Fritz Neumayer
Fritz Neumayer was a German politician. He was Federal Minister of Building
Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs (Germany)
The Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development is a Ministry of Germany.It was created in 1998 by merger of the former Federal Ministry of Transport and the Federal Ministry of Regional Planning, Building and Urban Development, both established in 1949...

 from 1952 to 1953, and Federal Minister of Justice
Federal Ministry of Justice (Germany)
The Federal Ministry of Justice is a federal ministry in Germany.Under the federal system of Germany, individual states are most responsible for the administration of justice and the application of penalties. The Federal Ministry of Justice devotes itself to creating and changing law in the...

 from 1953 to 1956.

Early life

Neumayer was born at Kaiserslautern
Kaiserslautern is a city in southwest Germany, located in the Bundesland of Rhineland-Palatinate at the edge of the Palatinate forest . The historic centre dates to the 9th century. It is from Paris, from Frankfurt am Main, and from Luxembourg.Kaiserslautern is home to 99,469 people...

, Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. Both his father and his grandfather were lawyers and liberal members of parliament. Neumayer studied law at Würzburg
Würzburg is a city in the region of Franconia which lies in the northern tip of Bavaria, Germany. Located at the Main River, it is the capital of the Regierungsbezirk Lower Franconia. The regional dialect is Franconian....

, Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

, Leipzig
Leipzig Leipzig has always been a trade city, situated during the time of the Holy Roman Empire at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important trade routes. At one time, Leipzig was one of the major European centres of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing...

 and Strasbourg
Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region in eastern France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located close to the border with Germany, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin département. The city and the region of Alsace are historically German-speaking,...

. After his graduation in 1911, he practiced law in his native city of Kaiserslautern until 1945, except for the time of military service.

Political career

After World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Neumayer joined the newly founded liberal party of the western occupation zones
Allied Occupation Zones in Germany
The Allied powers who defeated Nazi Germany in World War II divided the country west of the Oder-Neisse line into four occupation zones for administrative purposes during 1945–49. In the closing weeks of fighting in Europe, US forces had pushed beyond the previously agreed boundaries for the...

, the Free Democratic Party
Free Democratic Party (Germany)
The Free Democratic Party , abbreviated to FDP, is a centre-right classical liberal political party in Germany. It is led by Philipp Rösler and currently serves as the junior coalition partner to the Union in the German federal government...

 (FDP). Also in 1945, he became president of the state court in Kaiserslautern. He was elected to the advisory state board of the newly founded state of Rheinland-Palatinate in 1946, and to the respective state parliament in 1947. When Rheinland-Palatinate became a constituent state of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949, Neumayer was elected to the federal parliament
The Bundestag is a federal legislative body in Germany. In practice Germany is governed by a bicameral legislature, of which the Bundestag serves as the lower house and the Bundesrat the upper house. The Bundestag is established by the German Basic Law of 1949, as the successor to the earlier...

, where his primary concern was ensuring the independence of judges from the state.

After the death of the liberal minister for building, Eberhard Wildermuth, in 1952, Neumayer led the ministry until the 1953 West German federal election. After the election, he became Federal Minister of Justice, and worked primarily on reforming the criminal law
Criminal law
Criminal law, is the body of law that relates to crime. It might be defined as the body of rules that defines conduct that is not allowed because it is held to threaten, harm or endanger the safety and welfare of people, and that sets out the punishment to be imposed on people who do not obey...

. He furthered judicial gender equality
Gender equality
Gender equality is the goal of the equality of the genders, stemming from a belief in the injustice of myriad forms of gender inequality.- Concept :...

 with a law of early 1954, though "according to the natural order""...nach der natürlichen Ordnung". Fritz Neumayer as cited in Bänsch (1985), p.427 granting a husband the right to issue binding decisions for his spouse if the wellbeing of the family was not endangered.

Neumayer also furthered an extension to the amnesty
Amnesty is a legislative or executive act by which a state restores those who may have been guilty of an offense against it to the positions of innocent people, without changing the laws defining the offense. It includes more than pardon, in as much as it obliterates all legal remembrance of the...

 of 1949, resulting in the amnesty law of 17 July 1954. In Neumayer's words, the law was to "rule off crimes committed directly or collaterally in the context of the conditions of a chaotic time period"."...einen Schlußstrich unter die Straftaten ziehen, die in unmittelbarem und mittelbarem Zusammenhang mit den Verhältnissen einer chaotischen Zeit begangen worden sind." Fritz Neumayer, as cited in Schröm (2002), p.86 and Frei (1996), p.102 Amnestied were people convicted of crimes up to manslaughter
Manslaughter is a legal term for the killing of a human being, in a manner considered by law as less culpable than murder. The distinction between murder and manslaughter is said to have first been made by the Ancient Athenian lawmaker Dracon in the 7th century BC.The law generally differentiates...

, but not murder
Murder is the unlawful killing, with malice aforethought, of another human being, and generally this state of mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide...

, committed between 1 October 1944 and 31 July 1945 in the assumption of a legitimacy of their action, especially by following orders, or out of an emergency situation. The law also provided for the clearance of several such crimes in the official registries.

In 1956, Neumayer together with all other liberal federal ministers left the FDP to join the newly founded Freie Volkspartei (FVP). In the same year, West German chancellor
Chancellor of Germany
The Chancellor of Germany is, under the German 1949 constitution, the head of government of Germany...

 Konrad Adenauer
Konrad Adenauer
Konrad Hermann Joseph Adenauer was a German statesman. He was the chancellor of the West Germany from 1949 to 1963. He is widely recognised as a person who led his country from the ruins of World War II to a powerful and prosperous nation that had forged close relations with old enemies France,...

 dismissed him from his office, giving his high age as the reason.

Later life

Neumayer, who was married with four children, spent the later part of his life in Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

. He was Honorary Chairman of the supervisory board
Supervisory board
A supervisory board or supervisory committee, often called board of directors, is a group of individuals chosen by the stockholders of a company to promote their interests through the governance of the company and to hire and supervise the executive directors and CEO.Corporate governance varies...

of the Pfaff AG. He died on April 12, 1973 in Munich, and was buried in Kaiserslautern.
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