Franz von Liszt

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Franz von Liszt

Franz Ritter von Liszt (born March 2, 1851 in Vienna , † June 21, 1919 in Seeheim ) was a German legal scholar . From 1898 to 1917 he was professor of criminal law and international law at Berlin University and a member of the Progressive People's Party in the Prussian House of Representatives and in the Reichstag .


Von Liszt was born on March 2, 1851 in Vienna. His father Eduard (since 1867 Ritter von ) Liszt, who was himself a lawyer, had a brilliant career as a civil servant up to the head of the newly established Austrian Public Prosecutor 's Office. The famous namesake of Franz von Liszt, the piano virtuoso and composer Franz Liszt , was his cousin and also acted as his godfather. Since the composer was born in 1811, he belonged more to the generation of his father, Eduard von Liszt.

Legendary heroic representations surround the origins of the Liszt family. The ancestors of the composer and piano virtuoso, who are also the ancestors of the lawyer, were settled in the Hungarian family of Baron von Listy. Only the great-grandfather of the composer, Sebastian List, who was a hussar officer and came from Raijka in western Hungary, is documented. The Austrian hereditary knighthood was given to the composer Franz Liszt in 1859, after he had previously received the Order of the Iron Crown III from Emperor Franz Joseph I. Class had received, was awarded at his own request in accordance with the statutes of the order. When he received the minor ordinations of the Catholic Church , in 1867 he asked the Emperor to transfer the title to Eduard Liszt, the lawyer’s father. Although this did not affect his own rights to the title of nobility, the composer later usually refrained from using it as a clergyman .


From 1869 von Liszt studied in Vienna , among others with Rudolf von Jhering , who had a lasting influence on him; later he was to transfer his idea of ​​the “purpose in law” to criminal law. 1874 Dr. jur. after completing his doctorate , Liszt quickly strived for a scientific career which, after his habilitation in Graz in 1876 , took him to chairs in Gießen (from 1879), Marburg (from 1882), Halle (from 1889) and finally in 1898 at the zenith of his career at the largest law faculty of Reich brought to Berlin . In the first twenty years he devoted himself almost exclusively to criminal law . So from 1882 he founded the first criminology seminar, the Criminal Political Association, in Marburg and continued to work on building up the journal for the entire field of criminal law ; thus he formed his so-called Marburg School. In 1889 he was a co-founder of the International Criminological Association .

In addition to science, he was also interested in practical politics. In Berlin, for example, he was involved in the Free People's Party from around 1900 and became a member of the city ​​council of Charlottenburg until he was elected to the Prussian House of Representatives in 1908 and to the German Reichstag for the Progressive People's Party in 1912 . In doing so, however, he remained politically more of a backbencher and always remained a thorn in the side of the ministerial bureaucracy. As a liberal outsider with moral courage, he sat too much between the chairs, so that he found little approval in the established society of Prussia and the Reich. He was certainly not an ordinary professor of his time, nevertheless an established grand ordinary, a German Mandarin ( Fritz K. Ringer ), endowed with the insignia of his guild, medals and privy council title, and one of the last representatives of the type of "political professor".

He served as rector at both the University of Marburg (1886/87) and the University of Halle (1894/95) .

In 1917, von Liszt established the German Youth Court Day as an event that recurs every three years.

Death and inheritance

Liszt died on June 21, 1919 after a long illness, leaving behind his wife Rudolfine and two daughters, both of whom remained unmarried. This branch of the Liszt family has since died out. There is no longer any legacy; at least parts of his extensive institute library are in the Liszt Library of the Humboldt University in Berlin .

After he died in Seeheim, Franz von Liszt was transferred to Heidelberg and rests there in the Bergfriedhof (Heidelberg) . His grave is in the so-called row of professors (Dept. D). The tomb is a granite boulder. It bears the inscriptions of Franz von Liszt and his wife Rudolfine von Liszt, born in 1927, who died in 1927. Drottleff von Friedenfels.

Criminal law work

His textbook, first published in 1881 under the title “Das deutsche Reichsstrafrecht” (German Reich Criminal Law), renamed from the 2nd edition (1884) to “Textbook of German Criminal Law”, reached a total of 26 editions by 1932. It represented a systematic criminal law doctrine based on the liberal rule of law model. The starting point for the history of criminal policy was the “Marburg Program” named after his inaugural address in 1882, his criminal law theory, which was not based on retaliation and which opened up new criminal policy, especially preventive goals ( The purpose of criminal law , 1882). The conception of punishment and criminal law based on the methods and economic concept of positivism was directed against metaphysical justifications for retaliation. Liszt wanted to overcome the criminal theories of Immanuel Kant and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel that had prevailed until then . He tried to explain the crime by researching the causes of the offender's behavior. His penal theory was dominated solely by purposeful thinking; H. the penitentiary system did not serve to retaliate (as, for example, with Karl Binding ), but to purposeful special prevention, which is why Liszt is considered the father of special preventive criminal theory with its punitive purposes of security, reform and deterrence.

His criminal policy demands were therefore: Improvement of the existing social conditions and a prison system designed for concrete rehabilitation of the perpetrator. In this sense, he propagated a differentiation of special prevention according to the type of offender :

  • Occasional offenders should receive a suspended sentence as a memo ,
  • Improvable offenders a (longer) imprisonment, which should be accompanied by measures of rehabilitation ,
  • incorrigible hangers should be kept permanently.

Von Liszt's criminal policy thoughts were taken into account in the criminal law reforms of the 20th century , abolition of short prison sentences, suspended sentences, measures for reform and security, rehabilitation of the penal system, special measures against juvenile offenders. However, it was not until well into the 1960s that they managed to assert themselves against the traditional retaliatory theoretical approach of the classic school of Bindings. This applied to both case law and the prevailing opinion of the literature:

This new - perceived as very human - orientation of criminal law also became known as the sociological school . In doing so, von Liszt broke through the prevention principle established in some places. He branded multiple perpetrators as "rabble" or "guys", whose "neutralization" he demanded. These "incorrigible ones" deserve punitive bondage with flogging and "absolutely dishonorable character".

Work under international law

What has largely been forgotten, however, is that Liszt, with his textbook on international law, published in eleven editions between 1898 and 1919, contributed more to the dissemination of knowledge in this area of ​​law than any previously published international law textbook. In it he summarized the international law of his time and made suggestions on the community of states, the law of sea ​​warfare , the award law , the basic international law and extradition law. He succeeded in articulating a classic idea of ​​the world of states, based on the sovereignty thinking of the 19th century, and yet not remaining attached to it. He advocated the creation of a compulsory court of arbitration , as he saw it as the first step towards an effective integration of states into a stately organized association of states. In order to secure the peace in the long term, Liszt called for more intensive integration of the world of states. Based on the cooperation between economically, culturally and geographically closely connected states, he saw an "international law of groups of states" emerging. As early as 1914 he had been speaking on questions about the design of a future League of Nations (Liszt: "Völkerareopag"). He called for a Central European Union as the next goal of German foreign policy to protect against Russia and England, as well as a League of Nations endowed with judicial and coercive power . With his work on international law, Liszt documents the tension between classic and modern international law like no other.


  • Purpose in criminal law
    • The early rector Ludwig Ennerccerus, doctor and full professor of law, invites you to the ceremonial introduction of the new rector of the university on October 15, 1882 at 11:30 a.m. The attached annual report is preceded by: The purpose of the criminal law of Ms. E. v. Liszt, professor of law , Marburg: Print by CL Pfeil, 1882 (digitized version of the University Library of Regensburg ).
    • Purpose in criminal law . In: Journal for the entire criminal law science (ZStW) , Volume 3 (1883), pp. 1-47 (digitized via Google Books ).
    • Purpose in criminal law . In: Articles and lectures on criminal law. From Dr. Franz v. Liszt, Professor of Law. First volume […] Berlin: J. Guttentag, 1905, pp. 126–179 (copy in the project text-o-res , digitized via Google Books ).
    • Purpose in criminal law . With an introduction by Michael Köhler , Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2002 (= contemporary legal history. Small series , volume 6).
  • The German Reich Criminal Law. Berlin 1881. ( digitized and full text in the German text archive ).
  • The criminal law of the states of Europe. Berlin 1884.
  • The international law. Systematically presented. Berlin 1898. ( digitized and full text in the German text archive ).
    • 3rd edition, Berlin 1904.
  • The obligations of tort in the system of the Civil Code. Critical and dogmatic marginal notes , Berlin: Guttentag, 1896 (= The Law of the Civil Code in Individual Representations , Volume 8) - digitized via Google Books .
  • Textbook of German criminal law
    • The German Reich Criminal Law on the basis of the Reich Criminal Code and the other criminal laws of the Reich, taking into account the case law of the Reich Court, systematically presented by Dr. Franz Eduard von Liszt, professor of law in Gießen , Berlin and Leipzig: J. Guttentag, 1881 (= textbooks on German imperial law , volume 7) ( digitized and full text in the German text archive , digitized via the Berlin State Library ).
    • Textbook of German criminal law. From Dr. Franz von Liszt, ord. Professor of Law in Berlin. Eleventh unchanged edition, Berlin: J. Guttentag, 1902 - digitized via Google Books
    • 14th and 15th, completely revised edition , Berlin: J. Guttentag Verlagbuchhandlung, 1905 - digitized via Google Books .
    • 22nd edition, Berlin 1919.
  • Criminal cases for academic use
    • Fifth, completely revised and enlarged edition. Edited by Dr. Franz v. Liszt, professor of law in Halle a. S., Jena: Verlag von Gustav Fischer, 1895 - digitized via Google Books
  • The essence of the association of states under international law and the International Prize Court. In: Announcement of the Berlin law faculty for Otto von Gierke on the anniversary of his doctorate August 21, 1910. Volume 3, Breslau 1910 (reprint: Frankfurt am Main 1969), p. 21 ff.
  • A Central European Union of Nations as the next goal of German foreign policy. Leipzig 1914.
  • Loyalty to the Nibelung. In: Österreichische Rundschau. Volume 42, 1915, pp. 87 ff.
  • The Reconstruction of International Law. In: Pennsylvania Law Review. Volume 64, 1916, p. 765 ff.
  • From the association of states to the international community. A contribution to the reorientation of state politics and international law. Munich and Berlin 1917.
  • Violent Peace or League of Nations. A warning at the last hour. In: NZZ. No. 1428 of October 27, 1918, p. 1.


  • Monika FrommelLiszt, Franz Ritter von. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 14, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1985, ISBN 3-428-00195-8 , pp. 704 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Arnd Koch (Hrsg.), Martin Löhnig (Hrsg.): The school of Franz von Liszt: social preventive criminal policy and the emergence of modern criminal law. [Documentation of contributions from a conference in autumn 2014 at the University of Augsburg]. Tübingen, Mohr Siebeck, 2016. ISBN 978-3-16-154148-3 .
  • Helga Müller: The concept of general prevention in the 19th century: from PJA Feuerbach to Franz v. Liszt. (also dissertation at the University of Frankfurt am Main, 1983). Frankfurt am Main, Bern [a. a.]. Lang, 1984. ISBN 3-820-47991-0 .
  • Therese Stäcker, Heribert Ostendorf : The Franz von Liszt School and its effects on the development of German criminal law. (also PhD Therese Stäcker at the University of Kiel, 2011/2012). Baden-Baden, Nomos, 2012. ISBN 978-3-83-297365-0 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. The coat of arms awarded to Franz Liszt in 1859 on the occasion of his ennoblement was “Geviert; 1 and 4 in red a jumping silver unicorn; 2 and 3 three silver posts in blue with a red bar on top, this centered with a gold star. Two crowned helmets: I the unicorn growing inward; II is an open air, tinged (such as field 2 and 3. " blazon by: Austrian State Archives Vienna, General Administration Archive, Adelsarchiv: Adelsakt Franz Liszt, Ritter von, Vienna October 30, 1859).
  2. For the text of the certificate see online .
  3. ^ Rector's speeches (HKM) .
  4. ^ Siegfried Müller: Educate - Help - Punish. To clarify the concept of upbringing in juvenile criminal law from an educational point of view . In: Helge Peters (Ed.): Must there be punishment? For the analysis and criticism of criminal law practice. Wiesbaden 1993, pp. 217-232.
  5. Uwe Wesel : History of the law: From the early forms to the present. CH Beck, Munich 2001, ISBN 978-3-406-54716-4 . No. 338 (p. 577 ff.).
  6. Uwe Wesel: History of the law: From the early forms to the present. CH Beck, Munich 2001, ISBN 978-3-406-54716-4 . No. 293 (p. 487).
  7. a b c d e Notes on using a US proxy, which is often still required for calling, can be found in this Wikisource article.