Schmitt, Carl (1888-1985): File of the SS High Command Security Service Main Office (microfilm)

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Microfilm of a dossier produced by the Sicherheitsdienst der Reichsführung SS, 1936-1937, the result of an extensive investigation into Carl Schmitt, constitutional theorist of the Weimar Republic and 'Crown Jurist' of the Nazi era. It contains correspondence and reports from former colleagues of Schmitt and others, denouncing his alleged anti-Nazi, pro-Jewish background. Also included is correspondence between the editor of Das Schwarze Korps , and officials within the RFSS SD, in which an anonymous article first appeared (c1936), questioning Schmitt's Nazi credentials.

Administrative / Biographical History

The SS (Schutzstaffel) was founded in 1925 with the object of protecting the Nazi Party leader, Adolf Hitler. By 1936, under the leadership of Heinrich Himmler, the SS had assumed responsiblity for all police and security matters throughout the Third Reich. The Reichsführung SS SD Hauptamt (SS High Command Security Service Main Office) was the internal security branch of the SS.

Carl Schmitt, the controversial and influential political and legal theorist, was born on 11 July 1888 in Plettenberg, Westfalen. He was professor for jurisprudence in Greifswald, 1921; Bonn, 1922-1923; Berlin (Handelshochschule), 1926; Köln, 1933; and again in Berlin, during the Nazi era when he achieved the exalted position of 'Crown Jurist'. During his career as a successful academic and teacher, he became recognised as a fierce critic of the Weimar constitution, which he accused of having weakened the state and of relying on liberalism, which, in his view, was incapable of solving the problems of a modern mass democracy. His loyalty to the Nazi cause had long been suspected by elements within the SS Security Service and his anti- semitism was regarded as opportunistic. As a result of a critical article in the SS periodical Der Schwarze Korps Schmitt was investigated by the Security Service and subsequently lost most of his prominent offices, and retreated from his position as a leading Nazi jurist, although he retained his post as a professor in Berlin thanks to Göring. He never again dealt with domestic or party politics, but turned his attention to the study of international relations, and soon passed into obscurity. After the war he continued to publish but never held office. He remained a controversial figure, having never been formally charged with complicity with the Nazi regime, nor ever exonerated. He died on 7 April 1985.

Arrangement

Broadly chronological

Conditions Governing Access

Open

Acquisition Information

Jewish Central Information Office

Other Finding Aids

Description exists to this archive on the Wiener Library's online catalogue www.wienerlibrary.co.uk.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Microfilm

Archivist's Note

Howard Falksohn

Separated Material

Bundesarchiv, Koblenz, Germany

Conditions Governing Use

Copies can be made for personal use. Permission must be sought for publication.

Location of Originals

Wiener Collection, Tel Aviv University, Israel.

Bibliography

Raphael Gross Carl Schmitt und die Juden: eine deutsche Rechtslehre (Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main, 2000).