Rochlitzer, Ludwig

Ludwig Rochlitzer


25 August 1880 Voitsberg – 12 March 1945 Vienna


Ludwig Rochlitzer, who spent his childhood in Graz, studied law at the university and musical harmony at the school of the Musikverein für Steiermark. After working as an accompanist for Ernst von Schuch at the Hofoper in Dresden, he went in 1903, having just obtained his doctorate in law, to Vienna, where ten years later he became a self-employed lawyer. He continued his activity as a composer and musician, however, writing lieder, operettas and operas. In that capacity, he was a member of the board of the Gesellschaft der Autoren, Komponisten und Musikverleger (AKM) (Association of Authors, Composers and Music Publishers). At the end of 1934 he protested against his replacement on the board by Josef Rinaldini because of the latter's antisemitism, and in subsequent years his extreme disappointment at not being taken seriously in the AKM as a composer but being needed above all for his legal knowledge is evident, for example, from his correspondence with his friend Joseph Marx. During the Nazi era he was notable for the high fees he charged wealthy Jewish clients together with his colleague in Munich Alexander Bayer, who promised to use his acquaintanceship with his former schoolmate Heinrich Himmler to obtain visas or the status as a "Mischling". In 1942 Rochlitzer was charged with violating foreign exchange regulations, but the case was abandoned in favour of judgment proceedings at the Foreign Exchange Office. It involved claims in German currency of 14,000 Reichsmarks against Paul Altmann, Leo Weil, Alfred Bertin, Richard Neumann and Hans Altmann, who had escaped abroad as well as other claims that Rochlitzer had not offered to the Reichsbank as prescribed in the Devisengesetz (Foreign Exchange Law). He was also accused of collaborating in drawing up a sham contract by drafting a prenuptial agreement between a Jewish client and a British citizen. The honour court of the Rechtsanwaltskammer (bar association) dropped the case against Rochlitzer under the amnesty by the "Führer" for lawyers and notaries of 30 November 1939, RGBl. I, 2342. For the foreign exchange offence, Rochlitzer received a fine and was ordered to pay the costs of the disciplinary proceedings. He was killed during an Allied air raid on 12 March 1945, in which the house in Führichgasse, where he lived and worked, was destroyed, along with all the files. After the war his name appeared in a case before the Bayerischer Ehrengerichtshof für Rechtsanwälte (Bavarian honour court for lawyers) against his colleague Alexander Bayer, who was struck off the legal register because of his activities together with Rochlitzer during the Nazi period.

As far as provenance research is concerned, Rochlitzer was a focus in the case of Grünbaum, since Elisabeth Grünbaum received a fee invoice from him on 31 January 1939 of 6,500 Reichsmarks that included his fee and expenses for Alexander Bayer. It has not been established to date whether the two lawyers had anything to do with the disappearance of parts of Fritz Grünbaum's art collection. Rochlitzer was acquainted with Grünbaum before 1938 and knew his collection. He also represented the art collector Luise Simon after she fled to Switzerland.

Author Info

DÖW, Zl. 20.721/13.

ÖNB, Handschriftensammlung, Autogr. 853/4, 853/5, Korrespondenz Ludwig Rochlitzer - Joseph Marx.

OeStA/AdR, E-uReang, VVSt., VA 34662 Elisabeth Grünbaum.
OeStA/AdR, E-uReang, VVSt., VA 42222 Louise Simon.
OeStA/AdR, Justiz, Reichsjustizministerium, Personalakten, Ludwig Rochlitzer.

WStLA, LG für Zivilrechtssachen Wien, 48 T 3854/47, Verlassenschaftsakt Ludwig Rochlitzer.