Kantorowicz, Hermann

(1877-1940)
   jurist and professor; an early proponent of the "doctrine of free law" (freie Recht), which espouses the relativism of values and links jurisprudence with sociology. Born in Posen (now Poznan), he attended Gymnasium in Berlin* and took a doctorate at Heidelberg in 1900 with a thesis on the history of criminal law. After extended study abroad, he completed his Habilitation in 1907 at Freiburg. Freiburg appointed him Pri-vatdozent in 1908; he was promoted to full professor in 1923.
   Kantorowicz, who volunteered for the army during the war, became a pacifist after Germany's defeat. An advocate for the League of Nations, he joined both the DDP and the republican Richterbund (Judicial Alliance). Upon criticizing Bismarck's policies in 1921, he became embroiled in a feud with colleague Georg von Below* that threatened his career. In 1923, at the behest of the Reichstag's* Investigating Committee on World War I, he wrote Gutachten zur Kreigsschuldfrage 1914 (Expert opinion on the war-guilt question of 1914). His thesis, that Austria* and Germany warranted major blame for the war, so con-flicted with national sentiment that the Foreign Office forbade publication (it finally appeared in 1967). But other controversial opinions did appear. In Ger-many and the League of Nations (1924) and Der Geist englischen Politik und das Gespenst der Einkreisung Deutschlands (The Spirit of British Policy and the Myth of the Encirclement of Germany, 1929) he featured an interest in foreign policy, an attraction to Britain, and a commitment to world peace. In 1928 he succeeded Gustav Radbruch* at Kiel as Professor of Criminal Law. He was dismissed in 1933 and joined New York's New School for Social Research. In 1937 he became Assistant Director for Legal Research at Cambridge.
   Although Kantorowicz maintained that as a constitutional guarantee of jus-tice* to the individual, judges must be committed to written statutes, he also championed judicial creativity. Opposed to positivist legal theory, he held the view that legal decisions should account for the emotions.
   REFERENCES:Benz and Graml, Biographisches Lexikon; IESS; NDB, vol. 11.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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