Concept

Wilhelm Sollmann

Summary
Friedrich Wilhelm Sollmann, later William Frederick Sollmann (1 April 1881 – 6 January 1951) was a German journalist, politician, and interior minister of the Weimar Republic. In 1919, he was on the staff of the German delegation that was to receive the Treaty of Versailles. In 1933, he emigrated and eventually moved to the United States where he became an advocate for the peaceful resolution of conflicts. Wilhelm Sollmann was born on 2 April 1881 in de, Saxe-Meiningen (today a part of Sonneberg, Thuringia). His father was Johan Jakob Sollmann, a brewer and farmer in Oberlind and after 1889 tenant of the Ratskeller at Coburg. His mother was Christiane Sollmann, inn keeper. After the move to Coburg, Wilhelm attended the Casimirianum gymnasium from 1891 to 1897, when he had to leave due to the family's financial difficulties. That year, his family moved to Cologne. There, he began work as an apprentice (kaufmännische Lehre). From 1901-11 he worked as a Handlungsgehilfe whilst attending night school at the Handelshochschule Köln. Originally rooted in Lutheran Christianity, he was a member of the Internationaler Guttempler-Orden and the CVJM. However, in 1902 he joined the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and in 1907 co-founded the Workers' Youth at Cologne. He was also active in the temperance movement and was chairman of the Arbeiter-Abstinenzbewegung (workers' temperance movement, 1906–10). He was also a member of the Angestelltengwerkschaft (white-collar workers' union). In 1906, Sollmann married Anna Katharina (Käthe, Kate) née Grümmer (born 1883, died before 1975). They had one daughter, Elfriede (1912–97). In 1908, Sollmann became a Freidenker. In 1911, Sollmann became editor of the socialdemocratic newspaper Fränkischer Volksfreund at Würzburg, but soon returned to Cologne where he became editor (1912) and later editor-in-chief (1920–33) of the Rheinische Zeitung. During World War I, Sollmann was the chairman of the socialdemocratic union (Verein) of Cologne.
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