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Philipp Jenninger in 1987
|President of the Bundestag|
5 November 1984 – 11 November 1988
|Preceded by||Rainer Barzel|
|Succeeded by||Rita Süssmuth|
|German Ambassador to Austria|
|German Ambassador to the Holy See|
10 June 1932|
Rindelbach, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
4 January 2018 (aged 85)|
Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Philipp Jenninger (10 June 1932 – 4 January 2018) was a German politician of the Christian Democratic Union and diplomat. He was the President of the Bundestag from 1984 to 1988. He also served as Member of the German Parliament, the Bundestag (1969–1990), Minister of State at the German Chancellery (1982–1984), German Ambassador to Austria (1991–1995) and German Ambassador to the Holy See (1995–1997).
Phillipp Jenninger, whose full name is Philipp-Hariolf Jenninger, was born in 1932 in Rindelbach, now a part of Ellwangen. He studied law at the University of Tübingen, obtaining a doctoral degree in 1957 with a dissertation titled Die Reformbedürftigkeit des Bundesverfassungsgerichts (The necessity of reform of the Federal Constitutional Court) and passing the state examination in 1959. In 1960, he started working in the Bundeswehr administration in Stuttgart. He became an assistant in the Federal Ministry of Defense and later personal assistant and press contact of Federal Minister for the Affairs of the Defence Council Heinrich Krone. After the dissolution of this ministry, he worked from 1966 to 1969 as political assistant of Federal Minister of Finance Franz Josef Strauß.
After Rainer Barzel's resignation, Jenninger was elected President of the Bundestag on 5 November 1984. As President, he made a controversial speech in a special session on 10 November 1988 commemorating the 50th anniversary of Kristallnacht. Jenninger tried to explain the reasons behind German enthusiasm for National Socialism in the 1930s. His speech was presented badly (by his own later admission), as his way of speaking allowed the interpretation that Jenninger didn't sufficiently dissociate himself from the Nazi ideas he referred to, making it hard to distinguish what were his own ideas and what were the "fascinating" (as Jenninger said) Nazi ideas he was just reporting. More than 50 members of parliament walked out during their President's speech in protest. This caused a political storm, and Jenninger resigned his Bundestag presidency on 11 November. He did not stand for reelection as a Bundestag member in the 1990 elections. One year after the incident, Jewish community leader Ignatz Bubis, who later became chairman of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, used several passages of Jenninger's speech verbatim (although he didn't use the word "fascinating"), demonstrating that the content of Jenninger's speech had not been wrong, just his performance of it.