Godehard Josef Ebers

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Godehard Josef Ebers (born September 22, 1880 in Salzwedel ; † May 18, 1958 in Innsbruck - Igls ) was a German - Austrian legal scholar , university professor and constitutional judge . Ebers was from 1920 to 1933 professor of public law and political science and in the academic year 1932/33 rector at the University of Cologne . From June 1946 to the end of 1950 Ebers was a member of the Austrian Constitutional Court .


Godehard Josef Ebers was born on September 22nd, 1880 as a scion of a goldsmith family originally from Hildesheim in Salzwedel in the Saxon Altmark . In 1883 he moved with his family to Breslau , where his father had been offered a position as diocesan and cathedral master builder and subsequently grew up in this city as well. He attended a Catholic grammar school and passed the matriculation examination in 1901, after which he began studying theology at the University of Breslau . During his studies in 1901 he became a member of the KDStV Winfridia Breslau in the CV . After the first philosophical-theological examination, however, Ebers changed the subject in 1903 and began studying law . At the end of his second semester at the end of his second semester, Ebers was already working on a scientific paper that won the corresponding prize and became the basis for his later dissertation . He completed the state examination and was finally in 1906 at the University of Breslau for doctor of law doctorate .

After completing the judicial year , Ebers worked under the guidance of university professor Siegfried Brie with the elaboration of a habilitation thesis on the subject of "The teaching of the confederation". With his habilitation in 1908 he obtained the license to teach canon, constitutional and international law at the University of Breslau.

Professional background

Godehard Josef Ebers took up his first extraordinary professorship in 1910 at the Westphalian Wilhelms University in Münster . According to the statutes there, two professors, namely a Protestant and a Catholic, had to teach canon law at the law faculty. After only two years as a lecturer at the University of Breslau, Ebers became an extraordinary professor for (Catholic) canon law at the University of Münster. During the First World War , Godehard Josef Ebers also taught constitutional law for a colleague drafted into the war.

With the transformation of the German Empire into a republic , plans came up again to revive the University of Cologne , which had been dissolved by the French in 1798. As early as the autumn of 1918, Godehard Josef Ebers was asked by the Cologne director of the University for Communal and Social Administration, Fritz Stier-Somlo , whether he would be willing to accept a professorship at the newly founded university. When the law faculty was founded on January 9, 1920, Ebers was appointed to one of the original five chairs as a full university professor for public law and political science. In the summer semester of 1920, the law faculty began teaching.

In the following years Godehard Josef Ebers founded the Institute for Canon Law and Rhenish Church History and, together with Hans Kelsen, the Institute for International Law at the Law Faculty of the University of Cologne. He was distinguished from Kelsen's legal positivist way of thinking, while Ebers himself was a proponent of natural law . One of the doctoral students supervised by him during this period was the chaplain and later canon law historian Franz Gescher (1884-1945), who received his doctorate in February 1923 in Cologne with a dissertation on the history and law of the Cologne diocesan synods as a Doctor iuris utriusque (also Ebers examined the habilitation thesis in the subject canon law, ecclesiastical legal history and German legal history .

In 1922/23 and 1923/24 Godehard Josef Ebers was elected dean of the Faculty of Law, and for the academic year 1932/33 he was rector of the University of Cologne. At Easter 1933, however, like all Prussian rectors, he was forced to resign as part of the process of conformity. Ebers, who was a member of the Catholic Center Party until 1933 , was initially allowed to keep his professorship , but lost it on September 30, 1935 when he was dismissed and forced to retire as a result of his refusal to cooperate with the National Socialists .

In the spring of 1936, Godehard Josef Ebers was offered the chair of canon law at the then Austrian University of Innsbruck . Ebers accepted this call and moved with his family to Innsbruck-Igls in order to teach canon law and public law from the winter semester of 1936. With his appointment as a full university professor on September 30, 1936, Ebers also became an Austrian citizen . Shortly after the annexation of Austria to the German Reich and the assumption of power by the Nazis in Austria Ebers was released again provisionally from his teaching post and "until 1 May 1938 protective custody taken". As of July 1, he was subsequently put into permanent retirement, and on April 1, 1939, his pension entitlements "to the exclusion of legal recourse" were completely canceled. It was not until a year later that he was granted his pension again after being cut by a quarter.

After the dissolution of the theological faculty of the University of Innsbruck, which was also ordered by the National Socialists, Godehard Josef Ebers took over lectures on canon law at the newly established seminary in Matrei am Brenner . When the employment office wanted to oblige him to give lectures on (National Socialist) constitutional law at the University of Innsbruck in the last winter of the war, Gauleiter Franz Hofer's refusal to use him for this met him.

After the liberation of Austria in 1945, Ebers was reinstated in his chair together with his other colleagues, who were deposed in 1938, and subsequently took over not only the lectures on canon law, but also those on political theory and constitutional law. At the same time he was appointed a member of the Constitutional Court in June 1946 . In 1947 and 1951 Godehard Josef Ebers took over the office of Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Innsbruck again before he finally retired as a professor emeritus at the end of 1951. Until his death in 1958, he was subsequently an honorary professor at the law faculty.

Private life

Godehard Josef Ebers married Elisabeth Nowak on January 7, 1911, with whom he had four children.

Fonts (selection)

  • State and Church in the new Germany. Munich 1930.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Complete directory of the CV The honorary members, old men and students of the Cartell Association (CV) of the cath. German student associations. 1912, Strasbourg i. Els. 1912, p. 97.
  2. ^ Franz Gescher: The episcopal officials in France and Germany. History and law of their creation and first development. Contributions to church constitutional and procedural law. Legal habilitation thesis, Cologne 1923.
  3. "Gescherianum" - Rheinische church legal history of the Middle Ages in Cologne and Wroclaw. In: Specialized prose research - Crossing borders. Volume 8/9, 2012/2013 (2014), pp. 311-325, here: pp. 314-316.
  4. Michael Grüttner : Biographical Lexicon for National Socialist Science Policy (= Studies on Science and University History. Volume 6). Synchron, Heidelberg 2004, ISBN 3-935025-68-8 , pp. 40-41.