Gerhard Anschütz

January 10, 1867 - April 14, 1948
Gerhard Anschütz Gerhard Anschütz 

Prior to 1933, the Heidelberg professor of constitutional law Gerhard Anschütz was regarded as a leading commentator on the Weimar state constitution and a key proponent of legal positivism. He therefore professed his faith in the Weimar Republic, regarding it as the rightful constitutional state. The right wing rejected him due to his strong democratic and liberal convictions. Anschütz observed the National Socialists’ takeover of power with shock, feeling “politically defeated” – due to his positivist view of the law, he was unable to refer to the Nazis’ fundamental changes to the constitution as illegal. He applied for early retirement as a professor, withdrawing into private life and never working to the advantage of the new regime. In his only academic paper to appear after 1933, he wrote in favor of autonomy of the church, thus supporting the position of the Confessional Church. Anschütz survived the National Socialist regime and died a highly honored man in Heidelberg in 1948.