Wikipedia entry for Friedrich Ebert
FRIEDRICH EBERT, the first President of the German Republic, freely elected by the Weimar National Assembly in 1919, was born on February 4, 1871, at Heidelberg, and died in Berlin, from the effects of an operation, on February 28, 1925. His death mask, taken by the sculptor Georg Kolbe of Berlin, is in the possession of the President’s widow.Friedrich Ebert was the son of simple parents, and himself formerly a skilled saddler, so that he belonged to the artisan class. He soon became a zealous worker in the Social-Democratic party (beginning his activities in 1892) and was made its President in 1913. At the time of the collapse of 1918, and in the Revolution, he so far made his mark that he was finally called upon to assume the highest office that the German people have it in their power to confer. His work as President is still fresh in the memory of all. A reflective spirit of moderation and a remarkable sense of justice made him the opponent of all extremist tendencies, so that he countered their influence in the Revolution. It is thanks to Ebert that the foundation was laid upon which Germany’s shattered social structure was consolidated. How far his endeavours paved the way–unintentionally, without doubt–for the bourgeois large-scale capitalism of today, is a question which must be left to history to decide.Black & White Photos and quotations from: Benkard, Ernst, & Green, Margaret (1927). Undying Faces, A Collection of Death Masks. New York, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.