End of the war and new beginning

End of War and Arrest

Ronneberger’s office was moved to St. Lambrecht in Austria in 1944 for security reasons. Ronneberger was arrested there on 30 May 1945 by members of the British armed forces. Later he was interned in Sandbostel near Bremervörde. The denazification of Ronneberger was handed over by the British occupying power to the court in Stade, where from May 1947 he was investigated for “belonging to an organization declared criminal”.

The charges brought on 10 August 1947 were based – as Heinelt (2002) writes based on the records of the court – exclusively on Ronneberger’s own statements and those of the witnesses named by him. His written statements from the time of the “Third Reich” were not up for discussion – even though he himself referred to some of his publications during the trial.

In the course of the proceedings, Ronneberger probably succeeded in presenting himself as an apolitical scientist afflicted with a “working psychosis”, who had only made a few compromises with the Nazi regime under the pressure of circumstances.

Although after being acquitted he was finally sentenced to pay a fine in the 1948 appeal proceedings “for belonging to the SS with knowledge of their crimes”, he continued to be regarded by the court as a “man living only [in] his research and scientific work, who, although he came into not inconsiderable contact with politics in the scientific sector, did not, however, concern himself more closely with matters outside his research”. (Heinelt 2002, pp. 92-111)

New Start at Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung

In 1948 Ronneberger succeeded in establishing contact with Erich Brost, editor and chief editor of the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ), via a former employee (Werner Seydlitz). Ronneberger was engaged as head of the editorial archive (Ronneberger 1989, p. 172). For the following ten years he remained there as head of the Documentation Department, as scientific editor, commentator and instructor of the volunteers.

Ronneberger continued to be “scientifically ambitious”. From 1952 he taught constitutional law and sociology at the academy of administration and business in Bochum. It was there that the idea for his book “Die Soziologie” (The Sociology) was born, which he published in 1958 under the pseudonym Stefan Lambrecht. It wanted to be a “guideline for practice and education”, so it did not address scientists, and found recognition among contemporaries.1 Three editions were published until 1963.

Author(s): G.D.G.BE.


1 See e.g. Weber, Markus: Steps out of the Shadow. (On the History of the Institute of Journalism and Communication Studies at the University of Vienna). In: http://dreip.wordpress.com/ipkw/ (Blog) (available on 3 April 2012). The pseudonym is probably owed to the town of St. Lambrecht in Austria, where he worked from 1944 on (G.BE.).