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Andreas Bertholan Schwarz

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Andreas Bertholan Schwarz was born in Budapest in 1886 and obtained his ‘habilitation’ in 1912. From 1920 to 1926 he was a professor of Roman and Civil Law at the University of Leipzig. He then transferred to the University of Zurich and in 1929 moved to the University of Freiburg from which he was dismissed in 1933. He immigrated to Turkey in 1934 and was appointed as professor in the same field at the Law Faculty of the University of Istanbul where he remained until 1950 when he became guest professor at the University of Freiburg. Schwarz died in Freiburg in 1953. By advising parliamentary commissions and submitting several memoranda for the required changes in the Law he played a significant role in modernizing Turkey’s civil laws during the 1930s, which brought a deep-rooted progress. As a result the existing religious marriage law was abolished and civil marriage became obligatory, polygamy was outlawed and equality between husband and wife was established. His book on family law greatly influenced Turkish jurists and contributed to the modern conceptualization of family jurisprudence. He trained an entire generation of Turkish legal scholars. Quoting Professor Fritz Neumark, economist and fellow émigré, Schwarz was one of the most impressive and scientifically invaluable persons among us. He possessed high degree self-respect and had a lasting influence on his Turkish colleagues. He was of the opinion that a university professor should have a social preference stand based on quasi-natural law.

'Habilitation,' a term used within the university system of France and Germany, qualifies the holder to be admitted as a professor at a university. It is a post-doctoral thesis and demonstrates competence in further research.

“Schwarz has been a prolific writer in a little-practiced field of ancient studies that have an important sociological character. I should very much like to see him in America, both because of my personal regard for him and because of my personal interest in his work.” Charles B. Welles, classics professor, writing on Yale University stationery on October 18, 1940. Courtesy of the Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University of Albany, New York.

In the early forties he tried to emigrate to the United States, being fearful of Germany’s military success and Turkeys precarious position. To that effect he sought positions in Yale university and the New School for Social Research. His attempts were frustrated and he remained in Turkey until his return to post-war Germany. For the correspondence related to his attempts see: Émigré Files, University of New York at Albany Library (courtesy of Special Collections and Archives).

A relevant publication of his is: A.B.Schwarz, Das Schweizerische Zivilgesetzbuch in der auslaendischen Rechtsentwicklung. Zurich 1950. One of his publications that relates to family law in Turkey is “Ein Rechtvergleich zwischen dem alten und neuen türkischen Zivilgesetzbuch,” in Annales de la Faculté de Droit d’Istanbul, Vol. 35, No.52, 2003, pp. 323-338.

Andreas B. Schwartz, Aile Hukuku (Family Law), translated by Bülent Davran into Turkish. Istanbul University Publications, 1942. Second printing 1946.

Stanford J. Shaw, Turkey and the Holocaust. (London: Macmillan, 1993) p. 355.

Neumark, F. Boğaziçine Sığınanlar, Translated by Şefik Alp Bahadır, Ercivan atbaası, (Istanbul: 1982) 89,102-03.

This article is based on Andic, F and Reisman, A. (2007) “Migration and transfer of knowledge: Refugees from nazism and Turkish legal reform.” Forum historiae iuris. Also Also available on SSRN at

For additional reading on Andreas B. Schwarz’s Turkish exile see Arnold Reisman TURKEY'S MODERNIZATION: Refugees from Nazism and Ataturk's Vision

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