Franz von Liszt

Franz von Liszt (born March 2, 1851 – † June 21, 1919) was a German criminal law scholar and international lawyer. He studied in Vienna where he also was awarded a Dr. jur. Following his habilitation in Graz he held professorships in Gießen, Marburg and Halle, before he became a professor of criminal law and international law at Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität zu Berlin, today’s Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, in 1898. From 1912 to 1918, he was a member of the German Reichstag for the Progressive People’s Party (‘Fortschrittliche Volkspartei’).

Franz von Liszt was the founder of the so-called modern school of criminal law, which had a significant and lasting influence on the development of criminal law. His textbook on German criminal law, first published in 1881, was published in 22 editions until his death and was last published in the 26th edition, edited by Eberhard Schmidt, in 1932.

During the Nazi dictatorship, some of Liszts’ demands on criminal law policy were taken up. Not least because of this, his criminal work is also to be viewed critically from today’s perspective.

on Liszt was a co-founder of the International Union of Penal Law (‘Internationale Kriminalistische Vereinigung – IKV’) and the ‘Zeitschrift für die Gesamte Strafrechtswissenschaft’ (ZStW). Franz von Liszt’s academic students included i.a.
Gustav Radbruch and Eberhard Schmidt.

In addition to his criminal oeuvre, his work in the field of international law deserves special mention, especially his textbook, which appeared in eleven editions between 1898 and 1919.

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Franz von Liszt's death.

On the occasion of the 100. anniversary of Franz von Liszt’s death, the University Library of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin has collected numerous materials and documents.

The Institute

The Institute bundles the activities in the field of international criminal law carried out at the Humboldt University of Berlin. In particular, the topics of international criminal law, European criminal law, foreign and comparative criminal law, and the international aspects of German criminal law are dealt with.

The institute was named after thecriminal and international law expert Franz von Liszt, who taught and researched at Berlin University, now Humboldt University in Berlin, from 1898 until his death in 1919.

The Institute has an extensive collection of criminal law literature and offers visiting scholars the opportunity for research stays.

Within the framework of the Humboldt International Criminal Law Discussion Group, scholars and practitioners from Germany and abroad are regularly invited to present their research results or to report on current issues in their work.

The Institute was established in the early 2000s at the Faculty of Law of the Humboldt University in Berlin. It is based mainly on the resources of the Chair of Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, International Criminal Law and Contemporary Legal History.

The institute is led byProf. Dr. Florian Jeßberger. Members of the Institute are academics working at the Faculty of Law of the Humboldt University. The activities of the institute are supported by an international advisory committee.

Franz von Liszt and International Criminal Law

Some key texts on topics at the interface of criminal law and international law are available below:

Liszt Library

The ‘Kriminalistisches Seminar’, which was founded by von Liszt in Marburg in 1888 and later moved to Halle and then to Berlin in 1899, was famous for its library, which was outstanding in terms of volume and quality, and consisted mainly of von Liszt’s private library and, to a lesser extent, state-financed collections.

When von Liszt was appointed as professor in Berlin, his seminar remained a separate unit within the law faculty, both institutionally and locally. Together with the large library, it was housed in rooms rented specifically for this purpose in Charlottenburg. n the spring of 1912, von Liszt donated the private part of his library to the Berlin University – today’s Humboldt University – and the part acquired from state funds also became the property of the Faculty of Law. As a result, the collections of the faculty of law’s library more than doubled.

In the years that followed, the von Liszt Collection was continued and expanded as a specialist library for international criminal law, which is valued worldwide. In 1929, it comprised around 30,000 volumes. During the Second World War, it was outsourced and suffered heavy losses. However, a core collection remained and was partially integrated into the law library at Humboldt University after the war. The remaining part was stored in a magazine in the law faculty building referred to as “Kommode” on Bebelplatz.

The collection has been kept in the Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm Center of the university library since 2012. The collections are made accessible by two special historical catalogs: the freely accessible alphabetical card catalog and the systematic volume catalog, which is located in the Department of Historical Collections of the University library. Journals and other periodicals from the von Liszt Library are recorded in the journals database. The collections can be viewed in the research reading room of the Grimm Center.

(translated excerpt from: Helena Winterhager, Annual Report of the University Library of Humboldt-Universität 2017, 26 f.)

Literature about Franz von Liszt

  • M. Frommel, Liszt, Franz v., Neue Deutsche Biographie, vol. 14 (1985), 704 ff.
  • F. Herrmann, Das Standardwerk. Franz von Liszt und das Völkerrecht, 2001.
  • H.-H. Jescheck (Hrsg.), Franz von Liszt zum Gedächtnis, 1969.
  • A. Koch & M. Löhnig (Hrsg.), Die Schule Franz von Liszts – Sozialpräventive Kriminalpolitik und die Entstehung des modernen Strafrechts?, 2016.
  • M. Kubiciel, Einheitliches europäisches Strafrecht und vergleichende Darstellung seiner Grundlagen, JZ 2015, 64 ff.
  • F. Munoz Conde, Das Erbe Franz von Liszts, Festschrift Hassemer 2010, 535 ff.
  • G. Radbruch, Franz von Liszt, Gustav Radbruch Gesamtausgabe, Bd. 16, 1988, 25 ff.
  • T. Stäcker, Die allgemeine Auseinandersetzung mit der Franz von Liszt-Schule, 2012.