Hans-Ulrich Klose was a prominent German politician and member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD). His contributions spanned both state politics in Hamburg and national politics in the German Federal parliament (Bundestag).
Born on 14 June 1937 in Breslau, Province of Lower Silesia (today’s Wrocław), Klose experienced the turmoil of World War II. At the war’s end, his family fled Breslau for Bielefeld. Educationally, after acquiring his high-school diploma in 1957, he pursued law at the universities of Freiburg and Hamburg. By 1965, he had passed both legal state examinations and began his legal career in Hamburg.
State Political Career
After joining the SPD in 1964, Klose made his mark in the Hamburg Parliament (Hamburgische Bürgerschaft) by 1970. His leadership skills were evident when he rose to become the first chairman of the SPD parliamentary group by 1972. The subsequent year, he succeeded Heinz Ruhnau as the minister of the interior of Hamburg. His most notable state position, however, was his tenure as the First Mayor (Erster Bürgermeister) of Hamburg from 1974 to 1981, during which he also served as the President of the Bundesrat in 1979/80.
National Political Journey: 1983-2013
In 1983, Klose transitioned to the national scene, being elected to the Bundestag for the SPD. Over the years, he held several significant roles:
- Treasurer of the SPD from 1987-1991.
- Chairman of the SPD group in the Bundestag from 1991-1994, where he notably collaborated with CDU/CSU’s Wolfgang Schäuble on Germany’s asylum law amendments.
- In the 1994 elections, he played a crucial role in the SPD’s campaign against Helmut Kohl, operating as the shadow minister of defence.
- Post the elections, he became a vice president of the Bundestag.
- By 1998, he chaired the Committee on Foreign Affairs and later, its vice-presidency.
- His dedication to international relations was further evident when he chaired the German-American Parliamentary Friendship Group and worked as the government’s coordinator for German-American affairs in 2010.
His national political career culminated with his role as a senior advisor to the Robert Bosch Foundation.
Apart from politics, Klose was actively involved in several organizations, including:
- CARE Deutschland-Luxemburg
- Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES)
- Green Helmets
- Otto von Bismarck Foundation
- Progressives Zentrum
His commitment to US-German relations was recognized in 2013 when he received the International Statesmanship Award from the Congressional Study Group on Germany.
Klose married thrice, with his last marriage in 1992 to a physician. He had four children from his previous marriages. His life came to a close on 6 September 2023, with Alzheimer’s disease being a significant health challenge in his later years.
In remembrance, Hans-Ulrich Klose stands as a testament to dedicated public service and commitment to both state and national political arenas in Germany.