100th Birthday of Oskar Helmer
Oskar Helmer was a politician through and through. Civil service and the fight for freedom and democracy were his main purposes in life. The roots of his socio-political propensity, which characterized Helmer's political approach, lie in experiences gained as a child. Born on November 16, 1887 in Oberwaltersdorf in Lower Austria, he became aware of social and class distinctions very early in life. After his schooling Helmer began to study printing in Wiener Neustadt. There he tried to organize apprentices and bring them into the social-democratic youth movement. In doing so he came in contact with leading functionaries in the social-democratic party of the day, and after a while became the secretary of the Wiener Neustadt constituency. On May 15, 1919 Helmer became the youngest member of his faction to be elected into the Lower Austrian parliament. After the final separation of Vienna from Lower Austria, he became head of the parliamentary faction and of the social-democratic provincial government constituencies. In 1927 he advanced to provincial capital representative. During the events of February 1934 Helmer was arrested and after his release was forced underground. As interior minister of the large coalition after 1945, he made considerable contributions to Austria's restoration in the post-war period leading up to 1959.
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