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Curt Joël

Curt Walter Joël 18 January 1865 – 15 April 1945 was a German jurist and civil servant He was the senior civil servant in the Ministry of Justice for much of the 1920s and early 1930s, during the Weimar Republic era Joël also served as acting Minister of Justice and in 1931/32 was a member of Heinrich Brüning's second cabinet


  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Early career
  • 3 Career in the Weimar Republic
  • 4 References

Early life

Curt Walter Joël was born on 18 January 1865 at Greiffenberg, Silesia, in what was then the Kingdom of Prussia His father, Hermann 1827-80, was a lawyer and notary there later at Bromberg and came from a family of Jewish merchants from Danzig Curt Joël's mother was Else née Pollack, 1843-90, also from a family of Jewish merchants After her husband's death, she married Theodor Römpler in 1883, founder and head physician at the family-owned Sanatorium Görbersdorf Waldenburg, Silesia Curt's siblings included Eugen 1863–1911, Dr med and after 1902 head of the Sanatorium Görbersdorf, Arthur b 1866, textile merchant and manufacturer at New York, and Walter 1867–1947, president of a Finanzgericht financial court His cousin Otto Joel [de] 1856–1916 was founder and long-serving president of Banca Commerciale Italiana[1]

Curt Joël married Vally von Dressler 1880-1968 at Breslau in 1899 They had a daughter and a son, Günther Joël [de][1]

Early career

He studied law at Jena, Freiburg im Breisgau and Berlin From 1899, he was a prosecutor at Landgerichte in Hanover and Berlin, 1903–06 at the Kammergericht and 1906-08 judicial aide at the Reichsanwaltschaft [de] at Leipzig In 1908, he was promoted to Geheimer Regierungsrat and Vortragender Rat at the Reichsjustizamt Imperial Ministry of Justice[1]

At the outbreak of World War I, Joël served as Landwehroffizier at the counterintelligence department of the Stellvertretender Generalstab in Berlin From early 1915 until November 1917, he was a Hauptmann captain, in charge of a department in occupied Belgium known as the Generalgouvernement and head of the Generalgouvernement's Zentralpolizeistelle police headquarters He also remained active in counterintelligence In 1915, he fought determinedly, but unsuccessfully, against the execution of British citizen Edith Cavell, who had been found guilty of treason[1]

In October 1917, he became a Direktor at the Reichsjustizamt and subsequently was named deputy Bundesratsbevollmächtigter of Prussia representative in the Bundesrat In early 1918, Joël resumed work on a reform of criminal law he had previously worked on in 1908 early draft and since 1911 as a member of the Große Strafrechtskommission Together with three co-workers he finished the reform draft in 1919[1]

Career in the Weimar Republic

By then, the Empire had been replaced with a republic but Joël continued to work at the Reichsjustizministerium Ministry of Justice and in early 1920 became Unterstaatssekretär under-secretary and on 1 April 1920 Staatssekretär During the Kapp-Lüttwitz Putsch of March 1920, Joël organised a conference of the ministerial under-secretaries and then went to Kapp to deliver their unanimous declaration against the putschists and in favour of the legitimate government[1]

He competently and loyally served a total of eleven ministers and 15 cabinets, from a variety of political backgrounds Never a member of any party himself, Joël represented the unpolitical, technocratic civil servant He worked to keep the ministry free of party politics, which contributed to the high esteem in which the ministry was held by other ministries, state governments and the parliament During this time he served repeatedly as acting minister of justice, first in the cabinet of chancellor Wilhelm Marx Joël was particularly close to Gustav Radbruch, Kuno von Westarp, Heinrich Brüning and Wilhelm Kahl [de][1]

However, in October 1931, at that point again acting minister since 1930, Joël acceded to Brüning's request to become Minister of Justice in his second cabinet The cabinet resigned in June 1932 and Joël then refused the offer by Franz von Papen to join its successor, since he did not want to be a party to the planned lifting of the legal ban on Sturmabteilung and Schutzstaffel, which he had earlier co-signed into law[1]

Joël died on 15 April 1945 in Berlin[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Biografie Curt Joël German" Bayerische Nationalbibliothek Retrieved 21 July 2015mw-parser-output citecitationmw-parser-output citation qmw-parser-output id-lock-free a,mw-parser-output citation cs1-lock-free amw-parser-output id-lock-limited a,mw-parser-output id-lock-registration a,mw-parser-output citation cs1-lock-limited a,mw-parser-output citation cs1-lock-registration amw-parser-output id-lock-subscription a,mw-parser-output citation cs1-lock-subscription amw-parser-output cs1-subscription,mw-parser-output cs1-registrationmw-parser-output cs1-subscription span,mw-parser-output cs1-registration spanmw-parser-output cs1-ws-icon amw-parser-output codecs1-codemw-parser-output cs1-hidden-errormw-parser-output cs1-visible-errormw-parser-output cs1-maintmw-parser-output cs1-subscription,mw-parser-output cs1-registration,mw-parser-output cs1-formatmw-parser-output cs1-kern-left,mw-parser-output cs1-kern-wl-leftmw-parser-output cs1-kern-right,mw-parser-output cs1-kern-wl-rightmw-parser-output citation mw-selflink
  • Godau-Schüttke, Klaus-Detlev 1981 Rechtsverwalter des Reiches Staatssekretär Dr Curt Joël in German Frankfurt am Main: Lang ISBN 3-8204-6415-8

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