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MAKOWER, HERMANN:

German jurist; born at Santomischel, Posen, March 8, 1830; died at Berlin April 1, 1898. His father, recognizing the inadequate educational facilities of the town, sent him, alone and almost penniless, at the age of nine, to win a living and an education in Berlin. There he attended the Französische Gymnasium, secured a position as chorister in a synagogue, and met Siegmund Meyer, a boy of the same age, with whom he formed a friendship that lasted throughout his life. Makower gave private lessons, and after graduation served as "Referendarius" and assessor, and ultimately became "Grundbuchrichter" at the Berlin city court, a position never before held by one of his coreligionists. In 1857 he published his first contribution to legal literature, "Die Stellung der Vertheidigung im Preussischen Strafverfahren" (Berlin, 1857). He gave up his prospects for judicial advancement for the more substantial rewards of a career as legal practitioner.

Makower's activities in the sphere of commercial law were inaugurated by his "Studien zur Konkursordnung vom 8. Mai 1855" (Berlin, 1861). In the following year appeared his great work, in the preparation of which his friend Siegmund Meyer co-operated with him—"Das Allgemeine Deutsche Handelsgesetzbuch, Nebst dem Preussischen Einführungsgesetze vom 24. Juni 1861, und der Instruktion vom 12. Dezbr. 1861, für den Praktischen Gebrauch aus den Quellen Erläutert" (Berlin, 1862; 11th ed., 1893); this was followed by "Zur Revision der Deutschen Konkursordnung" (ib. 1894), and by a number of minor writings on insurance companies and the protesting of bills and notes, and by discussions of various points in commercial law.

He enjoyed a very large and lucrative practise, and won for himself a clientele among the greatest men of his time. One of the celebrated causes with which he was identified was that of the historian Theodor Mommsen, charged with slandering Prince Bismarck. He opened his argument at one of the several trials of this case with these words: "Two princes represent antithetical views; one, a prince of diplomacy, the other, a prince of learning; one, a man who makes history, the other, a man who writes history"; after appealing to the highest courts of the empire Mommsen was finally acquitted (1883).

Makower was zealously interested in the communal and congregational life of the Jews in Berlin, and earnestly supported the efforts to sustain the Lehranstalt für die Wissenschaft des Judenthums. For its benefit he delivered a lecture, Jan. 10, 1881, entitled "Unsere Gemeinde" (Posen, 1881). Another contribution to the literature of Jewish communal affairs was his treatise on "Die Gemeinde-Verhältnisse der Juden in Preussen" (Berlin, 1873). He was instrumental in the publication of the "Regesten zur Geschichte der Juden im Deutschen Reich," and was one of the most active in collaborationon the "Grundsätze der Jüdischen Sittenlehre." From 1866 to 1892 he was a member of the board of the Jewish community of Berlin; from 1870 to 1892 he was its president.

Bibliography:
  • Bernhard Breslauer, Hermann Makower, in Allg. Zeit. des Jud. 1898, pp. 162-163, 173-175, 185-188, 200-202;
  • Justizrath Meyer, Justizrath Hermann Makower, in Deutsche Juristen Zeitung, ii. 162-165.
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