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Gertrud Harms-Holloway (b. 10 April 1916 in Bremen; d. 27 January 1976)

Member of the Upper Class with a Calling
Pioneer in Equal Pay


Film-Aufnahme und Schnitt: Monika B. Beyer


Gertrud Harms-Holloway, granddaughter of the founder of the department store Harms am Wall, was a doctor of art history. She served in the Bremen public school system and as an assistant curator at the Focke Museum, was a member of Bremen’s first freely elected parliament and its vice-president for a time.

After gaining her doctorate in 1942, Gertrud Harms worked in Berlin, among other things in the administration of the general building inspectorate. She returned to Bremen after the war and initially earned her living with temporary posts in the city’s schools.

From 1947 onwards she was politically active as a member of the BDV (Bremen Democratic People’s Party, later FDP). She was elected member of the Bremen parliament and, in 1951, on the initiative of the FDP (Free Democratic Party), parliamentary vice-president. Gertrud Harms advocated equal pay for men and women, an issue still highly relevant today.

Beginning in 1951, in the capacity of assistant curator at the Focke Museum, Gertrud Harms carried out a thorough scholarly inspection and reorganization of the museum collection, which had been placed in external storage during the war. She moreover organized the museum’s first post-war exhibitions in the Lower Town Hall.
With her husband, the American vice-consul in Hong Kong, Gertrud Harms-Holloway lived in various countries of Asia for many years. She died in Bethesda, Maryland (USA) in 1976 at the age of sixty, and was laid to rest in Bremen.

Beate Borkowski