Ernst Walb

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Franz Ernst Walb (born September 26, 1880 in Alzey ; † November 2, 1946 in Cologne ) was a German economist and rector of the University of Cologne .


After attending the Progymnasium, Walb completed a commercial apprenticeship and then went on to do a commercial job. From 1904 he studied at the Cologne Commercial College, which was only founded in 1901, and graduated from there in 1906. At the university he also heard lectures by Eugen Schmalenbach . After completing his studies, he worked in the private sector. As early as 1907 he became the first full-time lecturer for commercial science and deputy scientific director of the commercial college courses in Königsberg , which later became the commercial college in Königsberg . He continued his scientific career two years later in Stockholm at the commercial college , where he held an extraordinary and later a full professorship. In 1911 he accepted a call as a full professor for commercial technology at his former training center in Cologne . Here he specialized in banking technology. After the First World War , he was taken over in 1919 with the commercial college at the newly created University of Cologne as a professor of business administration.

On June 23, 1919, he was without submission of an original monograph Dr. rer. pole. doctorate and by Ministerial Decree of 30 December 1919 also without proof of habilitation thesis habilitation . However, as early as 1920 Walb switched to the chair for private economics at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg , where he was also dean of the law and political science faculty in the academic year 1925/26 .

In 1926 he returned to Cologne and took over from Willi Prion . In the same year his main work was published "The income statement of private and public enterprises. An Introduction" . In Cologne, Walb began developing Schmalenbach's dynamic balance sheet approach. For the academic year 1927/28 he was elected rector of the University of Cologne. From 1931 to 1932 and from 1940 to 1945 he was dean of the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences. Until 1936 he was director of the "Seminar (s) für Bankingwirtschaft" or - after the renaming of the seminar in 1930 - Director of the "Seminar (s) für Banking und Finanzwirtschaft". He was represented by Rudolf Johns from 1936 to 1938 due to illness . In 1938 Hans Herbert Hohlfeld was appointed as his successor as director of the "Seminar (s) for Banking and Finance". From 1936 Walb was also director of the "Seminar (s) for auditing and fiduciary management". Due to the war, the seminar was moved to the University of Marburg in the winter semester of 1944/45 , which was closed at the end of March 1945 after the liberation of Marburg by American troops.

Walb lost his job and income as a result. He was initially assumed by the British military government to have a National Socialist attitude, and so he was classified as incriminated during the denazification process . This was probably related to his speech on the celebration of the “ Day of the National Uprising ” on January 30, 1936, during which he gave a lecture on “The German Cameralists as Shaper and Educator of the German Nation in the Light of National Socialism” and recommended to his audience that they should be unreserved to use for the goals of Adolf Hitler . Although he was allowed to hold courses on general business administration from the winter semester 1945/46 to the summer semester 1946, he was dismissed with immediate effect on October 26, 1946 at the instigation of the British military government. Deeply disappointed, Walb then put an end to his life on November 2, 1946 in his apartment in Cologne-Marienburg by suicide . He was married to Liselotte Gehlhaus since 1943. His posthumous discharge from the British military government came too late.

Technical focus

Walb's scientific focus is on the areas of banking , accounting (here in particular the income statement in both private and public companies), war economics and public economy (here in particular cameralistics ).

He dealt with accounting in the then widespread "Rothschilds Pocket Book for Merchants" (several editions). He also published an article on the "Controversy over the calculation of profit shares in the stock corporation" (1915) and discussed "The problem of apparent profits" (1922) in an article. He also published on the inter-company capital and payment transactions. On this basis, he developed a special banking management program that also included the scientific principles of business management.

During the First World War he published numerous works on the war economy, e.g. B. “The movement of money and capital during the war” (1914), “The satisfaction of the money needs of the warring states” (1915) and “War tax” (1917/18).

In 1926 his main work "The income statement of private and public companies" appeared. His work on cameralistics was also trend-setting. In addition, there were articles on payment transactions and banking management. In 1943 his last monograph, “Finanzwirtschaftliche Bilanz”, appeared, which in 1948 after his death had a second edition. In addition, Walb was co-editor of the "Journal for Commercial Research".

His work was carried on by Walb's students: Erich Kosiol and Rudolf Johns worked in the field of accounting.


Participation in non-university institutions


  • 1926: The income statement of private and public companies. An introduction.

Sources on the life of Ernst Walb

  • Hermann Corsten : The literature of the lecturers currently working at the University of Cologne. Cologne 1938, pp. 21-23.
  • University Archives Cologne (UAK), Zug. 571, no.229.
  • UAK, Zug. 604, No. 187-89.
  • Willehad Paul Eckert: Small history of the University of Cologne. Cologne 1961, p. 209.
  • Hans Klanke: Ernst Walb. In: Concise dictionary of business administration. Volume IV, 3rd edition. Stuttgart 1962, p. 6144 f.
  • Reinhold Hömberg: Ernst Walb (1880 to 1946). In: Friedrich-Wilhelm Henning: Business economists in Cologne. Cologne et al. 1988, pp. 35-70.
  • Frank Golczewski: Cologne University Teacher and National Socialism. Cologne et al. 1988, p. 206.
  • Senate Commission for the History of the University of Cologne (Hrsg.): Kölner Universitätsgeschichte. Volume II: The 19th and 20th Centuries. Cologne et al. 1988, pp. 123f., 177, 267-269, 366 f., 421 f.
  • Hannelore Ludwig: The economic and social science teaching in Cologne from 1901 to 1989/1990. Dissertation Univ. Cologne 1990. Cologne et al. 1991, ISBN 3-412-02491-0 , pp. 50, 58, 69, 74, 102 f.
  • Gernot U. Gabel (ed.): From commercial college to university. 100 years of economic and social science teaching and research in Cologne. Catalog for the exhibition in the University and City Library of Cologne. University and City Library, Cologne 2001, pp. 62–68.
  • Andreas Freitäger: 1945 at the University of Cologne. In: Cultural event directory of the University of Cologne WS 2005/06. Pp. 7-11.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b Death certificate no. 4261 from November 4, 1946, registry office Cologne I. In: LAV NRW R civil status register. Retrieved June 15, 2018 .