Last updated: 09.12.2023, 00:01
By: Sebastian Tauchnitz
Laptop, mouse, calendar: that's all Hans Rehbehn says he needs during his last days on duty at the district office. © OAR
Hans Rehbehn, press spokesman for the district, is going into (un)retirement. As a result, the district office loses the Swiss Army knife among officials: a skydiving chef who can program, run marathons and paint watercolors.
District – Hans Rehbehn is waiting in the corridor of the district office. He has his office tucked under his arm. Laptop, mouse, calendar – that's all he has. And that's all he needs, says the spokesman for the district office. In the office he used so far, his successor Dominik Detert is already sitting at Rehbehn's former desk. He has to familiarize himself with the team. Rehbehn helps to the best of his ability. Today he is to be adopted in the district council and his successor is to be officially welcomed. After that, 48 years of professional activity end.
As the seventh of nine children, he grew up in a tiny village near Kiel. "It had 64 inhabitants – twelve of whom we were." After school, he wants to learn to be a hairdresser. The mother doesn't like that. As a chemical laboratory technician, he was unable to find an apprenticeship. So he does a school internship as a chef. After the two weeks, his boss gives him a bicycle as a gift and says he would take him on as an apprentice immediately. Rehbehn took up the post in September 1975.
How Hans-Jürgens became Hans and Jürgen
Hans-Jürgen Rehbehn becomes Hans Rehbehn. There are very pragmatic reasons for this. The other apprentice is also called Hans-Jürgen. To avoid confusion, everyone calls Rehbehn only Hans, his colleague only Jürgen. He sticks with it – to this day. "Very few people know that my real name is Hans-Jürgen," he says with a laugh.
After the apprenticeship, three months of idle time – the conscription of the Bundeswehr is a long time coming. Stamping is not Hans Rehbehn's style. He works as a garbage collector until he arrives at the barracks. But not as a chef. He is drawn to Calw to join the parachutists. Rehbehn stays, first as a temporary soldier and later as a professional soldier. Moves to Altenstadt. A good time, he says. A lot of sport, a lot of responsibility, a lot of challenges.
Always learning, always new challenges
In 1994, he left the German Armed Forces for private reasons, completed his vocational baccalaureate and completed a degree in public administration, while working for the state capital of Munich. After completing his studies, he suddenly ended up in the IT department of the Munich municipal drainage company. Rehbehn is interested in technology, math is easy for him, he once again qualifies for the new task. "At that time, I even wrote my own program – I don't know if they still use it" – Rehbehn laughs again.
But commuting from Schongau to Munich gets annoying at some point. When a position in the building department at the district office becomes vacant, Rehbehn applies. And ends up in the social welfare office. District Administrator Luitpold Braun presents him with the service certificate. He started in 2002, when the first computers were just moving into the offices. He will stay until 2009.
Two-hour training period as a press spokesperson
The position of press spokesman is advertised. Rehbehn thinks for a long time and submits his application on the last possible day. Two days later, his phone rings. It's the turn of District Administrator Friedrich Zeller. "'You'll be working in Weilheim from tomorrow,' he said," Rehbehn recalls. He had two hours to get up to speed, then it started. "I had no idea," he admits today.
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Fancy a voyage of discovery?
So Hans Rehbehn once again went back to school and completed further training to become a press and public relations officer at the Bavarian School of Public Administration. Over the years, numerous other tasks have been added. Rehbehn heads the office of the district administrator and is deputy head of department in Schongau. Now, at 63, he is retiring. Satisfied and at peace: "I've never been bored, I've always had fun and don't want to miss any time. I think I left my mark without kicking up any dust," he says.
Already registered for the Helgoland Marathon
Anyone who thinks that he is lying down on his lazy skin knows Rehbehn badly. Throughout his life, he was an athlete, surfed, parachuted, competed in triathlons and marathons, and worked as a coach and referee. Even in retirement, he is looking for a challenge.
He has been working on his training plan for a few weeks now. The room is already booked for next year's Helgoland Marathon. After always being part of the organizing team or as a referee, he finally wants to start at the Schongau Triathlon.
Still politically engaged: "I don't know yet what will happen in 2026"
But also have more time for the family, for the grandchildren. Rehbehn wants to finish reading books, even when the holidays are over, and finally devote himself to watercolor painting again. "Many clubs and institutions have already asked if I would like to get involved. I told everyone the same thing: Give me a year."
Rehbehn is also a member of the Schongau city council and could have easily entered the district council in the last local elections if he had not worked for the district office. In the run-off election for mayor of Schongau, he was narrowly defeated by the incumbent Falk Sluyterman. Does he want to know again in three years? The soon-to-be retiree shrugs: "I don't know yet what will happen in 2026." A denial sounds different. No one knows this better than a press officer.