Hermann Staub

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Hermann Staub: portrait in obituary 1904

Hermann Staub (born March 21, 1856 as Samuel Staub in Nicolai , Pleß district , † September 2, 1904 in Berlin ) was a German lawyer and legal journalist. He was the founder of the teachings of positive breach of contract as well as of the sham merchant .


Dust comes from petty bourgeois backgrounds in Upper Silesia . After high school he studied four semesters law in Wroclaw , joined from October 1876 to May 1877 at the Friedrich-Wilhelms-University of Berlin , then graduated in Wroclaw, and was from November 1877 trainee at the Court of Appeal Ratibor . In 1882 he passed the assessor exam with the grade “good” and then settled as a lawyer in Berlin.

Right from the start of his studies, he stopped using his original first name Samuel and changed his name to Hermann, a measure that was not unusual at the time to reduce anti-Semitic discrimination. However, he refused to convert from the Jewish to the Christian faith and thus missed his chance to be appointed professor at Berlin University.

Staub died in 1904 of cancer. His grave is in the Jewish cemetery in Berlin-Weißensee .


In 1893, Staub published a commentary on the Commercial Code at the publishing house JJ Heines Berlin , which quickly gained great importance in legal practice. In it he justified the method of presenting the individual paragraphs in a systematized form instead of annotating them word for word as was customary until then. According to the tradition of his brother-in-law Arthur Schindler, Staub himself traced this technique back to the Jewish way of presenting Talmudic teachings , which is why the approach is also known as the “Talmudic method”. Contemporaries like Paul Laband and Max Hachenburg rated Staub's style of commentary as groundbreaking for later works and unsurpassed in execution.

By 1933, Staub's HGB commentary - now published by Guttentag and de Gruyter - had fourteen editions. Under the National Socialist rule , the influence of Jewish legal scholars was fought, which is why the publisher endeavored to present the commentary as a “work of a German spirit” and no longer associate it with the name Staub. The new edition appeared about 1940 - 1943 in a new count and " edited by members of the Supreme Court ". The foreword of the second edition, published 1950 - 1963, ties in with Staub's achievements. Since the 4th edition in 1982 the work has been published again under his name as a major commentary by Verlag Walter de Gruyter .

In addition to the HGB comment, Staub also justified a comment on the GmbH Act , which first appeared in 1903 and was continued by Max Hachenburg after his death .

From January 1896, Staub was a co-founder and co-editor of the German Law Gazette .

In the commemorative publication for the German Jurists' Day in 1902, Staub published an article on “The positive breaches of contract and their legal consequences” , thereby addressing loopholes in the German Civil Code . He thus coined the legal term and the legal figure of positive breach of contract . After extensive controversy, the term and figure found their way into jurisprudence. During the reform of the law of obligations in 2002, the positive breach of contract was finally also taken into account as a breach of duty .

Dust was also the founder of the doctrine of the bogus merchant , which is now recognized under customary law.


  • Commentary on the Commercial Code. 2 volumes. 6th and 7th edition. Heines, Berlin 1900 (digitized edition: urn : nbn: de: s2w-7634 ).
  • Commentary on the Law on Limited Liability Companies. Guttentag, Berlin 1903 (digitized edition: urn : nbn: de: s2w-7616 ).


  • Helmut Heinrichs : Hermann Staub (1856–1904). Commentator on commercial law and discoverer of positive breach of contract. In: Helmut Heinrichs, Harald Franzki , Klaus Schmalz , Michael Stolleis (eds.): German lawyers of Jewish origin. Beck, Munich 1993, ISBN 3-406-36960-X , pp. 385-402 (biographically partly outdated).
  • Thomas Henne, Rainer Schröder, Jan Thiessen (eds.): Lawyer - Commentator - “Discoverer”. Festschrift for Hermann Staub on his 150th birthday on March 21, 2006. De Gruyter, Berlin 2006, ISBN 978-3-89949-343-6 ( limited preview in Google book search).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. David Kästle-Lamparter: World of Comments: Structure, Function and Status of Legal Commentaries in the Past and Present . Mohr Siebeck, 2016, ISBN 978-3-16-154142-1 , p. 226–228 ( google.de [accessed February 27, 2019]).
  2. Angelika Königseder: Walter de Gruyter: A science publisher in National Socialism . Mohr Siebeck, 2016, ISBN 978-3-16-154393-7 , pp. 191–193 ( google.de [accessed February 27, 2019]).
  3. Staub: Commentary on the Commercial Code, Volume 1, 6th edition, Berlin 1900, excursus on § 5, note 1.