Wilhelm Stuckart
Wilhelm Stuckart was a Nazi Party lawyer
A lawyer, according to Black's Law Dictionary, is "a person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel or solicitor; a person who is practicing law." Law is the system of rules of conduct established by the sovereign government of a society to correct wrongs, maintain the stability of political...

 and official, a state secretary in the German
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...

 Interior Ministry and later, a convicted war criminal.

Early life

Stuckart was born in Wiesbaden
Wiesbaden is a city in southwest Germany and the capital of the federal state of Hesse. It has about 275,400 inhabitants, plus approximately 10,000 United States citizens...

, the son of a railroad employee. He had a Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 upbringing. Stuckart was active in the far right
Far right
Far-right, extreme right, hard right, radical right, and ultra-right are terms used to discuss the qualitative or quantitative position a group or person occupies within right-wing politics. Far-right politics may involve anti-immigration and anti-integration stances towards groups that are...

 early on, and joined the Freikorps
Freikorps are German volunteer military or paramilitary units. The term was originally applied to voluntary armies formed in German lands from the middle of the 18th century onwards. Between World War I and World War II the term was also used for the paramilitary organizations that arose during...

 von Epp in 1919 to resist the French occupation of the Ruhr
Occupation of the Ruhr
The Occupation of the Ruhr between 1923 and 1925, by troops from France and Belgium, was a response to the failure of the German Weimar Republic under Chancellor Cuno to pay reparations in the aftermath of World War I.-Background:...

. In 1922 he started studying law and political economy at the universities of 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...

 and Frankfurt am Main, and joined the Nazi Party in December that year; he remained a member until the party was banned after the failed putsch of 1923
Beer Hall Putsch
The Beer Hall Putsch was a failed attempt at revolution that occurred between the evening of 8 November and the early afternoon of 9 November 1923, when Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler, Generalquartiermeister Erich Ludendorff, and other heads of the Kampfbund unsuccessfully tried to seize power...

. In order to support his parents, Stuckart had to abandon his studies temporarily and work in the Nassau Regional Bank in Frankfurt in 1924. He finished his studies in 1928, receiving a doctorate
A doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degrees which qualify the holder to teach in a specific field, A doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degrees which qualify the holder...

 with a thesis entitled Erklärung an die Öffentlichkeit, insbesondere die Anmeldung zum Handelsregister ("Explanations to the Public, Especially Concerning the Enrollment to the Trade Register
German Trade Register
The Trade Register in Germany is a public register that contains details of all tradespeople and legal entities in the district of the registrar The Trade Register in Germany is a public register that contains details of all tradespeople and legal entities in the district of the registrar The...

") and passing the bar examination
Bar examination
A bar examination is an examination conducted at regular intervals to determine whether a candidate is qualified to practice law in a given jurisdiction.-Brazil:...

 in 1930.


From 1930 Stuckart served as a district court judge. It was during this period he renewed his association with the NSDAP and provided party comrades with legal counseling. He, however, did not rejoin the party immediately, as judges were prohibited from being politically active. To circumvent this restriction, Stuckart's mother joined the party for him, as member number 378,144. From 1932 to 1933 he worked as a lawyer and legal secretary for the SA
The Sturmabteilung functioned as a paramilitary organization of the National Socialist German Workers' Party . It played a key role in Adolf Hitler's rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s...

 in Stettin, Pomerania
Pomerania is a historical region on the south shore of the Baltic Sea. Divided between Germany and Poland, it stretches roughly from the Recknitz River near Stralsund in the West, via the Oder River delta near Szczecin, to the mouth of the Vistula River near Gdańsk in the East...

. Stuckart was a member of the SA from 1932 onward, and after the recommendation of Himmler
Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was Reichsführer of the SS, a military commander, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. As Chief of the German Police and the Minister of the Interior from 1943, Himmler oversaw all internal and external police and security forces, including the Gestapo...

, joined the SS
The Schutzstaffel |Sig runes]]) was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Built upon the Nazi ideology, the SS under Heinrich Himmler's command was responsible for many of the crimes against humanity during World War II...

 on December 16, 1933 (member number 280,042), eventually reaching the rank of SS-Obergruppenführer in 1944.

Stuckart's quick rise in the German state administration was unusual for a person of modest background, and would have been impossible without his long dedication to the National Socialist cause. On April 4, 1933 he became the Mayor and State Commissioner in Stettin and was also a elected to the state parliament and the Prussian council of state
Council of State
The Council of State is a unique governmental body in a country or subdivision thereoff, though its nature may range from the formal name for the cabinet to a non-executive advisory body surrounding a head of state. It is sometimes regarded as the equivalent of a privy council.-Modern:*Belgian...

. On May 15, 1933 Stuckart was appointed Ministerial Director of the Prussian Ministry of Education and the Arts, and on June 30, 1933 he was made a State Secretary. In 1934, Stuckart was intimately involved in the dubious acquisition of the Guelph Treasure of Brunswick (the "Welfenschatz") - a unique collection of early medieval religious precious metalwork, at that time in the hands of some German-Jewish art dealers from Frankfurt
Frankfurt am Main , commonly known simply as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2010 population of 688,249. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010...

, and one of the most important church treasuries to have survived from medieval Germany - by the Prussian State under its Prime Minister Hermann Goering. Disagreements with his superior led Stuckart to leave the Ministry and move to Darmstadt
Darmstadt is a city in the Bundesland of Hesse in Germany, located in the southern part of the Rhine Main Area.The sandy soils in the Darmstadt area, ill-suited for agriculture in times before industrial fertilisation, prevented any larger settlement from developing, until the city became the seat...

, where he worked for a few weeks as the president of the superior district court. On March 7, 1935, Stuckart began serving in the Reich Ministry of Interior, Division I, with the responsibility for constitutional law
Constitutional law
Constitutional law is the body of law which defines the relationship of different entities within a state, namely, the executive, the legislature and the judiciary....

, citizenship and racial laws. In this position he was given the task of co-writing together with Bernhard Lösener and Franz Albrecht Medicus the anti-Semitic Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour and The Reich Citizenship Law, together better known as the Nuremberg Laws, which were imposed by the Nazi-controlled Reichstag
Reichstag (Weimar Republic)
The Reichstag was the parliament of Weimar Republic .German constitution commentators consider only the Reichstag and now the Bundestag the German parliament. Another organ deals with legislation too: in 1867-1918 the Bundesrat, in 1919–1933 the Reichsrat and from 1949 on the Bundesrat...

 on September 15, 1935.

As a legal theorist

A prolific writer, Stuckart came to be seen as one of the leading Nazi legal experts, focusing especially on racial laws and public administration
Public administration
Public Administration houses the implementation of government policy and an academic discipline that studies this implementation and that prepares civil servants for this work. As a "field of inquiry with a diverse scope" its "fundamental goal.....

. In 1936 Stuckart, as the chairman of the Reich Committee for the Protection of German Blood, together with Hans Globke
Hans Globke
- See also :* Theodor Oberländer* Rudolf Christoph Freiherr von Gersdorff- Bibliography :* Tetens, T.H. The New Germany and the Old Nazis. Random House/Marzani & Munsel, New York, 1961. LCN 61-7240....

 co-authored the government's official Commentary on German Racial Legislation in elaboration of the Reich Citizenship and Blood Protection Laws. The commentary explains that the laws were based on the concept of Volksgemeinschaft
Volksgemeinschaft is a German expression meaning "people's community". Originally appearing during World War I as Germans rallied behind the war, it derived its popularity as a means to break down elitism and class divides...

("People's community") to which every German was bound by common blood. The individual was not a member of society
A society, or a human society, is a group of people related to each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or virtual territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations...

, a concept viewed by the Nazi legal theorists as a Marxist liberal one, but a born member of the German Volk, through which he or she acquires rights. Interests of the Volk were to always override those of the individual. People born outside of the Volk were seen to possess no rights, and in fact to represent a danger to the purity of the people's community. As such, anti-miscegenation legislation was justified, even necessary. Stuckart stated that these laws represented "a preliminary solution of the Jewish question
Jewish Question
The Jewish question encompasses the issues and resolutions surrounding the historically unequal civil, legal and national statuses between minority Ashkenazi Jews and non-Jews, particularly in Europe. The first issues discussed and debated by societies, politicians and writers in western and...


In October 1939 Stuckart was given the task of investigating the comprehensive rationalization of the state administrative structure by decentralization
__FORCETOC__Decentralization or decentralisation is the process of dispersing decision-making governance closer to the people and/or citizens. It includes the dispersal of administration or governance in sectors or areas like engineering, management science, political science, political economy,...

 and simplification. The streamlining was to especially concern the field administration, which was to undergo extensive unification, preferably leading to a model of a small Interior Ministry supervising a single system of field agencies fielding wide local powers. Stuckart proposed that the state and party should effectively be combined in an overarching concept of the Reich
Reich is a German word cognate with the English rich, but also used to designate an empire, realm, or nation. The qualitative connotation from the German is " sovereign state." It is the word traditionally used for a variety of sovereign entities, including Germany in many periods of its history...

, and co-operate at the highest levels of power, so that ground-level friction between the institutions could be solved by referencing upwards. The transformation of the state administration from a technical apparatus for the application of norms to a mean of political leadership was the central idea in Stuckart's model: the ideal Nazi civil servant was not to be a passive lawyer of the bygone "liberal constitutional state
Weimar Republic
The Weimar Republic is the name given by historians to the parliamentary republic established in 1919 in Germany to replace the imperial form of government...

", but a "pioneer of culture, coloniser and political and economic creator". The administrative structure of the Reichsgau
A Reichsgau was an administrative subdivision created in a number of the areas annexed to Nazi Germany between 1938 and 1945...

e, where the party and state authorities were combined and the Gauleiter
A Gauleiter was the party leader of a regional branch of the NSDAP or the head of a Gau or of a Reichsgau.-Creation and Early Usage:...

 fielded almost dictatorial powers over his domain, reflected Stuckart's theorization.

"Generalplan West"

A memorandum written on June 14, 1940 by Stuckart or someone in his vicinity in the Interior Ministry discusses the annexation of certain areas in Eastern France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 to the German Reich. The document presents a plan to weaken France by reducing the country to its late mediaeval borders with the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 and replacing the French populace
French people
The French are a nation that share a common French culture and speak the French language as a mother tongue. Historically, the French population are descended from peoples of Celtic, Latin and Germanic origin, and are today a mixture of several ethnic groups...

 of the annexed territories by German settlers. This memorandum formed the basis for the so-called "north-east line" (also called the "black line" and the "Führer line") drawn in the occupied French
Zone occupée
The zone occupée was the area of France where German occupying troops were deployed during the Second World War after the signature of the Second Armistice at Compiègne...

 territories after the Second Armistice at Compiègne, which stretched from the mouth of the Somme
Somme River
The Somme is a river in Picardy, northern France. The name Somme comes from a Celtic word meaning tranquility. The department Somme was named after this river....

 to the Jura mountains
Jura mountains
The Jura Mountains are a small mountain range located north of the Alps, separating the Rhine and Rhone rivers and forming part of the watershed of each...

 (see map). Because of the historical motivation
Irredentism is any position advocating annexation of territories administered by another state on the grounds of common ethnicity or prior historical possession, actual or alleged. Some of these movements are also called pan-nationalist movements. It is a feature of identity politics and cultural...

 for the area's Germanization, cities and regions were to revert to their traditional German names. Nancy, for instance, would be known thereafter as Nanzig, and Besançon
Besançon , is the capital and principal city of the Franche-Comté region in eastern France. It had a population of about 237,000 inhabitants in the metropolitan area in 2008...

 as Bisanz. Historian Peter Schöttler refers to this plan as a western equivalent of the Generalplan Ost
Generalplan Ost
Generalplan Ost was a secret Nazi German plan for the colonization of Eastern Europe. Implementing it would have necessitated genocide and ethnic cleansing to be undertaken in the Eastern European territories occupied by Germany during World War II...


Wannsee Conference

Stuckart later represented Wilhelm Frick
Wilhelm Frick
Wilhelm Frick was a prominent German Nazi official serving as Minister of the Interior of the Third Reich. After the end of World War II, he was tried for war crimes at the Nuremberg Trials and executed...

, the Interior Minister, at the Wannsee conference
Wannsee Conference
The Wannsee Conference was a meeting of senior officials of the Nazi German regime, held in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee on 20 January 1942. The purpose of the conference was to inform administrative leaders of Departments responsible for various policies relating to Jews, that Reinhard Heydrich...

 on January 20, 1942, which discussed the imposition of the "Final Solution
Final Solution
The Final Solution was Nazi Germany's plan and execution of the systematic genocide of European Jews during World War II, resulting in the most deadly phase of the Holocaust...

 of the Jewish Question in the German Sphere of Influence in Europe". According to the minutes of the conference, Stuckart supported forced sterilization for persons of "mixed blood
Mischling was the German term used during the Third Reich to denote persons deemed to have only partial Aryan ancestry. The word has essentially the same origin as mestee in English, mestizo in Spanish and métis in French...

" instead of evacuation
Emergency evacuation
Emergency evacuation is the immediate and rapid movement of people away from the threat or actual occurrence of a hazard. Examples range from the small scale evacuation of a building due to a bomb threat or fire to the large scale evacuation of a district because of a flood, bombardment or...


Reinhard Heydrich
Reinhard Heydrich
Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich , also known as The Hangman, was a high-ranking German Nazi official.He was SS-Obergruppenführer and General der Polizei, chief of the Reich Main Security Office and Stellvertretender Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia...

 called a follow-up conference on March 6, 1942, which further discussed the problems of "mixed blood" individuals and mixed marriage couples. At this meeting, Stuckart argued that only first degree Mischlinge (persons with two Jewish grandparents) should be sterilized by force, after which they should be allowed to remain in Germany and undergo a "natural extinction". He stated:

Stuckart was also concerned about causing distress to German spouses and children of interracial couples.

After World War II

Stuckart served briefly as Interior Minister in Karl Dönitz's "Flensburg Government
Flensburg government
The Flensburg Government , also known as the Flensburg Cabinet and the Dönitz Government , was the short-lived administration that attempted to rule the Third Reich during most of May 1945 at the end of World War II in Europe...

" in May 1945.

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...

, Stuckart was arrested and tried by the Allies
In everyday English usage, allies are people, groups, or nations that have joined together in an association for mutual benefit or to achieve some common purpose, whether or not explicit agreement has been worked out between them...

 in the Ministries Trial
Ministries Trial
The Ministries Trial was the eleventh of the twelve trials for war crimes the U.S. authorities held in their occupation zone in Germany in Nuremberg after the end of World War II. These twelve trials were all held before U.S...

 for his role in formulating and carrying out anti-Jewish laws. The court characterized him as an ardent Jew-hater, who was able to pursue his anti-Semitic campaign from the safety of his ministerial office. Former co-worker Bernhard Lösener from Interior Ministry testified that Stuckart had been aware of the murder of the Jews even before the Wannsee Conference. Stuckart's defence argued that his support for the forced sterilization of Mischlinge was in order to prevent or delay even more drastic measures. The court was unable to resolve the question, and sentenced him to time served
Time served
In criminal law, "time served" describes a sentence where the defendant is credited immediately after the guilty verdict with the time spent in remand awaiting trial. The time is usually subtracted from the sentence, with only the balance being served after the verdict...

 in April 1949.

After being released from captivity, Stuckart went to work as city treasurer in Helmstedt
Helmstedt is a city located at the eastern edge of the German state of Lower Saxony. It is the capital of the District of Helmstedt. Helmstedt has 26,000 inhabitants . In former times the city was also called Helmstädt....

 and then as the manager of the Institute for the Promotion of Economy in Lower Saxony
Lower Saxony
Lower Saxony is a German state situated in north-western Germany and is second in area and fourth in population among the sixteen states of Germany...

. In 1951 he was tried in a de-Nazification court, classified as a "fellow traveler" (Mitläufer) and fined five hundred marks.


Stuckart was killed on November 15, 1953 near Hanover
Hanover or Hannover, on the river Leine, is the capital of the federal state of Lower Saxony , Germany and was once by personal union the family seat of the Hanoverian Kings of Great Britain, under their title as the dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg...

, West Germany
West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

 in a car accident. There has been widespread speculation that the "accident" was in reality a staged collision targeting Stuckart as a former Nazi involved in Nazi racial and anti-Jewish policies and activities, although nothing has ever been openly admitted by The Mossad
The Mossad , short for HaMossad leModi'in uleTafkidim Meyuchadim , is the national intelligence agency of Israel....

 or other groups known to have been involved in bringing former Nazis to justice.


Stuckart held firm opinions concerning racial legislation and administrative organization in spite of strong opposition to them among the various political forces active in the Nazi regime. At the Ministries Trial, his personal assistant Hans Globke
Hans Globke
- See also :* Theodor Oberländer* Rudolf Christoph Freiherr von Gersdorff- Bibliography :* Tetens, T.H. The New Germany and the Old Nazis. Random House/Marzani & Munsel, New York, 1961. LCN 61-7240....

 described him as a "convinced Nazi", whose political faith weakened as time went on. From May 1940 onward Stuckart made a number of requests to be released from his job to military service in the Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

, but these were turned down personally by Hitler.

SS career

  • SS-Standartenführer, September 1936
  • SS-Oberführer, January 1937
  • SS-Brigadeführer, January 1938
  • SS-Gruppenführer, January 1942
  • SS-Obergruppenführer, January 1944


  • Geschichte im Geschichtsunterricht, Frankfurt am Main 1934 ("A History of History Teaching")
  • Nationalsozialistische Rechtserziehung, Frankfurt am Main 1935 ("National Socialist Legal Studies")
  • Reichsbürgergesetz vom 15. September 1935. Gesetz zum Schutze des deutschen Blutes und der deutschen Ehre vom 15. September 1935. Gesetz zum Schutze der Erbgesundheit des deutschen Volkes (Ehegesundheitsgesetz) vom 18. Oktober 1935. Nebst allen Ausführungsvorschriften und den einschlägigen Gesetzen und Verordnungen, with Hans Globke, Berlin 1936
  • Neues Staatsrecht, with Wilhelm Albrecht, Leipzig 1936 ("New State Law")
  • Nationalsozialismus und Staatsrecht, Berlin 1937 ("National Socialism and Constitutional Law")
  • Verwaltungsrecht, with Walter Scheerbarth, Leipzig 1937 ("Administrative Law")
  • Partei und Staat, Vienna 1938 ("The Party and the State")
  • Rassen- und Erbpflege in der Gesetzgebung des Dritten Reiches, with Rolf Schiedemair, Leipzig 1938 ("Racial and Hereditary Care
    Nazi eugenics
    Nazi eugenics were Nazi Germany's racially-based social policies that placed the improvement of the Aryan race through eugenics at the center of their concerns...

     in the Legislation of the Third Reich")
  • Die Reichsverteidigung (Wehrrecht), with Harry von Rosen, Leipzig 1940 ("Reich Defense (Military Law)")
  • Führung und Verwaltung im Kriege, Berlin 1941 ("Leadership and Administration During Wartime")
  • Neues Gemeinderecht. Mit einer Darstellung der Gemeindeverbände, with Harry von Rosen, Leipzig 1942 ("New Municipal Law")
  • Verfassung, Verwaltung und europäische Neuordnung, Bukarest 1942 ("Constitution, Administration and the New European Order")
  • Verfassungs-, Verwaltungs- und Wirtschaftsgesetze Norwegens. Sammlung der wichtigsten Gesetze, Verordnungen und Erlasse, with Reinhard Höhn and Herbert Schneider, Darmstadt 1942 ("Constitutional, Administrative and Economic Laws of Norway. Collection of the Most Important Laws, Regulations and Decrees")
  • Der Staatsaufbau des Deutschen Reichs in systematischer Darstellung, with Harry von Rosen and Rolf Schiedermair, Leipzig 1943 ("The State Structure of the German Reich: A Systematic Presentation")

Fictional portrayals

Stuckart has featured in popular culture:
  • in the 1984 film Wannseekonferenz he was played by Peter Fitz.
  • in the 2001 BBC
    The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

    /HBO film Conspiracy, he was played by Colin Firth
    Colin Firth
    SirColin Andrew Firth, CBE is a British film, television, and theatre actor. Firth gained wide public attention in the 1990s for his portrayal of Mr. Darcy in the 1995 television adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice...

  • in the alternate history novel, Fatherland
    Fatherland (novel)
    Fatherland is a bestselling 1992 thriller by the English writer and journalist Robert Harris. It takes the form of a high concept alternative history set in a world in which Nazi Germany won World War II.The novel was an immediate bestseller in Britain...

    , written by Robert Harris
    Robert Harris (novelist)
    Robert Dennis Harris is an English novelist. He is a former journalist and BBC television reporter.-Early life:Born in Nottingham, Harris spent his childhood in a small rented house on a Nottingham council estate. His ambition to become a writer arose at an early age, from visits to the local...

    , Stuckart is one of the Wannsee attendees who is hunted down by the 1960s Nazi regime.
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