Carl Legien (1861–1920 · trade unionist / eponym)

Legien was born in the West Prussian town of Marienburg (Malbork in present-day Poland). He was an important trade union official for whom the Carl Legien Housing Estate in Prenzlauer Berg is named. After the early death of his parents, Legien grew up in an orphanage. In 1875 he began an apprenticeship as a wood turner, which he completed in 1880. He then worked as a journeyman in Berlin, Frankfurt am Main, the Cologne area and finally in Hamburg. In 1885, Legien joined the Social Democratic Party. A year later he joined the woodturners’ guild and its associated trade union in Hamburg, and got involved in the trade union movement. After serving for several years as its secretary, in 1913 Legien became president of the International Trade Union Confederation. In 1919, he was elected president of the General German Trade Union Federation ADGB. Towards the end of the First World War, Legien participated in labour negotiations with industry. As a result of these talks, the trade unions were recognized as official representatives of the workers’ interests and a standard eight-hour workday was introduced. The Carl Legien Housing Estate, a vocational school in Neukölln and the thoroughfare Legiendamm in Kreuzberg are among the projects that bear his name. Legien died in Berlin in 1920.