Theodor Heuss
(1884–1963)

Theodor Heuss, Athen (Athens), 1931, charcoal on paper
, ​Familienarchiv Heuss, Basel, installation view, ​Neue Galerie, Kassel, documenta 14, photo: Mathias Völzke

A figurehead of the European liberal movement since the 1920s and a notable art enthusiast, Theodor Heuss was the first president of the Federal Republic of Germany. After the end of a world war that, at its nadir, had seen a swastika-adorned flag hoisted atop the Acropolis, Heuss demonstratively chose Greece as the destination for his first state visit. He would later refer to that visit, which took place in 1956—exactly twenty-five years after his first trip to Greece as participant in a congress of like-minded democratic activists and liberal politicians—as a return to his spiritual home.

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