Reinhard Höhn

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Reinhard Höhn (born July 29, 1904 in Graefenthal ; † May 14, 2000 in Bad Harzburg ) was a leading German ideologist during the National Socialist era and an administrative lawyer . Höhn created the Harzburg model in the post-war period .

Life until 1945

Memorial plaque on the house, Am Großen Wannsee 58, in Berlin-Wannsee

The son of an official lawyer was in 1922 a member of the German-Nationalists protection and Trutzbundes and studied from 1923 law . In 1929 Höhn's doctorate took place at the University of Jena with the work position of the criminal judge in the laws of the French revolutionary era .

Between 1923 and 1932 Höhn was a member of the Young German Order and a close collaborator of Artur Mahraun , about whom he published a book in 1929: Artur Mahraun, the guide of the nation .

In July 1933 Höhn joined the NSDAP (membership number 2.175.900) and in December of the same year the SS (membership number 36.229). From 1933 to 1935 he was the main department head in the SD main office. His direct superior was Reinhard Heydrich .

Höhn quickly made a career. As an assistant to Franz Wilhelm Jerusalem , he was significantly involved in the organization and implementation of a sociologist meeting in Jena in 1934 , at which Ferdinand Tönnies as president and Leopold von Wiese as managing director of the German Society for Sociology were disempowered in order to operate the " synchronization " of the sociologists' association .

Höhn completed his habilitation before October 1934 at the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg with the work The individualistic state concept and the legal state person in the law faculty, which was expanded under this title in 1935 by Carl Heymanns Verlag (Berlin). The foreword of the published monograph is dated "October 1934". In the foreword, Höhn only thanked Roger Diener by name , who had "provided him with valuable help, especially with investigations into natural law". The Rectorate of Heidelberg University had invited Höhn to the “public inaugural lecture” on May 12, 1934.

Together with other SS intellectuals such as Werner Best , Höhn ensured the end of Carl Schmitt's career in the Third Reich in 1936 . They threw Schmitt u. a. proposes to criminally neglect the “ völkisch thinking ” with its categories of blood, race and people in his mind .

From 1936 Höhn was a member of the National Socialist Academy for German Law and deputy chairman of the committee for police law, the committee chairman was Werner Best . In 1936 he tried to justify the Führer principle based on the philosophy of law , writing among other things: "The judge has no right of examination in relation to decisions by guides that are in the form of a law or regulation." In 1938 he presented an extensive treatise on the relationship between the military and the state in Vormärz . In 1939 Höhn became head of department in the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA). Between 1939 and 1945 he was director of the Institute for State Research at the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Berlin . In May 1942 he was appointed scientific director of the International Academy for Political and Administrative Sciences. From 1941 to 1944 he was in charge of the publication Reich - Volksordnung - Lebensraum. Journal for national constitution and administration with 6 episodes in LC Wittich Verlag Darmstadt, a geopolitical organ of the SS for higher cadres. The group of editors included four other top officials who also dealt with questions of securing power in the areas occupied by Germany. Two of these co-editors took part in the Wannsee Conference on January 20, 1942 for the final annihilation of European Jewry : the State Secretary in the Ministry of the Interior and SS-Obergruppenführer, Wilhelm Stuckart , with whom Höhn was a personal friend, and SS-Gruppenführer Gerhard Klopfer , State Secretary in the party chancellery . Further editors were Werner Best and Rudolf Lehmann , heads of the legal department at OKW. The authors of the paper were u. a. Friedrich Berber , Viktor Bruns , Theodor Maunz , Gustav Adolf Walz , Paul Ritterbusch , Werner Daitz and Heinrich Muth .

In 1942 Höhn was awarded the War Merit Cross 2nd Class without Swords.

In the hierarchy of the SS, Höhn was promoted to SS-Standartenführer in 1939 and to SS-Oberführer in 1944 .

The Mahraun student Höhn, who was capable of adapting to the point of opportunism , rejected the liberal constitutional state and democracy and looked for legal philosophical justifications for the “Volksgemeinschaft als Kindgemeinschaft des Volk” and the “Führer State”. Towards the end of the war, he also advocated harsh criminal law against non-Germans and, in 1944, took the view that the oath on Adolf Hitler would remain valid even after his death. He was one of the most prominent Nazi lawyers and political scientists and operated a particularly radical dissolution of the rule of law, even for National Socialist conditions.

Career after 1945

After the war , Höhn first went into hiding and worked as a naturopath . In 1956, Höhn founded the academy for business executives in Bad Harzburg .

In 1962, Höhn presented his closed management system, the Harzburg model , which determined corporate management in Germany in the following decades. The model was embedded in the Harzburger Bildungsverbund, the most famous part of which was the Academy for Business Executives .

After the war, Höhn seems to have adapted to the democratic constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany without having made a new fundamental declaration on the question of the oath of leadership. However, it is controversial to what extent he has actually given up his anti-democratic views.

Many of Höhn's writings were placed on the list of literature to be sorted out in the Soviet zone of occupation and in the German Democratic Republic .


One of Höhn's best-known students is Rolf H. Ruhleder , who was marketing director at the academy until 1989.

Publications (selection)

  • Artur Mahraun , the guide to the nation. His political path from his speeches and essays , Schleswig-Holsteinische Verlags-Anstalt, Rendsburg 1929.
  • The civil constitutional state and the new front. The intellectual-historical situation of a people's movement , Berlin 1929.
  • Political Science and the Young German State Proposal , Berlin 1929.
  • General law of obligations. Textbook , Berlin 1934.
  • The change in constitutional thinking , Hamburg 1934.
  • The essence of the community. Lecture given at the State Leader School of the German Labor Service , Berlin 1934.
  • The individualistic concept of the state and the legal state person , Berlin 1935
  • Legal community and national community , Hamburg 1935.
  • Otto von Gierke's doctrine of the state and our time, at the same time an examination of the legal system of the 19th century , Hamburg 1936.
  • with Theodor Maunz and Ernst Swoboda : Basic questions of legal opinion , Munich 1938.
  • Constitutional struggle and army oath. The struggle of the bourgeoisie for the army (1815–1850) , Leipzig 1938.
  • Ed., The foreign administrative law of the present. Nature, task and position of the administration in Italy, France, Great Britain and the USA , Berlin 1940.
  • France's democratic mission in Europe and its end , Darmstadt 1940.
  • with Wilhelm Stuckart and Herbert Schneider: Constitutional, administrative and economic laws of Norway. Collection of the most important laws, ordinances and decrees , Darmstadt 1942.
  • The English ideology of the popular uprising in Europe , Prague 1944.
  • Revolution, army, war image , Darmstadt 1944.
  • Scharnhorst's legacy , Bonn 1952.
  • The leadership with staffs in the economy , Bad Harzburg 1961.
  • with Gisela Böhme, leadership in trade , Bad Harzburg 1962.
  • The army as the nation's educational school. The end of an idea , Bad Harzburg 1963.
  • Representation in the company. A management and organizational problem in a modern company , Bad Harzburg 1964.
  • with Gisela Böhme, management training course in business , Bad Harzburg 1966.
  • The daily bread of management , Bad Harzburg 1978, ISBN 3-8020-0201-6 .
as editor
  • Empire, popular order, living space. Journal for national constitution and administration. 1941-1943.


  • Michael Grüttner : Biographical Lexicon on National Socialist Science Policy , Heidelberg 2004, p. 76.
  • Helmut Heiber : Walter Frank and his Reich Institute for the History of the New Germany . Deutsche Verlagsanstalt DVA, Stuttgart 1966, p. 880 ff.
  • Christian Ingrao : Hitler's Elite. The pioneers of the National Socialist mass murder. Translated by Enrico Heinemann & Ursel Schäfer. Propylaeen, Berlin 2012 ISBN 9783549074206 ; again BpB , Bonn 2012 ISBN 9783838902579 (first Paris 2010).
  • Otto Köhler : The ugly German: Reinhard Höhn. In: concrete 12/1981, p. 27.
  • Nikolas Lelle: “ Firm in leadership”. Reinhard Höhn and a (post-war) history of German work . In: Werner Konitzer, David Palme (ed.): »Work«, »People«, »Community«. Ethics and Ethics in National Socialism. Yearbook on the history and impact of the Holocaust. Frankfurt am Main 2016.
  • Alexander O. Müller: Reinhard Höhn. A life between continuity and a new beginning. be.bra Wissenschaft verlag, Berlin 2019, ISBN 978-3-95410-237-2 .
  • Bernd Rüthers : Reinhard Höhn, Carl Schmitt and others - stories and legends from the Nazi era . In: NJW 2000, pp. 2866-2871.
  • Andreas Schwegel: The police concept in the Nazi state. Police law, legal journalism and judiciary 1931–1944 , Tübingen 2005 (= contributions to the legal history of the 20th century , 48), ISBN 3-16-148762-1 (primarily examines Höhn's role in Nazi law).
  • Michael Wildt : The Reinhard Höhn case. From the Reich Security Main Office to the Harzburg Academy . In: Alexander Gallus, Axel Schildt (Ed.): Looking back into the future. Political public sphere and intellectual positions in Germany around 1950 and around 1930 , Göttingen 2011 (= Hamburg contributions to social and contemporary history , 48), pp. 254–271.

Web links

Commons : Reinhard Höhn  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Reinhard Höhn: The individualistic concept of the state and the legal state person , Berlin: Carl Heymanns Verlag 1935, p. IX.
  2. ^ "Invitation to the public inaugural lecture, which Dr. Reinhard Höhn private lecturer for general political theory and constitutional law at the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität zu Heidelberg on Saturday, May 12, 1934, at noon, in lecture hall B of the main university building ”, SWB-PPN: 476724589
  3. See on this with reference to further literature Ulrich Herbert : Best. Biographische Studien über Radikalismus, Weltanschauung und Vernunft. 1903-1989. Bonn 1996, p. 274, p. 601, note 73, ISBN 3-8012-5030-X .
  4. Ulrich Herbert : Best. Biographical studies on radicalism, world view and reason 1903-1989. Dietz, Bonn 1996, p. 177, ISBN 3-8012-5019-9 .
  5. ^ Quotation from Ernst Klee: Das Personenlexikon zum Third Reich , Fischer Taschenbuch 2005, p. 261.
  6. Ewald Grothe : Between history and law. German constitutional historiography 1900–1970 (= Ordnungssysteme. Vol. 16). Oldenbourg, Munich 2005 (also: Wuppertal, Univ., Habil.-Schr., 2003), ISBN 3-486-57784-0 , pp. 247-251.
  7. ^ Ernst Klee : The dictionary of persons on the Third Reich. Who was what before and after 1945 . Fischer TB, 2nd act. Frankfurt 2005, p. 261.
  8. a b Anna-Maria von Lösch: The naked spirit: The law faculty of the Berlin University in the upheaval of 1933 , Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 1999, p. 322.