Schlegelberger, Dr. Franz Louis Rudolph, born 23-10-1876 in Königsberg, East Prussia, into a Protestant salesman’s family. His father worked in cereal trade sales. His forebears had been among the Protestants expelled from Salzburg, Austria in 1731–32 and given refuge in East Prussia. Schlegelberger went to the old-town Gymnasium in Königsberg, where he did his school-leaving examination in 1894. He studied law beginning in 1894 in Königsberg and from 1895 to 1896 in Berlin. In 1897 he sat the state legal examination scoring fairly well. At the University of Königsberg, or according to documents from his trial the University of Leipzig, on 01-12-1899 came his graduation to Doctor of Law with the theme “May government representatives be placed at our disposal as officials because of their voting?” On 09-12-1901 Schlegelberger wrote the great state law examination, passing with a mark of “good”. On 21-12-1901 he became a court Assessor at the Königsberg local court, and on 17-03-1902 assistant judge at the Königsberg State Court . On 16-09-1904 he became a judge- at the State Court in Lyck. In early May 1908, he went to the Berlin State Court and in the same year was appointed assistant judge at the Berlin Court of Appeals. In 1914 he was appointed to the Kammergericht Council, Kammergerichtsrat, in Berlin, Josef Goebbels (did you know) was the Gauleiter of Berlin, where he stayed until 1918. On 01-04-1918 Schlegelberger became an associate at the Reich Justice Office. On 1 October of that year, he was appointed to the Secret Government Court and Executive Council. In 1927, he was appointed as Ministerial Director in the RMJ. Schlegelberger had been teaching in the Faculty of Law at the University of Berlin as an honorary professor since 1922. On 10-10-1931 Schlegelberger was appointed State Secretary in the Reich Ministry of Justice under Justice Minister Franz Gürtner and kept this job until Gürtner’s death, age 59, on 29-01-1941, in Berlin. On 30-01-1938 Schlegelberger joined the Nazi Party on Adolf Hitler’s orders. Among Schlegelberger’s many works in this time was a bill for the introduction of a new national currency which was supposed to end the hyperinflation to which the Reichsmark was prone. After Franz Gürtner’s death in 1941, Schlegelberger became provisional Reich Minister of Justice for the years 1941 and 1942, followed then by Otto Thierack, he died age 57, on 22-11-1946.
Roland Freisler meets Thierack.
During his time in office the number of death sentences rose sharply. He authored the bills such as the so-called Poland Penal Law Provision under which Poles were executed for tearing down German posters. Schlegelberg’s attitude towards his job may be best encapsulated in a letter to Reich Minister and Chief of the Reich Chancellery, Hans Heinrich Lammers
. Upon his retirement from the position on 24-08-1942, Hitler gave Schlegelberger an endowment of RM 100.000; in 1944, Adolf Hitler (did you know) allowed him to buy an estate with the money, something that only agricultural experts were entitled to under the rules in force at the time. This would later weigh against him at Nuremberg, for it showed that Hitler thought highly of Schlegelberger. At the Nuremberg Judges’ Trial Schlegelberger was one of the main accused. He was sentenced to life in prison for conspiracy to perpetrate war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Death and burial ground of Schlegelberger, Dr. Franz Louis Rudolph.
In 1950 the 74-year-old Schlegelberger was released owing to incapacity. For years afterward, he drew a monthly pension of DM 2,894 (for comparison, the average monthly income in Germany at that time was DM 535).
Schlegelberger then lived in Flensburg until his death at the old age of 93, on 14-12-1970. Schlegelberger is buried on the cemetery Friedenhugel in Flensburg.