Thomas Schäfer was a German lawyer and politician for the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU). Until his death, he was the finance minister of Hesse for a decade, between 2010 to 2020. Germany’s financial capital, Frankfurt, lies in Hesse and is the State’s biggest city.
Thomas Schäfer was born in Hemer and grew in Biedenkopf on 22nd February 1966. By the time of his death on 28th March 2020, he was 54 years old. Thomas completed the Abitur in 1985 and later trained as a banker at the local savings bank. He then studied law at the University of Marburg, where he graduated in 1997. Thomas Schäfer performed acted in various capacities in Germany. From 1995 to 1998, Schäfer taught private and public law at the Deutsche Angestellten-Akademie in Marburg. From the year 1998, he worked as a lawyer for the Commerzbank in Frankfurt am Main. By the year 1999, Schäfer had earned his doctorate under the supervision of Werner Frotscher.
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"Wir werden die Mittel des Bundes aufstocken und eine Milliarde zusätzlich aus Landesmitteln hinzusteuern, um möglichst schnell und unbürokratisch ab nächster Woche helfen zu können", teilte Dr. Thomas Schäfer heute am Rande der Pressekonferenz zur Corona-Krise in einem kurzen Statement mit. #Soforthilfe #Corona #hlt @finanzenhessen
Thomas Schäfer is a member of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany headed by Chancellor Angela Merkel. Schäfer began his career in 1980 when he joined the CDU/CSU youth organization Junge Union. He
became a board member from 1985 to 1999. During the 1999 Hessian State election, Schäfer led the office of Christean Wagner, the minister of Justice in Hesse. In the year 2002, Schäfer led the office of Minister-President Roland Koch. From the year 2005 to 2009, he was secretary of State for Jurgen Banzer, the minister of labor, family, and health. He coordinated state efforts in rescuing Opel that is based in Russelsheim am Main, during the 2007-08 financial crisis. He collaborated with the other three states where Opel had plants. From the year 2009, he became the secretary of state for Karlheinz Weimar, the minister of Finance.
In August 2010, Schäfer became the State minister of finance under Hesse’s new minister-president Volker Bouffier. He was a member of the Hessischer Landtag, the State parliament from 2014 onwards. In 2018 he got reelected directly and was regarded as a likely successor to Bouffier. Before his death, Schäfer had appeared in public to inform the public about the financial crisis during the coronavirus crisis. Schäfer had said that the fight against corona would not fail because of money.
Thomas Schäfer is survived by his wife, son, and daughter.
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Die ökonomischen Probleme infolge der Corona-Krise türmen sich im Moment dramatisch auf ! Ein Haupthindernis – darauf habe ich auch schon gestern in meiner Haushaltsrede hingewiesen – für eine schnelle Hilfe z.B. mit Liquiditätskrediten ist der sog. Beihilferahmen. Danach darf der Staat nur maximal 80 % (jetzt 90 %) des Kredites verbürgen. Dann müssen von der Bank vor Ort aber fast alle regulären Prüfvorgänge durchlaufen werden. Das dauert einfach zu lang und wird dem massenhaften Bedarf nicht gerecht! Hier müssen dringend Änderungen her !!!
Thomas Schäfer’s body was found on a high-speed train line in the town of Hochheim between Frankfurt and Mainz. Witnesses reported the presence of a body on the tracks to the paramedics who were unable to initially identify the remains because of the extent of the injuries. Investigators said an investigation on the scene confirmed the identity of the man as Schäfer with the death likely a suicide. Apparently, the politician left a note before taking his own life with the note referencing Schäfer’s reasons for the apparent suicide. Prior to his death, Schäfer was expected to succeed state premier, Volker Bouffier, if he had decided not to stand for re-election in 2023.
Bouffier, in a statement, said that he had received the news with “sadness and disbelief.” He also noted that Schäfer was living under considerable worry and stress because of the current COVID-19 pandemic. In a statement on Sunday, Bouffier said, “His main concern was whether he could manage to fulfill the huge expectations of the population, especially in terms of financial aid. He clearly couldn’t see any way out. He was desperate, and so he left us. That has shocked us, has shocked me.”
“Our sincere condolences go to his closes relatives,” Bouffier added.
The outgoing CDU chief Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer commented on twitter about Schäfer’s student death, “the news of the sudden death of Thomas Schäfer shocked us all in the CDU. It hit us and makes us sad and stunned. Now all of our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Die Nachricht vom plötzlichen Tod von Thomas Schäfer hat mich, hat uns alle in der CDU schockiert. Sie trifft uns und macht uns traurig und fassungslos. Jetzt sind alle unsere Gedanken und Gebete bei seiner Familie.
— A. Kramp-Karrenbauer (@akk) March 28, 2020
One of the candidates vying to succeed Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer as leader of the party, Friedrich Merz and the possible successor to Merkel as chancellor wrote on twitter about the shock of receiving such news. He wrote on Twitter, “the news about Thomas Schäfer’s sudden death shakes me deeply. Humanly decent and politically on of our best- its a grave loss. We mourn with his wife and children.”
Die Nachrichten über den plötzlichen Tod von Thomas Schäfer erschüttern mich zutiefst. Menschlich anständig und politisch einer unserer Besten – es ist ein schwerer Verlust. Wir trauern mit seiner Frau und den Kindern. (FM)
— Friedrich Merz (@_FriedrichMerz) March 29, 2020
Other lawmakers from other parties also paid their tributes.