Otto Lenz

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Otto Lenz (1951)

Otto Lenz (born July 6, 1903 in Wetzlar ; † May 2, 1957 in Naples ) was a German lawyer and politician ( CDU ). He was head of the Federal Chancellery from 1951 to 1953 and a member of the German Bundestag from 1953 until his death .

Life and work

Lenz studied law at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg and Philipps-Universität Marburg . In Freiburg he became a member of the Catholic student associations KDSt.V. Arminia Freiburg im Breisgau and VKDSt. Rhenania Marburg, both in CV . There he held the senior position in the winter semester of 1921/22 and in the summer semester of 1922. In 1925 he was at the University of Marburg with the dissertation Liability for genus debt in § 279 BGB doctorate . In 1928 he joined the Center Party .

Career in the judicial service

Otto Lenz found his first job in Berlin in 1928 as an assessor in the civil law department of the Prussian Ministry of Justice. From 1929 to 1933 he was head of the ministry's press office. From July 1932 to March 1933 he was also the personal advisor to Heinrich Hölscher , who as Reich Commissioner headed the Ministry of Justice until he was deposed by the National Socialists. Otto Lenz was then transferred to the commercial law department. Despite the protests of the Nazi legal guardian association , he was promoted to regional court director in 1934.

When he refused to be transferred to a court in 1938 because he did not want to serve as a judge for the Nazi state, he was dismissed from office. Thereupon he settled as a lawyer in Berlin and represented a. a. Jewish clients whose property had been confiscated or expropriated. The law firm founded by Lenz still exists today. During the Second World War he was legal advisor to the Reich Commissioner at the Oberprisenhof .

Support of the resistance against the Nazi dictatorship

Through the “ Thursday Society ”, a group of former center politicians, Catholic officials and journalists, Lenz came into contact with resistance groups , among others. a. - via Josef Wirmer - to Carl Goerdeler . Lenz hid Ernst von Harnack in his Berlin apartment . He was executed on March 5, 1945. He successfully defended Josef Müller , known as "Ochsensepp", against charges of high treason before the Imperial Court Martial . After the failed assassination attempt on July 20, 1944 , Lenz was arrested in October 1944 and indicted in the People's Court in January 1945 . Because he was planned in the shadow cabinet Beck / Goerdeler in the event of a successful coup as State Secretary in the Reich Chancellery or as Minister of Transport. Lenz was sentenced to four years in prison by the People's Court. On April 28, 1945 he was liberated by Soviet soldiers.

Public offices after 1945

Otto Lenz was a co-founder of the CDU in Berlin in 1945. At the end of the 1940s he moved to Bad Godesberg .

From 1951 to 1953, Lenz was State Secretary and Head of the Federal Chancellery . In this position he endeavored to establish effective public relations work for the federal government. From 1951 onwards, he was instrumental in building up the working group for democratic circles . On his initiative, the federal government founded the company Mobilwerbung in cooperation with the Federation of German Industries . Both organizations jointly carried out propaganda for the federal government (including for rearmament and NATO accession) as well as campaigning for the CDU before the 1953 federal election . Lenz played a key role in founding the German Atlantic Society in 1956 , which also supported the German government's defense policy with propaganda. Until his death he was their first president.

In 1953, his plans to create and manage an "information ministry" modeled on the earlier propaganda ministry (which would also have had responsibility for the secret service led by Reinhard Gehlen ) failed because of violent protests in the press and the opposition of the Allied High Commissioners .

Even after his work as State Secretary he ended, he continued to work in the field of public relations. Among other things, he founded the magazine Die Politische Demokratie together with Erich Peter Neumann in 1956 .

The news magazine Der Spiegel reported in August 1955 that Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer wanted to appoint Lenz to succeed Theodor Blank as Federal Minister of Defense . This did not happen, however, and Franz Josef Strauss was given this office instead .


Lenz was a member of the German Bundestag from 1953 until his death . He represented the constituency of Ahrweiler in parliament and was a member of the Bundestag Defense Committee . In 1955 he became a member of the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe . He also worked as a lawyer.


Otto Lenz died on May 2, 1957 in a suburban hospital in Naples, according to a death certificate of Malaria Perniciosa - Uremia . The fact that he had not gone to a better hospital despite his serious illness and that he had previously lived anonymously in a guesthouse on Ischia sparked speculation in the press that suggested possible poisoning. Otto Lenz's involvement in the HS-30 scandal was only known long after his death . As a lawyer, he represented the German subsidiary of the Hispano-Suiza company , which 85 days before Lenz's death had been awarded the contract to supply the HS 30 armored personnel carriers . As a member of the Defense Committee, Lenz was involved in this decision. Before the committee of inquiry to clear up the HS-30 scandal, a witness testified that Lenz had accepted a large amount of money for this. However, these allegations have never been proven.

Although Lenz was at times one of Konrad Adenauer's most important employees, he is not mentioned in his four-volume memoirs.

Lenz's son Carl Otto was later (1965–1984) also a member of the German Bundestag and advocate general at the European Court of Justice (1984–1997).


  • The liability for debts of the class in § 279 BGB . Dissertation, Marburg 1925.
  • Commercial Laws. HGB, AktG, GmbHG, GenG, HRV, WechsG, ScheckG, BinnenschG, GüterfernverkehrsG with the most important supplementary laws and regulations as well as the most important provisions from the other goods traffic laws including the introductory regulations for the new Reich territories . Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1939.
  • Klaus Gotto (arr.): In the center of power. State Secretary Lenz's diary, 1951–1953 . Droste, Düsseldorf 1989. ISBN 3-7700-0763-8 .


  • Arnulf Baring : Foreign Policy in Adenauer's Chancellor Democracy . Oldenbourg, Munich 1969.
  • Günter letter : committed democrat and talented communicator. Otto Lenz (1903 to 1957) on his 100th birthday. In: The political opinion, No. 404 (July 2003), pp. 63–71.
  • Bernt Engelmann : HS 30 infantry fighting vehicle, Starfighter F-104G, or how to destroy our state . 1967.
  • Klaus Gotto:  Lenz, Otto. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 14, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1985, ISBN 3-428-00195-8 , p. 233 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Johannes Hoffmann: Adenauer: "Caution and no indiscretions!" On the information policy and public relations work of the Federal Government 1949 - 1955 . Shaker, Aachen 1995. ISBN 3-8265-0826-2 .
  • Hans Edgar Jahn : At Adenauer's side. His advisor remembers . Langen Müller, Munich 1987. ISBN 3-7844-2168-7 . In it the chapter: Meeting with the State Secretary in the Federal Chancellery Dr. Otto Lenz . Pp. 71-76.
  • Society for Student History and Student Customs V. Munich (ed.): Resistance and persecution in CV, pp. 131-133 1st edition, Munich 1983, ISBN 3-922485-01-4 .


  • Jean-Michel Meurice: Black Coffers . Documentary, ARTE France, Maha and Anthracite. France 2008, 70 '

Individual evidence

  1. a b Winfried Becker u. a .: Lexicon of Christian Democracy in Germany. Schöningh, Paderborn 2002. ISBN 3-506-70779-5 . P. 311 f.
  2. ^ A b Günter letter: Dedicated democrat and talented communicator. Otto Lenz (1903 to 1957) on his 100th birthday. In: The political opinion. No. 404 (July 2003), pp. 63-71, here p. 64.
  3. ^ A b Günter letter: Dedicated democrat and talented communicator. Otto Lenz (1903 to 1957) on his 100th birthday. In: The political opinion. No. 404 (July 2003), pp. 63-71, here p. 65.
  4. History - Heidemann & Dr. Nast. Notaries and lawyers Heidemann & Dr. Nast, accessed June 2, 2020 .
  5. ^ Lenz (Godesberg), Otto, Dr. In: Martin Schumacher (Ed.): MdB - The People's Representation 1946–1972. - [Laade to Lux] (=  KGParl online publications ). Commission for the History of Parliamentarism and Political Parties e. V., Berlin 2006, ISBN 978-3-00-020703-7 , pp. 735–736 , urn : nbn: de: 101: 1-2014070812574 ( [PDF; 308 kB ; accessed on June 19, 2017]).
  6. Hans Edgar Jahn : On Adenauer's side. His advisor remembers . Langen Müller, Munich 1987. pp. 71-106, 148.
  7. Volker Ilgen: "Vigilance is the price of freedom". How the Federal Government introduced NATO to its citizens in 1959 . In: COMPARATIV , volume 3/1994, pp. 69-95.
  8. Michael Kunczik , Astrid Zipfel: On the development of state public relations in Germany . In: Stephan Becker-Sonnenschein, Manfred Schwarzmeier: From simple being to beautiful appearance? Communication requirements in the area of ​​tension between public relations and politics . Westdeutscher Verlag, Wiesbaden 2002. ISBN 3-531-13714-X . Pp. 13–39, here p. 23.
  9. ^ Arnulf Baring: Foreign Policy in Adenauer's Chancellor Democracy. Bonn's contribution to the European defense community . Oldenbourg, Munich 1969. p. 10.
  10. ^ The Uber Ministry . In: Der Spiegel . No. 35 , 1953, pp. 5 ( online ). It started out so innocently . In: Der Spiegel . No.
     39 , 1953, pp. 5 f . ( online ). To the chancellor's ear . In: Der Spiegel . No.
     40 , 1953, pp. 8 ( online ).
  11. ^ Defense Minister . In: Der Spiegel . No. 36 , 1955, pp. 7 ( online ).
  12. All together . In: Der Spiegel . No. 27 , 1969 ( online ).
  13. cf. Engelmann 1967, pp. 20, 31, 47-61, 74f, 86f, 92, 98, 100-104.
  14. HS 30: The Unfinished . In: Der Spiegel . No. 47 , 1967, p. 60-82 ( Online - Nov. 13, 1967 , cover story).

Web links