Walter Erman

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Walter Alexander Erman (born September 19, 1904 in Münster ; † November 6, 1982 in Havixbeck ) was a German legal scholar . He became widely known for the personal commentary on the Civil Code that bears his name .


Walter Erman was born on September 19, 1904 in Münster. He came from a family of prominent academics. His father was the German lawyer and university professor Heinrich Erman , his grandfather the physicist and geologist Georg Adolf Erman and his great-grandfather the physicist Paul Erman and the astronomer Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel . His uncle was the Egyptologist Adolf Erman .

Erman attended the Schiller Gymnasium in Münster and began studying law and economics at the University of Münster in 1922 . He also studied in Munich and Berlin and graduated with honors from the Hamm Higher Regional Court with the first state examination (1925) and the second state examination (1929) in Münster . Previously, he was awarded a doctorate by the honorary professor Hallermann with a thesis on "Scientific property (question of protection against discovery based on patent and copyright law)". jur. PhD. He received the grade summa cum laude. After graduating, he entered the judicial service. From 1930 to 1945 he was a district judge in Münster. His promotion to the higher regional judge was rejected in 1932/33 and 1943 despite excellent performance and personal recommendations, because he was not "pure-bred" in the sense of Nazi ideology because of the Jewish wife of his great-grandfather Paul Erman .

In the winter and summer semesters of 1926 and 1927 he was a faculty assistant at the University of Münster. From the winter semester 1930/31 he received a paid teaching position for a revision course in the field of private law , which was expanded to include commercial law in the summer semester of 1933 and to civil procedure law in the summer semester of 1934 . In the summer semester of 1935 he applied for a free assistant position, which was forbidden to him by the National Socialist German Lecturer Association , as had his habilitation in 1933 , although he had already completed his habilitation thesis (title: "On Liability for Behavior in Contract Negotiations") would have. It cannot be conclusively clarified whether he was denied his habilitation for personal or political-racist reasons. In 1936 he himself applied to resign from his teaching position , which he was finally granted. From 1940 he served as a soldier on the Eastern Front .

After the collapse of the Third Reich, Erman was able to qualify as Professor of Law at the University of Münster in 1946. Just one year later, Erman moved to Cologne to the Supreme Court for the British Military Zone, and later as Senate President to the Higher Regional Court. He turned down an offer to become a judge at the Federal Court of Justice in order to continue teaching. From 1956 to 1958 he was President of the State Judicial Examination Office of North Rhine-Westphalia . In 1958 he was appointed to the chair for civil law and commercial law at the University of Cologne . In 1982 Erman died in Havixbeck .

Publications (selection)

  • Scientific property (= work on commercial, industrial and agricultural law. Vol. 52). With a preface by Ernst Heymann . Elwert, Marburg 1929.
  • Personnel companies on an inadequate contractual basis. Aschendorff, Münster 1947.
  • (Ed.) Hand Commentary on the Civil Code. Aschendorff, Münster 1952, 4th edition 1967.
  • The global assignment in relation to the extended retention of title. Müller, Karlsruhe 1960.


  • Bodo Pieroth (eds.): Heinrich and Walter Erman: Documentation of the memorial event on September 19, 2004 at the Faculty of Law in Münster . Lit, Münster 2005, ISBN 3-8258-9087-2 .
  • Sebastian Felz: In the spirit of truth? Between science and politics. The Münster jurists from the Weimar Republic to the early Federal Republic. In: Hans-Ulrich Thamer , Daniel Droste, Sabine Happ (eds.): The University of Münster in National Socialism. Continuities and breaks between 1920 and 1960 (= publications of the Münster University Archives. Volume 5). Aschendorff, Münster 2012, Vol. 1, pp. 347-412.
  • Heinz Holzhauer : A legal life picture. Walter Erman (1904-1982). In: Martin Schöpflin et al. (Ed.): From the matter to the law. Festschrift for Volker Beuthien on his 75th birthday. Beck Juristischer Verlag, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-406-59484-7 , pp. 621-637.
  • Lieselotte Steveling: Career "Problems" during the Third Reich. In: Lieselotte Steveling: Lawyers in Münster. A contribution to the history of the law and political science faculty of the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Westf. Lit, Münster 1999, ISBN 3-8258-4084-0 , pp. 405-407.
  • Lienhard Dreger: In memory of Walter Erman ,

Individual evidence

  1. Pieroth (2004), pp. 18-20
  2. Holzhauer (1999), p. 409