Landsberg, Otto

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LANDSBERG, OTTO (1869–1957), German politician. Born in Rybnik, Upper Silesia, in 1890 Landsberg joined the Social Democratic Party while a law student in Berlin. He practiced law in Magdeburg, where he became a town councilor in 1903. In 1912 he was elected to the Reichstag. He belonged to the extreme right wing of his party, and was under constant attack from the leftists because of his patriotic attitude. During World War i, Landsberg became increasingly influential in the Social Democratic Party, and after the outbreak of the revolution in Germany, became a member of the Council of People's Plenipotentiaries, which exercised the functions of government. He consistently opposed Bolshevik ideology, and in January 1919 was seized by the revolutionary workers and condemned to death. He was rescued by troops called up by the chancellor, Friedrich Ebert. A month later Ebert made him minister of justice in the first Weimar government and a member of the German delegation at Versailles in the summer of that year. Landsberg opposed the signing of the peace treaty, and resigned from the government. From 1920 to 1923 he was German ambassador to Belgium.

Landsberg returned to Berlin in 1924 and resumed his law practice. Reelected to the Reichstag in 1924, he remained a member until the Nazis came to power in 1933. He emigrated via the csr, Schwitzerland und Belgium to Holland and lived there in hiding throughout World War ii. Landsberg was not a member of the Jewish community, but was one of the founders of the Association for Defense against Antisemitism. He wrote Student und Politik (1925) and Politische Krise der Gegenwart (1931). After 1945 he supported the Social Democratic periodical Neuer Vorwärts but stayed in Holland and died in Baarn (near Utrecht).

add. bibliography:

H.L. Abmeier, Otto Landsberg, in: Jahrbuch der schlesischen Friedrich-Wilhelm-Universitaet zu Breslau, 14 (1969); Biographisches Handbuch der deutschsprachigen Emigration nach 1933, vol. 1 (1999), 415.

[Bernard Dov Ganzel /

Bjoern Siegel (2nd ed.)]

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