Hans Gross (criminologist)

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Hans Gustav Adolf Gross (also Gross , Grosz ; born December 26, 1847 in Graz ; †  December 9, 1915 ibid) was an Austrian criminal lawyer , criminologist and founder of criminology .


Gross' took part in the Bosnian campaign in 1878 and was promoted to first lieutenant in the reserve. He initially worked as an examining magistrate in his legal practice . In 1881 the family moved to Graz. In 1883 Hans Gross became deputy public prosecutor in Leoben and later chairman of the senate at the appellate court in Graz.

In 1893, Hans Gross demanded the establishment of a chair for criminology as an auxiliary discipline in criminal law . In the autumn of 1893 the Ministry of Justice commissioned him to conduct a trial course in Vienna on the tasks of the investigating magistrate. In the same year Gross published the two-volume “Handbook for Examining Judges”, which was translated into several foreign languages. The great international response to this work made several new editions necessary. From the third edition (1899) it appeared under the title "Handbook for Examining Judges as a System of Criminology". It was here that he first used the term “criminalistics” for crime investigation based on scientific knowledge. Today, this work is also considered an important source for research into Rotwelsch , the “crook language” that was still frequently used at the time and which Gross dealt with in detail in his handbook. In addition to this manual, Groß published his “Criminalpsychologie” in 1898, where u. a. the requirements for creating a perpetrator profile have been dealt with. In the same year the journal “Archive for Criminal Anthropology and Criminology”, co-founded by Gross, was published, which is known to this day as a publication medium for criminological findings (Archive for Criminology). Hans Gross is also considered the "founder of scientific criminology"; his “Graz Criminological School” was widely recognized worldwide.

In 1894 the "Textbook for the Research Service of the Imperial and Royal Gendarmerie" appeared, in which Gross u. a. (for the first time) suggested using search dogs to investigate criminal offenses if necessary . In 1894 he was commissioned by the Ministry of Defense to organize a comparable course for gendarmerie officers as previously for examining magistrates. The so-called “crime scene case” presented by Hans Gross in the manual also caused a sensation. It contains all utensils for securing evidence, such as B. contained writing material, magnifying glass, measuring instruments, tweezers, pedometer, compass, crosses and candles, which should support the investigating officer in securing evidence on site and help any witnesses to verify their statements. It is said to have even contained sweets to get anxious children to cooperate.

On August 1, 1895, the opening of the crime museum took place in Graz , for whose custodian Hans Gross was appointed. In 1896 he tried to do his habilitation at the Law and Political Science Faculty of the University of Graz for criminal law with the restriction on forensic investigative science (criminalistics): The application was rejected by the ministry and also by the professors. Nevertheless, on August 1, 1898, Hans Gross - without habilitation - was offered a call to the Franz Joseph University in Czernowitz , on December 16, 1898 he was appointed full professor of criminal law and in 1900 dean .

From March 3, 1902, he taught at the University of Prague . There, too, Gross rose to dean. One of his students was Franz Kafka , who dealt with legal subjects in his work “ Das Schloss ” or “ In der Strafkolonie ”.

On July 20, 1905, he was appointed full professor for Austrian criminal law and criminal procedure law at the Karl-Franzens University in Graz. An appointment by Franz von Liszt to a new chair to be established at the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität in Berlin did not materialize due to unapproved funding.

On February 17, 1913, the Criminal Investigation Institute for the care of auxiliary sciences was opened at the Law and Political Science Faculty of the University of Graz and Hans Gross was appointed head of the institute.

Hans Gross and his wife Adele Gross, née Raymann (born March 11, 1854 in Retz; † June 20, 1942 in Graz) were the parents of the psychoanalyst Otto Gross (1877–1920). In November 1913, Hans Gross had his son Otto arrested and sent to an Austrian insane asylum. The basis for the action was a decision made by the kk district court Graz with the approval of the kk regional court to impose the board of trustees against Otto Gross for judicially raised “ madness ”. The father was appointed as curator , who then arranged for his son to be transferred to the state insane asylum in Opava in Silesia .


Street signs in Puntigam (Graz)


For the first time in 2009, the Brandenburg State Association of the Federation of German Criminal Investigators awarded a Hans Gross Prize for outstanding services to criminology. The first award winner was Erardo Cristoforo Rautenberg , Attorney General of the State of Brandenburg. The award ceremony also took place with greetings in the name of Sophie Templer-Kuh , the granddaughter of Hans Gross.


The author's name Hanns Gross is occasionally mentioned in the sources .

  • 1880: The decisions of the Imperial and Royal Austrian Supreme Court and Cassation Court on Section 199a of the Criminal Law of May 7, 1852 from the time v. Late 1850 to late 1878.
  • 1893: Handbook for examining magistrates as a system of criminalistics. New title: Handbuch der Kriminalistik. Science and Practice of Crime Prevention . Revision of Friedrich Geerds. Volume 1: Criminology as a science. - The technique of crime. - Forensic science . / Volume 2: Criminal Tactics. - The organization of the fight against crime. Licensed edition after J. Schweitzer 1977 a. 1978 by Pawlak, Herrsching 1987, ISBN 978-3-88199-264-0 .
    • English edition: Criminal Investigation. A practical handbook for magistrates, police officers, and lawyers . Translated by J. Adam and J. C. Adam. Madras, A. Krishnamachari, 1906.
  • 1894: Textbook for the investigation service of the kk gendarmerie .
  • 1898: Criminal Psychology . Leuschner & Lubensky, Graz. Reprinted by Müller, Saarbrücken 2007. - archive.org .
  • 1901: The rarity fraud . Good day, Berlin. Reprinted by Keip, Stockstadt am Main 1997.
  • 1901: Encyclopedia of Criminology . Vogel, Leipzig. - archive.org .
  • 1902: Collected criminalistic essays . F. C. W. Vogel, Leipzig. - archive.org .
  • 1909: Criminal activity and position of the doctor. Braumüller, Vienna.
  • 1918: Research into the facts of criminal acts. 4th edition. Schweitzer, Munich.


  • October 4, 2003 to February 9, 2004 in the Graz City Museum : The Father's Laws. Problematic identity claims. Hans and Otto Gross, Sigmund Freud and Franz Kafka (catalog published).
  • March 26, 2013 to July 14, 2013 in the Kleist Museum in Frankfurt an der Oder: Sherlock 's uncle. The traces of Dr. Large.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. On the day. Forced internment of a scholar in an asylum. In:  Prager Tagblatt , morning edition, No. 8/1914 (XXXIXth year), January 9, 1914, p. 2, column 2 above. (Online at ANNO ). Template: ANNO / Maintenance / ptb.
  2. Court and staff news. (...) Forced internment in the insane asylum. In:  Neues Wiener Journal , No. 7269/1914 (XXII. Volume), January 20, 1914, p. 7, center left. (Online at ANNO ). Template: ANNO / Maintenance / nwj.
  3. See catalog of the German National Library.