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Preuss, Hugo


PREUSS, HUGO (1860–1925), German jurist and politician, creator of the Weimar constitution. Born in Berlin, Preuss was elected to the Berlin city council where he advocated a new system of decentralized government based on strong, independent municipal councils. Preuss was an authority on German constitutional law and lectured at the University of Berlin but was refused a professorship because of his Jewish origins and liberal view. In 1906 he became professor of public law at the Berlin Handelshochschule and later rector. At the end of World War i Preuss became minister of the interior of the new German republic and headed the committee drafting the so-called Weimar constitution. It was hailed as the epitome of democracy in liberal circles but was attacked by right-wing circles as being "Un-German." Preuss opposed the signing of the Versailles Peace Treaty and resigned from the government. Though not active in Jewish affairs and an opponent of Zionism, Preuss was highly regarded in Jewish circles.


E. Feder, Hugo Preuss (Ger., 1926); W. Simons, Hugo Preuss (Ger., 1930); S. Grossmann, Hugo Preuss (Ger., 1965); H. Preuss, Staat, Recht und Freiheit (1926), preface by T. Heuss, incl. bibl. add. bibliography: E. Hamburger, in: lbiyb, 20 (1975), 179–206; D. Schefold, in: "Meinetwegen ist die Welt erschaffen…" (1997), 293–309; D. Lehner, Verfassungsdemokratie als Bürgergenossenschaft… (1998), incl. bibl.; A. Faatz, "Hugo Preuss" (diss., Trier, 1999); G. Gillessen, Hugo Preuss (2000).

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