Fritz Erler, Deputy Chairman and parliamentary floor leader of the German Social Democratic Party, will deliver the Jodidi Lectures this Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings. His topic will be "Democracy in Germany."
A member of the German parliament, the Bundestag, since 1949, Erler is presently his party's principal parliamentary strategist. The Social Democrats, under Berlin's Mayor Willy Brandt, are the main opposition to the Christian Democrats, the party of Chancellor Ludwig Erhart.
Erler's lectures will trace the differences between the pre-Hitler Weimar Republic and the present Federal republic, including the struggles between traditionalist and progressive factions. He will also discuss German efforts to maintain the "democratic philosophy against enemies from within and without," and will examine the changes within the German Social Democratic Party during the last century.
Born in Berlin in 1913, Erler was an active member of various socialist student organizations, and, from 1935 to 1938, healed a group seeking the downfall of Hitler's Nationalist Socialist Party. He was imprisoned by the Nazis, but he was able to escape in 1945 and worked briefly for the French occupation authorities.
After his election to the Bundestag. Erler was quickly recognized for his progressive views and debating skill, and soon became a prominent influence in German politics.
Erler is an expert on arms control and disarmament and is thought to be very influential in the German Foreign Ministry. He is the German spokesman at the Council of Europe, a member of the Western European Union, and is strongly interested in European unity.
The Jodidi Lectures, sponsored by the Center for International Affairs, were established in 1955 to promote "tolerance, understanding and good will among nations and the peace of the world." The current series will be held in Sanders Theatre beginning at 8 p.m. and is open to the public.