Beckum personalities

Rudolf Dunker, Dr Max Hagedorn and Heinrich-Gerhard Bücker

... were the last three in a whole series of honorary citizens of Beckum. They have rendered outstanding services to Beckum. The photo (right) was taken at the reception of the city of Beckum on the occasion of Dr. Max Hagedorn's 90th birthday.

Rudolf Dunker

born 13.05.1916, died 29.09.2008

It was mainly thanks to Rudolf Dunker's responsible and courageous actions that the town of Beckum was peacefully handed over to the US forces on 1 April 1945.

As combat commander of the German Wehrmacht in Beckum, the then 28-year-old had the mission to defend the town of Beckum to the last man. Thus, on Good Friday, 30 March, he began to prepare the resistance against the Allied forces.

On Holy Saturday, the Americans peacefully captured the town of Ahlen and set up their armoured vehicles and artillery pieces on the eastern edge of the town in order to advance to Beckum on Easter Sunday.

That evening, Rudolf Dunker made a decision that he himself later said was the most difficult of his life. In view of the hopeless military situation, which would have resulted in the destruction of the town of Beckum and the death of countless people, he decided to refuse soldierly obedience and surrender the town of Beckum without a fight.

This decision of conscience is to be valued all the more highly because he was aware that he could have been sentenced to death for his actions. So it also came to an indictment before a summary court martial, but fortunate circumstances prevented a conviction.

For his courageous and selfless actions for the benefit of the city of Beckum, he was made an honorary citizen in 1995.

Heinrich-Gerhard Bücker

Heinrich-Gerhard Bücker at the New Year's Reception of the City of Beckum in 2008

born 05.03.1922, died 11.08.2008

Heinrich-Gerhard Bücker has created countless important works in the many decades of his artistic career and has thus gained great recognition in Germany and internationally. In this way, he has also made his hometown with the district of Vellern known far beyond the borders of Europe.

His work is characterised by the biblical-Christian world of symbols. For him, religion was the link between past and present, between "time and eternity", as the title of his last major exhibition in 2006 read. Thus, the focus of his work was in the field of sacred art. Since the 1950s, he has designed numerous church interiors in his unmistakable style. With his works, he set trend-setting accents for the emphasis of original styles by means of contemporary art.

His concern to create statements through the choice of form, colours and materials is always apparent. One of the highlights of his work was the exhibition of the drawings of his Bible volume "Alpha-Adam-Atom-Omega" in the Vatican Library in 1983/84. He was the first living artist to be allowed to exhibit there.

In addition to sacred art, he also created works of a profane character such as fountains and monuments. There are also numerous works of art by him in his home town of Beckum, to which he always showed great attachment, both in the town's churches and in public spaces. His research on the site of the Varus Battle has impressed many historians.

He has received many prizes and honours for his outstanding artistic work. Among others, he was awarded the Cross of Merit on Ribbon of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1983. In 1992 he was made an honorary citizen of the city of Beckum.

Dr Max Hagedorn

Dr Max Hagedorn

born 26.04.1904, died 24.12.1998

Dr. Max Hagedorn took over the office of mayor in January 1946 in an extremely difficult time. His untiring commitment to the common good earned him great recognition and he enjoyed the special trust of the people. High personal commitment, competence and his friendly and modest manner distinguished him during his 24 years as mayor.

Under the chairmanship of Dr. Max Hagedorn, decisive priorities were set in the Beckum town council for the positive development of the town after the Second World War. He was particularly committed to improving road conditions and to creating urgently needed housing for the many displaced persons, refugees and evacuees. Under his direction, the development measures in the city area and the drawing up of the first land use plan in 1958 were initiated. In addition, he was an exemplary advocate for the common good in various supra-regional committees.

Dr. Max Hagedorn received high recognition for his decades of service. In 1971, the Federal President awarded him the Federal Cross of Merit, First Class. The city of Beckum awarded him honorary citizenship on 24 March 1974, thanking him for his beneficial work for his home town.

Sister Maria Blanda, née Anita Bußmann

Sister Blanda

born 20.04.1898 in Buenos Aires, died 26.07.1980

For 45 years Sister Blanda cared for and raised needy children from Beckum, the district of Warendorf and beyond in a beneficial and often self-sacrificing way.

Particularly great difficulties had to be overcome in the post-war period. Despite the most adverse circumstances, Sister Blanda cared for the children who had become parentless and partly homeless due to the turmoil of war, and who were accommodated in several building complexes of the former Vinzenzhaus, and gave them a new home. She was like a mother to these children, she gave them a home, brought them up with love and care and in this way successfully prepared them for their later path in life.

An important step in their work was the move of the children's home in 1953 to the newly built rooms on Paterweg.

The council of the town of Beckum unanimously conferred honorary citizenship on Sister Blanda at the festive meeting on the occasion of the 750th anniversary of the town on 26 March 1974.

Heinrich Haverkemper

born 19.02.1901, died 20.11.1989

Heinrich Haverkemper, a trained baker and confectioner and later a cement worker, joined the SPD as early as 1922 and was a member for more than 50 years. After the war, he rebuilt the party as chairman of the local SPD association. In 1945 he was appointed to the Beckum town council, where he served for 19 years, many of them as SPD parliamentary group chairman. He was also active in the district council for ten years.

He earned special merits as chairman of the Finance and Housing Commission. This task was particularly demanding in the difficult post-war years. Heinrich Haverkemper always had an open ear for the needs and concerns of those affected, such as refugees, and helped wherever he could.

Due to his many years of local political activity and his selfless commitment to the town of Beckum, he was awarded honorary citizenship on 26 March 1974.

Dr.-Ing. Curt Prüssing

born 26.03.1896, died 02.04.1988

After graduating from high school, Dr Prüssing first studied chemistry at the University of Munich and began his career in 1922 as a scientific assistant at the Cement Technology Institute of the Charlottenburg Technical University. In the same year, he married Ilse Polysius, the daughter of Max Polysius from Dessau.

In 1924, Dr. Prüssing moved to Portland-Hemmoor AG and was appointed to the Managing Board in 1936. From 1936 to 1945, he was, among other things, Chairman of the "Association of German Portland Cement Manufacturers" in Berlin.

In 1946, Dr Prüssing founded Westpol GmbH under difficult conditions. From here he established relations with the former customers of Dessau-based Polysius AG. In just a few years, together with proven employees from Dessau, he succeeded in restoring the company, which had since been renamed Polysius GmbH, to a global reputation.

In 1962, Dr Prüssing decided to relinquish the management of the company and take over the chairmanship of the supervisory board, which he held until 1970. In this capacity, too, he made a major contribution to the development of Polysius into one of the largest engineering companies in Europe.

For his services to the economic development of the municipality of Neubeckum, Dr. Prüssing was awarded honorary citizenship by resolution of the municipal council in 1961.

Clemens Sprenker

born 26.01.1883, died 14.01.1968

Clemens Sprenker was mayor of the parish of Beckum from 1946 to 1961 and also mayor of the Beckum district from March 1946.

The council of the parish of Beckum decided on 28 April 1961 to make him an honorary citizen for his services to the parish of Beckum.

Alfred Moll

For 42 years, Alfred Moll, like his father Gustav before him, had rendered outstanding services to the development of Neubeckum as a member of the council.

He was appointed honorary citizen by the council of the municipality of Neubeckum on 10 December 1952.

Carl Fehling

born 07.04.1860 in Warburg, died 09.07.1933

Fehling was elected mayor by the Beckum town council on 14 June 1899. Previously he had been mayor of Obermarsberg in the Sauerland.

The capable administrative official pushed ahead with the consistent municipal development and the adaptation to the economic, especially the industrial development of the district town.

During his 27 years in office, the district court was opened in Beckum, the tax office for the district was established, the slaughterhouse was built, the sewerage system was started, the first baths were built, the population was supplied with electricity and water, the grammar school was founded and the road building programme was started.

His work was crowned with the celebrations for the 700th anniversary of the town's charter in 1924.

After his retirement, he was made an honorary citizen on 11.10.1926.

Amtmann A. D. Theodor Anton Brüning

born 21.05.1822, died 30.03.1911

Theodor Brüning distinguished himself during the Kulturkampf through his courageous stand for the church, was sentenced to prison for a newspaper article and had to take his leave as Amtmann.

He was made an honorary citizen on 19.02.1906 "in appreciation of his faithful service in the interest of the city".

Medical Councillor Dr. med. Ferdinand Anton Heyne

died 1906

Dr Heyne had gained a special reputation as a doctor in his commitment to public hygiene and was a member of the magistrate for many years.

On his retirement from the magistrate's office, he was awarded honorary citizenship on 13.06.1897.