Center Party representative in German Reichstag, prothonotary apostolic; b. Trier, Germany, May 23, 1881;d. Rome, April 15, 1952. After studying in Rome he was ordained (1909) and then studied law at Bonn under Ulrich Stutz. In 1918 he became professor of canon law in Trier. He was elected in 1919 to the National Assembly as a center party delegate and later sat on the Prussian Privy Council (Staatsrat ). Under the Weimar Republic he was a representative in the Reichstag from 1920, where his main interest was in foreign affairs. He was a member of the German delegation to the League of Nations (1926) and at the London and Paris conferences. He did not, however, support strongly Gustav Stresemann's foreign policy. Kaas advocated the liberation of the Rhineland and the formation of this region as a state within the German Republic. As chairman of the Center party from 1928 until its dissolution in 1933, Kaas upheld Heinrich Brüning as chancellor, disassociated the party from collaboration with the Socialists, and urged coalition with the rightist German Nationalists. When the Nazis came to power (1933), Kaas was one of those mainly responsible for the passage of the enabling act that permitted Hitler as chancellor to assume dictatorial powers. Kaas was a friend of the nuncio Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli (later pius xii) and was his close adviser in the negotiations leading to the concordat of 1933. From 1933 Kaas, a prothonotary apostolic di numero partecipanti since 1929, lived in Rome, where he became secretary of the Congregation of st. peter's basilica. In this position he directed until his death the archeological investigations under the basilica that led to very important discoveries concerning the burial place and remains of St. Peter.
Bibliography: a. wynen, Ludwig Kaas (Trier 1953). j. n. moody, ed., Church and Society (New York 1953) 325–583. e. eyck, A History of the Weimar Republic, tr. h. p. hanson and r.g. l. waite, 2 v. (Cambridge, Mass. 1962–63), v. 2. g. schreiber, Staatslexikon 4:747–750; Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiburg 1957–65) 5:1233. a. l. c. bullock, Hitler: A Study in Tyranny (rev. ed. New York 1958).
[m. a. gallin]