Robert Bosch: Entrepreneur, Citizen, and Philanthropist

The Democrat

After the end of World War I, Robert Bosch decided to play an active part in building Germany’s first democracy and donated 300,000 marks to the "Deutsche Liga für den Völkerbund" (German Federation for the League of Nations) established by Matthias Erzberger. Concerned about the self-destructive tendencies of the Weimar Repuplic, Bosch became a founder member of the "Bund der Erneuerung des Reiches" (Federation for the Renewal of the Empire), which aimed to stabilize the republic on the basis of the Weimar Constitution.

His engagement with European politics focused on reconciliation between Germany and France, which he supported in a variety of ways, financially and with strong personal dedication. This focus also led him to join the Pan-European Movement of Richard von Coudenhouve-Kalergi as an associate member. On December 31, 1932, Robert Bosch launched an appeal for international reconciliation in an article published in several newspapers.

Together with Hans Walz and Theodor Bäuerle, Bosch founded the Stuttgart branch of the "Verein zur Abwehr des Antisemitismus" (Association against Anti-Semitism) in 1926. It was the foundation for his continuing commitment to German-Jewish causes. From 1936 onwards, he provided support for Jewish charities through the "Walz-Hilfe" organization. Carl Goerdeler, whom the 20 July 1944 anti-Hitler conspirators intended to become the future German chancellor, was given a consultancy contract in 1937. He maintained contact with the German resistance with the knowledge and support of Robert Bosch and the “Bosch Circle”. Between 1938 and 1940, Hans Walz, Bosch’s private secretary, donated substantial sums to the “Jüdische Mittelstelle”, an organization in Stuttgart that helped Jewish citizens to escape Germany. Bosch also employed victims of Nazi persecution in his factories.