Hildegard Wegscheider

Hildegard Wegscheider is known as “Prussia’s first female high school graduate”. In fact, her way to graduation (“Abitur”) and her course of education in general show how poor educational opportunities of young women had been 100 years ago. After attending a secondary school for girls, she took the teachers’ exam in Switzerland, then studied in Zurich from 1893 and graduated in 1895 with a special permission at the Royal Catholic Secondary School in Sigmaringen. Thus, she was entitled to study at a German university, but as her preferred university in Berlin refused her enrolment she chose to study at the Martin-Luther-University in Halle-Wittenberg. There, she earned a doctoral degree as one of the first women at a German university.

As a school inspector and member of the federal state parliament, she committed herself to a modern school, educational and women’s policy in the male-dominated society of the Weimar Republic.

Only the seizure of power of the Nazis put an end to her commitment, and she had to resign from all positions. From then on, members of the opposition met at her place, and she helped persecuted people. In 1953, she was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit.

Hildegard Wegscheider was born as Hildegard Sophie Caroline Ziegler on 02 September 1871 and died there at the age of 81 on 04. April 1953.

Discover her birth entry in the church record of the “Neue Kirche” in Berlin-Kreuzberg:

Berlin, Brandenburg, schlesische Oberlausitz: Landeskirchliches Archiv in Berlin > Berlin-Kreuzberg > Neue > Taufen 1870-1873, image 120