Helmut Nicolai

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Gottfried Alphons Karl Eduard Hans Ulrich Wilhelm Helmuth Nicolai (born September 8, 1895 in Charlottenburg ; † December 11, 1955 in Marburg ) was a German lawyer serving the Nazi regime .

Family, studies and civil service career

As the son of the Prussian major and well-known military writer Alphons Nicolai and his wife Maria Mannel, he attended high schools in Potsdam, Oppeln , Berlin and most recently in Elberfeld (1910–1914), where he also passed the Abitur.

At the First World War , he took part only to 1915, when he fell ill.

After studying political science and law in Berlin and Marburg from 1915 to 1919 he obtained in 1920 the doctorate to Dr. jur. with the topic The bonds of the stock corporations . Participation in the Kapp Putsch in March 1920 and one year of voluntary military service constitute a stopover for civil service.

His career as a government assessor began in Kassel from 1921 to 1924. He then worked in Wittenberg and Münster . Since he was active in the Viking League, he was disciplined and transferred to Opole. When he made contact with the NSDAP and they became known, he had to leave the civil service in May 1931.

Worked for the NSDAP

After becoming a member of the party, he took up a job with the NSDAP in Munich. This mediation came about through Gregor Strasser , who employed him in Department II of the Reich leadership of the NSDAP. Here he should provide the legal theoretical foundation for a “new state structure”. Through two publications in 1932 and 1933, The Racial Law and Foundations of the Coming Constitution , he presented himself as the leading legal theorist of the NSDAP. In cooperation with his deputy Ernst von Heydebrand and the Lasa as well as Achim Gercke , he drafted a “race separation law” in 1932, which anticipated the essential ideas of the later Nuremberg laws .

Basic theories of Nicolai were: The standard for justice in legislation and jurisdiction can be found in the Germanic, Nordic legal spirit; otherwise the central legal idea is missing. The Nordic breed has a special receptivity for certain legal views. It will be the task of the constitution to set up the National Socialist worldview, the völkisch thought, the Nordic legal spirit as the basic law for the construction of state life, as the basis of legal life and as a guideline for the whole of popular life as the central legal idea. The central legal idea is what, according to German law, Nordic worldview, is immutable in the stars as eternal law. The realization that the ethical legal idea, the central legal idea, is rooted in the folkish thought and is racially conditioned, has great practical importance. The fundamentally masculine character of a German state must be expressed in the fact that the man alone is entitled to direct public affairs. An exception can be made where unmarried women have done something special on their own in professions such as charity, as a teacher, as a gynecologist, as a writer or artist. The Nordic criminal law serves the genetic health selection concept. The public death penalties of the Germanic peoples have nothing to do with retaliation or similar punitive purposes.

In Berlin, Nicolai was elected to the Prussian state parliament in April 1932 . He then took over the position of district president in Magdeburg from June 14, 1933 to 1934. When there were differences of opinion with the Gauleiter Wilhelm Loeper about illegal attacks by the Gauleiter, he went from March 14, 1934 to 1935 as a ministerial director to the Reich Ministry of the Interior at Wilhelm Frick , where he was involved in the area of ​​legislative proposals for a new constitution.

In 1933 Nicolai was one of the founding members of the National Socialist Academy for German Law Hans Franks . He was also one of the founding members of the Academy's Legal Philosophy Committee , of which Hans Frank was also chairman.

Fall and end in the NSDAP

When he wanted to concretize his views on the relationship between party and state with their demarcation from one another in the ministry, as Frick understood it similarly, it came into conflict with circles of the NSDAP. Nicolai had written in the foreword of his writing about the future constitution that the party should be dissolved after fulfilling its tasks and that the law would come first in the state. The role of women should be determined in such a way that they should not have Germanic “imperial citizenship”. He also saw a staggered system of councils coming and new Reich governors who were to take a stronger position vis-à-vis Adolf Hitler . Nicolai opposed the concept of a unified state centralism.

With his statements Nicolai had brought himself under suspicion among the National Socialists of being a supporter of right- wing liberalism . At the head of his opponents was Goering , who threatened him with criminal proceedings for a moral offense if he did not give up his position.

At the beginning of 1935, Nicolai was accused of the offense under Section 175 , as were other unpopular officials that year (for example Achim Gercke and Herbert Mumm von Schwarzenstein ). He “confessed” to having “fully fulfilled” the facts in five cases and was expelled from all offices and from the NSDAP. He then worked as a business lawyer and real estate manager and served in the Wehrmacht from 1939 to 1940 and 1943 to 1945 .

Post-war phase

After several months as a Soviet prisoner of war, he began working as a tax advisor in Marburg in 1946. In the Soviet occupation zone , all of his writings, with the exception of Grundriß des Sparkassenwesens (1928), were placed on the list of literature to be segregated. As he was burdened by his Nazi past, he was banned from working as a tax advisor and writer for a period of three years in 1949. But this decision was reversed in 1950. In the following years, even in 1955, he had no reservations about professing his NS writings, for example in Who is who? in the 1955 edition.

Since 1937 he was married to Ilse Hoepke.


  • Outline of the savings bank system. A handbook and textbook , Grass, Barth and Comp., Breslau 1928
  • Upper Silesia in the struggle of peoples . Edited by the local group Opole of the Combat League for German Culture, Breslau 1930
  • The racial legal doctrine. Basics of a National Socialist legal philosophy , National Socialist Library, No. 39, Eher Verlag, Munich 1932
  • Race and Law, lecture, held at the German Juristentage of the federal nationalsoz. German lawyers on October 2, 1933 in Leipzig , Reimar Hobbing Verlag, Berlin 1933
  • Foundations of the coming constitution: On the constitutional structure of the Third Reich , Verlag R. Hobbing, Berlin 1933
  • The state in the National Socialist worldview , Schaeffer Verlag CF Hirschfeld, Leipzig 1933
  • The rebuilding of the Reich according to the Reich Reform Act of January 30, 1934 , Verlag C. Heymann, Berlin 1934
  • The roots of modern banking. Race and Banking , Verlag R. Hobbing Berlin 1934
  • National Socialism and Constitutional Law , Berlin 1935 (From the foreword: “In this article the author not only describes the principles of the National Socialist movement as they emerged during the construction of the National Socialist state up to now; he also knows from his experience the changes in the state forms and their content to interpret the people. He uncovered numerous connections of the greatest importance for the success of further state formation and directs the view of life in the German future, where the Third Reich will stand as a strong, pure harmony between people and state. ")
  • The family tree of Christ - A new way to the gospel and natural law , Marburg an der Lahn, Deutschritter Verlag 1950
  • Arolsen - Life picture of a German royal seat , CA Starke-Verlag, Glücksburg / Ostsee 1954
  • From the rule of law to a state of violence. State, authorities and civil servants in Waldeck 1814 - 1886 , special print from Volume 47 of the Waldeckische Geschichtsblätter, CA Starke-Verlag, Glücksburg / Ostsee 1955
  • The state directors and district administrators in Waldeck 1814–1868. In: Geschtsbll. for Waldeck. 48, 1956 (with obituary by H. Steinmetz)
  • Waldeck coat of arms. each edited by Wilhelm Hellwig and Ingeborg Moldenhauer


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. see Hessisches Staatsarchiv Marburg (HStAMR), Best. 915 No. 5794, p. 402 ( digitized version ).
  2. ^ Report on the school year 1914/1915, p. 16 ( online ).
  3. E. v. Heydebrand and the Lasa: Are general measures against the Jews possible in Germany without changing the Reich constitution by means of legislation? in: Deutsches Recht 1932, pp. 53–63 and pp. 96–105.
  4. Helmut Nicolai: Foundations of the coming constitution. About the constitutional structure of the Third Reich . 5th edition Berlin 1933, p. 17 f.
  5. Helmut Nicolai: Race and Law . 2nd edition Berlin 1934, p. 31 f.
  6. Helmut Nicolai: Foundations of the coming constitution. About the constitutional structure of the Third Reich . 5th edition Berlin 1933, p. 17 f.
  7. Helmut Nicolai: Foundations of the coming constitution. About the constitutional structure of the Third Reich . 5th edition Berlin 1933, p. 68 f.
  8. Helmut Nicolai: Race and Law . 2nd edition Berlin 1934, p. 31 f.
  9. ^ Yearbook of the Academy for German Law, 1st year 1933/34. Edited by Hans Frank. (Munich, Berlin, Leipzig: Schweitzer Verlag), p. 256
  10. ^ Victor Farías: Heidegger and National Socialism , S. Fischer, Frankfurt am M. 1989, pp. 277–280
  11. Bernd-Ulrich Hergemöller : Man for man. biographical lexicon . Suhrkamp, ​​Hamburg 2001, ISBN 3-518-39766-4 .
  12. http://www.polunbi.de/bibliothek/1946-nslit-n.html