Heinrich Hanover

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Heinrich Hanover (1999)

Heinrich Hannover (born October 31, 1925 in Anklam , Western Pomerania ) is a German lawyer and well-known criminal defense attorney . Hanover also wrote both non-fiction and children's books.


The son of a doctor, who grew up in the small town of Anklam in northern Germany in what is now Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, registered in 1942 as a 17-year-old like almost all of his classmates as a recruit for the Wehrmacht; Hanover, who wanted to become a forester, signed up for Hermann Göring's elite division . This was followed by front deployments in Italy in 1944 ( Nettunobrückenkopf ) and in 1945 in Silesia and Saxony. In one of these missions, Hanover survived a shrapnel wound close to his spine. When he returned to Anklam a few months after the end of the war, his parents were dead. Through his war experiences Hanover became a pacifist and anti-militarist .

Released from a short American prisoner-of-war camp in Kassel, Heinrich Hannover first tried to realize his original career aspiration, a higher forest career. As a former forest candidate in Pomerania, however, he was not taken on in Hesse, although he had already worked as a forest worker.

In a course for combatants, he caught up with his Abitur and then studied law at the University of Göttingen . He financed his studies as a working student. After the first state examination , which he passed at the Higher Regional Court in Celle in 1950 , he completed his legal clerkship in Bremen . After the second state examination, he was there in October 1954 as a lawyer admitted.

Many of his professors and numerous judges and public prosecutors, whom he had met during his studies and in legal practice, accused Hanover of having pursued careers that began uninterrupted under National Socialism and of remaining true to their convictions.

Hanover is the author of numerous non-fiction and children's books, some of which have also been recorded as audio books, recorded by Hanover itself, as well as by children's speakers. He retired as a lawyer in 1995 to work mainly as a writer from then on. Among other things, he created his memoirs The Republic in front of the court 1954-1995 . He was co-editor of the journal Demokratie und Recht (DuR), which was published by Pahl-Rugenstein Verlag in Cologne until 1989.

Hannover was married to Elisabeth Hannover-Drück (died 2009) and has six children. The youngest died of leukemia in 1969 at the age of seven. His children include the lawyer, television presenter and author Irmela Hannover and the psychologist and professor Bettina Hannover . Heinrich Hannover lives today in Worpswede near Bremen. Hannover's successor law firms are the family law firm Töbelmann, Hannover & Partner and the criminal law firm Hannover & Partner (both based in Bremen).

Criminal trials

Political process

The compulsory defense of a communist assigned to him at the beginning of his practice in the anti-communist climate of opinion of the early Federal Republic was overall formative for his further work as a lawyer in proceedings for political crimes . Hanover represented the rights of minorities who invoked the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression and other basic rights. As an opponent of West German rearmament , he was a member of the Association of Conscientious Objectors and was part of its board for a while. He was one of the best known defenders of conscientious objectors, including the Jehovah's Witnesses , and was an attorney in many political criminal cases in connection with emergency legislation , American warfare in Vietnam, and collaboration with foreign dictators (known as the student movement or extra-parliamentary opposition ) in the 1960s. Hannover defended several of those accused of involvement in terrorist acts of violence in the 1970s and advocated a change in Ulrike Meinhof's prison conditions . Hanover refused to represent Meinhof in their Stammheim proceedings because of differences in questions of political violence. Hanover and his family were confronted with a press campaign because of his work as a lawyer for terrorists and threatened anonymously with murder. In the 1990s he defended members of the GRÜNEN board of directors who had called for conscientious objection and desertion in the Gulf War. After German reunification, he also represented citizens of the former GDR who were accused of treason or involvement in election fraud.

Hannover reached in the 1980s for the daughter of the murdered KPD chairman Ernst Thalmann as co-plaintiff by a Klageerzwingungsverfahren before the Higher Regional Court of a charge of aid to the commanded by Hitler assassination Thalmann against the former SS officer Wolfgang Otto . He was sentenced to imprisonment by the Krefeld Regional Court, but the judgment by the Federal Court of Justice was overturned. The renewed trial before the Düsseldorf Regional Court then led to an acquittal.

In 1987 Hanover defended one of the Hamburg judges who had protested against the stationing of American nuclear missiles in Mutlangen by sitting in front of the depot, which at that time was still being prosecuted as coercion of American soldiers. Representing conscientious objectors before examination chambers and administrative courts was also a focus of his legal practice. Jehovah's Witnesses, who because of their religious convictions not only refused military service with weapons, but also alternative military service , were represented by him in criminal proceedings.

Hanover's clients also included Peter Brückner , Daniel Cohn-Bendit , Bolko Hoffmann , Lorenz Knorr , Helmut Kramer , Hans Modrow , Wolf Dieter Reinhard, Otto Schily , Günter Wallraff , Gert Postel , Isang Yun and Peter-Paul Zahl ; but above all a large number of less prominent accused. In his memoirs (The Republic in front of the court 1954–1995) Hannover writes: “I have become the advocate for the common people, the politically or religiously ostracized minorities, the generation that rebelled against the capitalist system and new interference in war and genocide.”

"Advocate of the common people"

Hanover also acted as defense counsel in criminal proceedings without political relevance. In the 1970s, the case of construction worker Otto Becker, who was unjustly accused of murdering 17-year-old Carmen Kampa (Stern dated November 7, 1974: "The witness drove past on the train"), caused a stir in the 1970s . The proceedings in which Becker was initially convicted ended after a successful appeal in the second main hearing with acquittal, after the defense attorney had succeeded in locating a special file previously withheld by the criminal police and introducing it into the proceedings. Hanover thereby drew attention to another man, who from now on was strongly suspected of the crime. It was only when the case was investigated in 2011 that it was proven that this suspect was also innocent and that the crime was committed by a third man.


On behalf of Rosalinda von Ossietzky, the daughter of the publisher of the Weltbühne Carl von Ossietzky , Heinrich Hannover and other colleagues carried out the retrial against a state treason ruling by the Reich Court from 1931, which was unsuccessful.

Court of honor proceedings

Between 1978 and 1984 Hanover had to face two honorary court proceedings in which it was accused of having made use of the right of legal freedom of speech in a manner contrary to professional standards. The lawyer and later Federal Minister of the Interior Otto Schily and Ulrich K. Preuss defended him against these various allegations, which were then brought together in one proceeding .

In order to be immune from false and politically motivated accusations in honorary court proceedings by the Bar Association , Hanover had numerous of its own pleadings in political proceedings in court recorded on tapes, which are now archived at the German Broadcasting Archive in Frankfurt am Main and partly on CD - as an attachment to his book Speeches in court  - are available.

honors and awards

Works (selection)


  • Political defamation of the opposition in the free democratic constitutional state . Publishing plans, Dortmund-Barop 1962.
  • Drawer texts . Introduced by Heinrich Hannover. New Critique Verlag / Voltaire Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1966.
  • with Elisabeth Hannover-Drück: Political Justice 1918–1933 . Fischer paperback, Frankfurt am Main 1966.
  • with Elisabeth Hannover-Drück: The murder of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht. Documentation of a political crime . Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1967.
  • with Günter Wallraff : The uncanny republic: Political persecution in the Federal Republic. VSA-Verlag, Hamburg 1982.
  • Terrorist trials. Experience and knowledge of a criminal defense lawyer . VSA-Verlag, Hamburg 1991, ISBN 3-87975-575-2 .
  • The Republic in court 1954–1975. Memories of an uncomfortable lawyer . Construction Verlag, Berlin 1998, ISBN 3-351-02480-0 .
  • The Republic in Court 1975–1995. Memories of an uncomfortable lawyer . Construction Verlag, Berlin 1999, ISBN 3-351-02481-9 .
  • The Republic in Court 1954-1995. Memories of an uncomfortable lawyer. Construction Verlag, Berlin, 2005, ISBN 978-3-7466-7053-9 .
  • Speeches in court. Pleading in text and tone . PapyRossa Verlag, Cologne 2010, ISBN 978-3-89438-438-8 ; review
  • The Republic in court 1954–1974. Memories of an uncomfortable lawyer . Prospero Verlag, Münster / Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-941688-34-6 .
  • The Republic in Court 1975–1995. Memories of an uncomfortable lawyer . Prospero Verlag, Münster / Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3-941688-41-4 .
  • Stolen youth. In: rise. Yearbook for Thinking - Poetry - Music . Volume 11, Stuttgart 2014, ISBN 978-3-17-025372-8 , pp. 63-77.
  • The Republic in Court 1954-1995. Memories of an uncomfortable lawyer. Structure of the Taschenbuch-Verlag, Berlin 2017, ISBN 978-3-7466-3436-4 .
  • with Elisabeth Hannover-Drück: Political Justice 1918-1933. Metropol Verlag, Berlin 2019, ISBN 978-3-86331-474-3 .

Children's literature:

  • The pear thieves from Lake Constance . Fun and play stories. March, Frankfurt 1970.
  • The forgetful cowboy . Rowohlt, Reinbek 1980.
  • Schreivogel's Turkish Adventure . VSA-Verlag, Hamburg 1981.
  • The moon in the big top and other reading stories . Rowohlt, Reinbek 1985.
  • The Schnupfenmühle . Diesterweg, Frankfurt am Main / Berlin / Munich, Sauerlander, Aarau / Frankfurt am Main / Salzburg 1985.
  • The flying circus . Rowohlt, Reinbek 1986.
  • The sinking of the Vineta or the violin from the seabed . Rowohlt, Reinbek 1987.
  • When the clown got the flu . New stories and poems. 1995.
  • The tired policeman . Reading stories from 4. Rowohlt TB-V., Reinbek 1997 (orig .: März-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1972).
  • The unfaithful mole. Illustrations by Manfred Bofinger . Construction Verlag, Berlin 2000, ISBN 3-351-04008-3 .
  • The horse Huppdiwupp and other funny stories . Rowohlt TB-Verlag, Reinbek 2002, ISBN 3-499-21200-5 .
  • What the magic forest tells . Gerstenberg Verlag, Hildesheim 2004, ISBN 3-8067-5068-8 .
  • Christmas in the magic forest . Gerstenberg Verlag, Hildesheim 2006, ISBN 3-8067-5113-7 .
  • A great zoo . ABC poems. FW Bernstein (illustrator). Gerstenberg Verlag, Hildesheim 2008.
  • Dat Pierd Huppdiwupp . Edition Temmen, Bremen, 2010.
  • As de Clown de Gripp har . Edition Temmen, Bremen, 2011.
  • Those are nice stories! Monsenstein and Vannerdat, Münster 2012, ISBN 978-3-942153-11-9 .


  • The pear thieves from Lake Constance. Fun and play stories . MC. Jumbo Neue Medien & Verlag, Hamburg 1993, ISBN 3-89592-286-2 .
  • The flying circus. Fantastic stories from the ring with music . MC 1-4. Jumbo Neue Medien & Verlag, Hamburg 1993/1994.
  • When the clown got the flu. New stories and poems . MC. Jumbo Neue Medien & Verlag, Hamburg 1993, ISBN 3-89592-280-3 .
  • Rabbit dance. Enjoyable stories and poems . MC. Jumbo Neue Medien & Verlag, Hamburg 1995, ISBN 3-89592-047-9 .
  • Dat Pierd Huppdiwupp. Stories in Low German . CD. Jumbo Neue Medien & Verlag, Hamburg 2011, ISBN 978-3-8337-2743-6 .
  • The flying circus and other stories . CD. Jumbo Neue Medien & Verlag, Hamburg 2011, ISBN 978-3-8337-2746-7 .

Literature (selection)

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f g h Inken Steen: Talk time. Heinrich Hannover: Lawyer and children's book author . ( Memento from February 11, 2013 in the web archive archive.today ) Interview. DRadio Wissen, February 26, 2012, 3:05 p.m.
  2. Curriculum vitae among speakers who unfortunately canceled ( memento of July 18, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  3. ^ Töbelmann, Hanover and Partners
  4. hannover und partner ( Memento from September 28, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  5. ^ The Federal Congress 1968 , Civil, Volume 13, No. 6, June 1968, p. 63
  6. Tüddelband 2019 - Harbor Front Literature Festival. Retrieved October 1, 2019 .