Friedrich Wilhelm Wagner (politician)

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Grave monument in the main cemetery in Ludwigshafen

Friedrich Wilhelm Wagner (born February 28, 1894 in Ludwigshafen am Rhein ; † March 17, 1971 there ) was a German lawyer and politician ( SPD ). From 1961 to 1967 he was Vice President of the Federal Constitutional Court .


Wagner was born the son of a worker. He graduated from the upper secondary school in Ludwigshafen, where he graduated from high school in 1913. During the First World War he was drafted into military service in 1915/16.

After studying political science and law in Tübingen , Munich , Heidelberg and Berlin , he worked temporarily in local government. In 1922 he established himself as a lawyer in Ludwigshafen. He was a member of the Free Religious Congregation Ludwigshafen and the Masonic Lodge Carl zur Eintracht in Mannheim.

From 1920 to 1922 Wagner was chairman of the Ludwigshafen branch of the SPD, from 1925 to 1933 district chairman of the Reich Banner Black-Red-Gold for the Palatinate, Saar and Nahe areas. In addition, he was a long-time member of the district executive committee of the Palatinate SPD. In 1930 he moved into the Reichstag as the successor to the late Johannes Hoffmann (1867–1930) for the SPD . As a lawyer, he led numerous political trials, for example represented the SPD chairman Otto Wels against the NSDAP Gauleiter in the Rhineland and later founder and leader of the German Labor Front ( DAF ), Robert Ley , who was sentenced to three months in prison.

Wagner's Stolperstein in his native Ludwigshafen in front of the house at Rubensstrasse 25

On March 10, 1933, shortly after the National Socialist seizure of power , Wagner was arrested during a trial. On the same day he managed to escape to Strasbourg , later Paris , where he worked in various organizations in exile . Wagner was chairman of the Central Association of German Emigration from 1937 to 1941 and was actively involved in the committee for the preparation of a popular front . After German troops marched into France , he fled via Spain and Portugal to the USA , where he stayed from April 1941 to November 1946. Wagner got a position as a librarian at the Rand School of Social Science in New York and became a German board member of the Social Democratic Federation . As a member of the Association of Free Germans and the German Labor Delegation , Wagner dealt with the "German question" and was one of the signatories of the declaration "What is to be done with Germany?" From Easter 1945.

When he returned to Ludwigshafen in early 1947, Wagner reopened his law firm and participated in numerous lawsuits in the legal processing of the Nazi era . In the Nuremberg IG Farben trial in 1947/48, he defended the head of the Ludwigshafen plant, Carl Wurster , and obtained an acquittal. In addition, he was President of the Rhineland-Palatinate Bar Association from 1948 to 1956 , and from 1959 to 1961 he was President of the Court of Honor for Lawyers of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate.

Wagner became a member of the Rhineland-Palatinate state parliament in 1947 and was chairman of the legal and main committee. He was a member of the Parliamentary Council , where he chaired the Competence Committee. Article 102 (“The death penalty has been abolished”), which is anchored in the Basic Law today, goes back to his initiative. Wagner was a member of the Bundestag from 1949 to 1961 as a member of parliament that was always directly elected in his Ludwigshafen constituency and dealt primarily with legal questions. He sat in the first two Bundestag the committee for patent law and industrial property protection (later: "... and copyright"). Wagner was also a member of the Legal Committee, which in the first two electoral terms acted as the Committee for Legal Affairs and Constitutional Law, the Committee for SME Issues and the Judge Election Committee for the election of judges at higher federal courts.

Wagner was a member of the city ​​council of his hometown Ludwigshafen from December 1948 to December 1961.

From 1961 to 1967 Wagner was President of the Second Senate of the Federal Constitutional Court and thus the successor to the late Rudolf Katz , whom he had met in New York.

In 1970 Wagner co-founded the Masonic lodge “Pylon for the lamp on the Rhine” in Ludwigshafen. He found his final resting place in the main cemetery in Ludwigshafen .


After receiving the honorary title of Justizrat , Wagner received the Great Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany with a shoulder strap and star on his 70th birthday in 1964 and was made an honorary citizen of the city of Ludwigshafen. In addition, his hometown dedicated Friedrich-Wilhelm-Wagner-Platz in the Mitte district to him. The state of Rhineland-Palatinate honored him with the award of the Freiherr vom Stein plaque .


  • Klaus J. Becker: The estate of Friedrich Wilhelm Wagner . In: Palatinate-Rhenish family history . 55th year. Volume XVI, Issue 1, 2006.
  • Andreas Marquet: Generations in the Ludwigshafen Social Democracy . In: Communications of the Historical Association of the Palatinate . tape 108 , 2010.
  • Andreas Marquet: Friedrich Wilhelm Wagner - biographical approach to a political emigrant . In: Julia M. Mönig, Anna Orlikowski (Ed.): Exile interdisciplinary . Proceedings of the interdisciplinary graduate conference Perspectives on exile research. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2015.
  • Andreas Marquet: Friedrich Wilhelm Wagner 1894–1971 . A political biography (=  series of political and social history, volume 100 ). Verlag JHW Dietz Nachf., Bonn 2015.
  • Friedrich Wilhelm Wagner , In: Internationales Biographisches Archiv 21/1971 from May 17, 1971, in the Munzinger archive ( beginning of article freely accessible)

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Klaus J. Becker: Elites and ruling classes in southwest Germany: The example of Friedrich Wilhelm Wagner. From Ludwigshafen workers' son to the Federal Constitutional Court judge , p. 9 (lecture, modified December 30, 2014, PDF; 58 kB)
  2. a b c d e f Günter Braun: Friedrich Wilhelm Wagner (1894–1971) . From the Hemshof boy to the constitutional judge. In: Manfred Geis, Gerhard Nestler (ed.): The Palatinate Social Democracy . Contributions to its history from the beginning to 1948/49. Edenkoben 1999, p. 654-670 .
  3. ^ Andreas Marquet: Friedrich Wilhelm Wagner - biographical approach to a political emigrant . In: Julia M. Mönig, Anna Orlikowski (Ed.): Exile interdisciplinary . 2015.
  4. ^ Andreas Marquet: Friedrich Wilhelm Wagner 1894–1971 . 2015, p. 52, 374 (The assumption that Wagner was a member of the Ludwigshafen city council from 1931 to 1933, as represented by Günter Braun (p. 658), is incorrect).
  5. ^ The President of the State Parliament of Rhineland-Palatinate: The representatives of the free people: The members of the Consultative State Assembly and the State Parliament of Rhineland-Palatinate from 1946 to 2015 . Ed .: The President of the Rhineland-Palatinate State Parliament. Springer VS, Wiesbaden 2016, ISBN 978-3-658-04750-4 , p. 721-722 .