90). He was Minister for the Environment in a coalition government with the SPD and FDP from 1990 to 1994, when the coalition broke up. Rejecting the merger of his party with the West German Green Party he did not join the new party Bündnis 90/Die Grünen in 1993. Instead, he became a member of the SPD on 6 June 1995.

After the break of the Brandenburg coalition in 1994 Platzeck left his faction and remained Minister for the Environment under Minister-president Manfred Stolpe. He became popular nationwide for organizing public support for the affected population during a flood of the Oder river in 1997. In 1998 he was elected mayor of Brandenburg's capital Potsdam and rejected the offer of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder to join the federal cabinet as Minister for Transport.

In 2000 Platzeck was elected chairman of the SPD in Brandenburg and in 2002 he succeeded Manfred Stolpe as Minister-president. He was re-elected to the Landtag (state parliament) in 2004. With the SPD as strongest political force he could continue his coalition with the CDU. He served as President of the Bundesrat in 2004/05.

When Franz Müntefering resigned as party chairman of the SPD because of internal conflicts, Platzeck was elected party chairman on 15 November 2005 with an overwhelming majority of 99.8 percent.[3] In January, February and April 2006 Platzeck suffered three severe hearing losses. Due to his ill health he resigned from his post as chairman on 10 April 2006, only five months after becoming chairman.

Life after politics[edit]

Both in 2015 and 2016, Platzeck and Bodo Ramelow were appointed as unpaid arbitrators for negotiations between Deutsche Bahn and the German Train Drivers' Union (GDL).[4] In 2016, he also served as unpaid arbitrator for negotiations between German airline Lufthansa and its flight attendants' union.[5]

From 2018 until 2019, Platzeck co-chaired the German government's so-called coal commission, which is tasked to develop a masterplan before the end of the year on how to phase-out coal and create a new economic perspective for the country's coal-mining regions.[6]

In 2019, Platzeck was appointed by the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community to chair the committee that oversaw the preparations for the 30th anniversary of German reunification.[7]

In late 2020, Platzeck was appointed as arbitrator in a conflict between Charité and the United Services Trade Union (ver.di);[8] negotiations were successfully concluded by February 2021.[9] Following her election as Governing Mayor of Berlin in September 2021, Franziska Giffey mandated Platzeck with helping to end a six-weeks long strike of Vivantes Hospital Group employees.[10][11]

Platzeck was nominated by his party as delegate to the Federal Conventions for the purpose of electing the President of Germany in 2022.[12]

In addition, Platzeck holds a variety of paid and unpaid positions, including the following:

Political positions and controversy[edit]

Platzeck in 2005

Platzeck caused controversy in August 2010 when he called the reunification of Germany on 3 October 1990 an Anschluss, the word used by Adolf Hitler to defend the Nazi annexation of Austria in 1938. In response, Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected Platzeck's choice of words and argued that reunification was precisely what east Germans had wanted, not a process forced upon them.[20]

On 18 November 2014, Platzeck called for the international legitimization of the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, drawing criticism.[21] He has revised his opinion. His comparison (2016) of the deployment of the Bundeswehr to Lithuania as part of the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence with Operation Barbarossa was also criticized.[22]

Hannes Adomeit criticised in 2020 Platzeck's book about Russia . [23]

He was listed in a 2022 article by Politico among 12 Germans who got played by Vladimir Putin.[24]

Personal life[edit]

From 1978 to 1984, Platzeck was married to Ute Bankwitz with whom he has three daughters. In 2007, he married Jeanette Jesorka. The ceremony took place one year later in Temmen-Ringenwalde, with guests including Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Günther Jauch and Andreas Dresen.


  • Matthias Platzeck: Zukunft braucht Herkunft. Deutsche Fragen, ostdeutsche Antworten. Hoffmann und Campe, Hamburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-455-50114-8
  • Matthias Platzeck: Wir brauchen eine neue Ostpolitik −Russland als Partner. Propyläen Verlag , 2020


  1. ^ "Platzeck kurze Zeit in der LDPD". Archived from the original on 17 January 2013. Retrieved 6 February 2020.
  2. ^ Schönhausen Palace: At the Round Table to Democracy. In: Sites of Unity (Haus der Geschichte), 2022.
  3. ^ Dempsey, Judy (16 November 2005). "In Germany, leaders arising from the East". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  4. ^ Ramelow und Platzeck machen’s nochmal Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 30 December 2016.
  5. ^ Jens Flottau (30 June, 3016), Platzeck gelingt Schlichtung Süddeutsche Zeitung.
  6. ^ Andreas Franke (6 June 2018), Germany launches commission tasked to develop coal exit masterplan S&P Global Platts.
  7. ^ 30 Jahre Friedliche Revolution und Deutsche Einheit Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community, press release of 3 April 2019.
  8. ^ Hannes Heine (19 November 2020), Tarifstreit an der Berliner Universitätsklinik: Platzeck wird Schlichter an der Charité Der Tagesspiegel.
  9. ^ Hannes Heine (26 February 2021), Matthias Platzeck als Schlichter Lösung im Tarifstreit in Tochterfirma der Berliner Charité Der Tagesspiegel.
  10. ^ Hannes Heine (29 September 2021), Vivantes-Kliniken und Charité in Berlin: Matthias Platzeck wird „Moderator“ im Tarifstreit der Vivantes-Tochterfirmen Der Tagesspiegel.
  11. ^ Manuela Heim (27 October 2021), Berliner Krankenhausbewegung: Erfolgreich zu Ende gestreikt Die Tageszeitung.
  12. ^ Bundesversammlung: Grüne nominieren Haberlandt und Steffen Süddeutsche Zeitung, 14 December 2021.
  13. ^ Jens Blankenagel (7 May 2015), Neuer Aufsichtsratsvorsitzender bei Papierhersteller Leipa Platzeck geht in die Wirtschaft Berliner Zeitung.
  14. ^ Board German-Russian Forum].
  15. ^ Huber leitet das Kuratorium Garnisonkirchen – Stiftung kann mit Spendensammlung beginnen Foundation for the Reconstruction of the Garrison Church, press release of 22 June 2009.
  16. ^ Board of Trustees
  17. ^ Advisory Board Archived 2 April 2017 at the Wayback Machine Jewish Film Festival Berlin & Brandenburg (JFBB).
  18. ^ Organizational Structure Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES).
  19. ^ Board of Trustees Schloss Neuhardenberg Foundation.
  20. ^ Quentin Peel (30 September 2010), Germany: An unequal union Financial Times.
  21. ^ Andreas Heinemann-Grüder: Putins Krieg im Osten. Beschwichtigen oder abschrecken? in: Zeitschrift für Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik. 8, Nr. 4, October 2015, p. 573–588. doi:10.1007/s12399-015-0535-z.
  22. ^ Warum Platzeck irrt: über Russland und über Brandts Ostpolitik. Vorwärts, 24 February 2017; accessed 6 February 2020.
  23. ^ Von Apologetik zum Appeasement: Wie Matthias Platzeck Russland missversteht
  24. ^ Karnitschnig, Matthew (5 May 2022). "12 Germans who got played by Putin". POLITICO. ISSN 2381-1595. Retrieved 20 April 2023.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by Chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Germany
Succeeded by