Josef Altstötter

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Josef Altstötter at the Nuremberg Trials

Josef Altstötter (born January 4, 1892 in Griesbach , † November 13, 1979 in Nuremberg ) was a German lawyer and ministerial director in the Reich Ministry of Justice .

Early life

After attending elementary school and high school in Landshut , Altstötter studied law in Munich and Erlangen from 1911 , interrupted by his participation in the First World War , where he was awarded the Iron Cross 1st and 2nd grades.


Altstötter completed his studies in Munich in 1920 and began working as a court assessor in the Bavarian Ministry of Justice in 1921 .

From 1927 he worked in the Reich Ministry of Justice, moved to the Reich Court in Leipzig in 1933 and finally in 1936 to the Reich Labor Court . From 1939 to 1942 he was in the Wehrmacht .

From January 1, 1943 he was again active in the Reich Ministry of Justice (Department VI: Civil Law and Administration of Justice ), where he was appointed Reich Ministerial Director in May 1943 and stayed until the end of the war . Part of Altstötter's portfolio also included race legislation. His office also enforced the change in inheritance and family law, so that after the death of Jews, their property was not transferred to their children but (by law) to the Reich - that is, it was confiscated .

Member of the NSDAP and the SS

Before the takeover of the Nazis Altstötter member was the steel helmet . When this was restructured into a Nazi organization, Altstötter became a member of the SA (SA number: Member 3 I). In September 1938 he also joined the NSDAP ( membership number 5,823,836).

Josef Altstötter was friends with high-ranking SS leaders, including Heinrich Himmler , Ernst Kaltenbrunner and Gottlob Berger . On May 15, 1937 Altstötter changed from the SA to the SS (SS-No. 289.254) and in 1944 he achieved the rank of SS-Oberführer .

post war period

Josef Altstötter was indicted in the Nuremberg legal process in 1947 . The prosecution charged him with involvement in war crimes and crimes against humanity, among other things . Specifically, this not only meant participation in the race laws , but also that Altstötter was significantly involved in Adolf Hitler's " Night and Fog Decree ".

However, the evidence was only enough to convict him of belonging to the SS. Altstötter was sentenced to five years in prison on December 4, 1947, but was released from Landsberg War Crimes Prison after 2½ years in 1950 .

Altstötter was soon able to gain a foothold as a lawyer in Nuremberg. From 1950 to 1966 he pursued the profession until he retired and died in Nuremberg at the age of 87.


  • Co-editor of the commentary on the German Civil Code (" Achilles-Greiff ") from the 14th to the 18th edition, Berlin 1937 to 1944, founded by Alexander Achilles and Joachim Greiff
  • Bankruptcy regulations along with the Introductory Act, the Settlement Regulations, the Avoidance Act and numerous other subsidiary laws. Text edition with references and subject index , Munich 1930
  • The bailiff system in Bavaria. Collection of rules with table of contents, subject index and an introduction to the simplest terms of the law of exchange , Munich 1928
  • Law on the settlement to avoid bankruptcy (settlement regulation) of July 5, 1927. Text edition with introduction, notes and index , Munich 1927