Joos, Joseph

(1878-1965)
   politician and labor leader; influential in the Catholic* workers' movement. Born to a working-class home in the Alsatian town of Winzenheim, he apprenticed as a carpenter before working in a furniture factory. His activity from 1897 in Catholic social work brought appointment in 1902 as local editor for a Mülhausen newspaper.* Varied press positions fol-lowed until he succeeded Johann Giesberts in 1905 as editor of the Westdeutsche Arbeiterzeitung (WAZ), voice of the Catholic Workers' Associations (Kathol-ische Arbeitervereine; the Arbeitervereine, concerned less with economic than educational issues, were distinct from the Christian trade unions*). Under his direction, which continued until 1919, WAZfocused rigidly on the special con-cerns of Catholic workers. During the war it emphasized domestic issues, es-pecially censorship.
   In the vacuum created by the November Revolution,* Joos, well versed on conditions in the Rhineland,* was asked by the Center Party* to stand for elec-tion to the National Assembly.* Elected to the chamber, he thereafter served in the Reichstag* without interruption until 1933. Supportive until the mid-1920s of the leftist platform of Matthias Erzberger* and Joseph Wirth,* he championed the Weimar Coalition* and defended the Republic's paramilitary arm, the Reichsbanner.* However, from 1926 he broke with Wirth and cultivated an increasingly conservative posture. Having retained his position within the Ar-beitervereine, he became chairman in 1927 of the enlarged Reichsverband kath-olische Arbeiter- und Arbeiterinnenvereine (National Association of Catholic Worker Associations). In 1928 he became chairman of the Catholic Workers' International, a platform from which he advocated conciliation with France. In 1928 (Paris) and 1929 (Berlin*) he played key roles at conferences of the In-ternational Alliance of Christian Democratic Parties. A deep thinker who wrote extensively on his Party's role in Weimar society, he labored to reconcile Cath-olics to the Republic.
   Joos was affable and well liked throughout the Center Party. But when Wil-helm Marx* retired as Party chairman in 1928, he was so ambivalent about succeeding him that he was defeated in election by Ludwig Kaas.* Believing that the post should have gone to Adam Stegerwald,* Joos also nurtured doubts about his own abilities. He was, however, appointed deputy chairman by the central committee.
   Joos initially supported Hindenburg's* Presidential Cabinet* as a hedge against dangerous experiments; however, by 1932, seeking a return to parlia-mentary rule, he was naively prepared to support coalition with the NSDAP rather than retain a presidential regime. This commitment led him to sponsor a Center vote against Hitler's* Enabling Act*; however, as this was a minority position, he maintained Party discipline and voted for the act. Joos retained his position with the Arbeitervereine until 1940; he also wrote for the Ketteler Wacht (the renamed WAZ). In 1938 the Nazis, using his Alsatian birth as jus-tification, revoked his citizenship. He was arrested in 1940 by the Gestapo and spent 1941-1945 confined as an enemy alien. After the war he emigrated to Switzerland.
   REFERENCES:Ellen Evans, German Center Party; NDB, vol. 10; Stachura, Political Leaders; Wachtling, "Joseph Joos."

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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