The foundation

Hier Subheadline

The Bürgermeister Reuter Stiftung was founded on 17th April 1953 by the then-governing Mayor Ernst Reuter under the auspices of the Federal President Theodor Heuss and the founding board, which consisted of public figures from the USA, the Federal Republic of Germany and West-Berlin.The official approval was given by the Senator of Justice on 18th April 1953.


The Mission

The original aim of the foundation was to support the needs of people fleeing to West-Berlin from the Soviet occupation zone due to economic and political pressure. In 1952 there were alone 117,735 registered and 58,400 illegal refugees in West Berlin.The assistance for the refugees should not act as discharge the general national refugee assistance but should be regarded as additional support.

Three groups of people were worthy of support:

  • Refugees newly arriving in Berlin who are still in the emergency photograph procedure during their integration process.
  • Politically persecuted refugees and those whose applications for residency had already been processed. those whose applications to depart from East Germany had been rejected, so-called illegal refugees who needed to find refuge in Berlin for a longer period of time.

The aid program was developed together with members of the international rescue committee and consisted of, among other things:

The establishment of a coffee and milk parlour for refugees at Tempelhof Airport and the subsidy of the following: Drink distribution; refugees remaining in Berlin in the form of scholarships and training allowances; refugee kindergardens, sewing and ironing parlours.

The awarded charitable foundation committed to serving the common good, particularly the promotion of students, youth and the elderly. In this connection, our houses – Ernst Reuter, Walter May, Paul Hertz, Brunnenstraße, Hanielweg, Keithstraße and Alfred-Jung-Straße – are in service in the Berlin districts of Mitte and Wedding. The foundation strives inexpensive and payable dwelling for students, trainees, language students, school, sport and youth groups as well as for an international clientele.

In order to continue the legacy of Ernst Reuter, the Bürgermeister-Reuter-Stiftung is striving to take over new properties in management, thus creating new housing for students, pupils, apprentices and employees.


Executive Board

Dr. Wilbrant was named as the Chief Executive. On recommendation of the IRC, Ernst Reuter was appointed to the managing board.

The supervisory board was composed as follows:

  • Senator Bach of the administration for social welfare,
  • Mr. Baudler, Chief Executive of the Berlin central committee, for the distribution of gift parcels.
  • Mr. Böhme personal consultant to the Mayor and Mr. Sternberg from Berlin, Mr. Opel from Frankfurt a-M. and
  • Mrs. Matson from Munich, all members of the IRC.

All positions were voluntary and unpaid.


The funds

The funding came from the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a welfare organization founded in America in 1933 that particularly helped expellees and refugees from donations raised amongst the American public. On his visit to New York on 14th March 1953, Ernst Reuter was able to open the eyes of Americans to the plight of refugees in Berlin. He attracted friends and helpers everywhere. At the end of his visit to the USA donations amounted to around one million DM , which flowed into the funds of the foundation.


Our concept

  • is grounded within our tradition.
  • translates the fundamental blue-print of the founders into the present and conveys a contemporary and future oriented perspective.
  • draws on the notions and ideas of the original founder Ernst Reuter and still adheres to his vision today.

Consequently, we operate on the following bases.


Global and multicultural

In the spirit of Ernst Reuter, the foundation has long been at the cutting-edge of multicultural thought and action.

Multiculturalism and internationality have developed out of our grounding principles and belong within the traditional strengths of the foundation: presently we are accommodating people from 85 different nations. We fully intend to nurture and sustain this diversity in the future.


Cosmopolitan and hospitable

To paraphrase the famous words of our founder Ernst Reuter to the people of the world: “come, learn, work and live in this city!”

Our attractive “guest in residence” programs in Berlin offer acontemporary and made-to-measure selection for:

  • school pupils / students / apprentices
  • employees from all over the world
  • scientists / artists / business travellers

and so represents a solid contribution to the national and international popularity of Berlin.


Reasonably priced, modern and future-orientated

Our economic strategy concentrates on covering our overheads rather than on maximizing profits. Any profits we do make are re-invested into the renovation and maintenance of properties and assets for the benefit of the public.

Reasonably priced does not mean cheap. We are aiming for technically and aesthetically future-orientated furnishing and maintenance of our properties. This is why permanent work is being done on a timely basis, as well as on the basis of a tailor-made service and high quality standards.