Dieprand von Richthofen

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Dieprand Emil Ludwig Fridolin Freiherr Praetorius von Richthofen (* 15 December 1875 in Zabern, Lower Alsace; † 5 March 1946 in Königsfeld (Saxony)[1]) was Senate President at the Reichsgericht and anti-Semitic politician (DSP).


He was the son of Oswald von Richthofen (1847-1906), Reich Foreign Secretary and Prussian Minister of State. The liberal politician Hartmann von Richthofen was his brother (1878-1953). From 1888 to 1893 he attended the grammar school in Weimar. Afterwards he studied in Lausanne, Rome, Leipzig, Marburg. He passed the first state law examination in 1896 with the grade “sufficient”. In 1896 he was sworn in. He completed his legal clerkship in 1899 with an examination “with distinction”. In 1900 he was taken on as a court assessor. On New Year’s Day 1903 he was appointed judge at the district court of Eisenach. Exactly three years later he became Oberlandesgerichtsrat in Jena. Since 1905 he belonged to the German Social Party, for which he sat as a deputy from 1906 to 1909 for the electoral district Jena country in the state parliament of Saxony-Weimar-Eisenach.[2] In the Reichstag election of 1907 he failed with his candidacy for the mandate for the principality of Waldeck against the free-spirited MP Heinz Potthoff (the mandate went to the anti-Semitic Vietmeyer candidate in the next election period in 1912). In 1908 he became the founding chairman of the Thuringia branch of the DSP and remained so until 1912.[2] In May 1919 he came to the Reichsgericht. He served as a Reichsgerichtsrat in the VIth and VIIth Civil Senates. On New Year’s Day 1934 he was promoted to Senate President of the VII Civil Senate. On October 1, 1939, he was appointed Vice-President of the Reichsgericht. He retired on 31 March 1942.

Often quoted is his statement from 1933 with reference to the National Socialist regime:[3]

“The Reichsgericht has always kept in mind that its jurisdiction must take account of the aims which the Government of the national uprising is pursuing, and that in this sense it must exert influence on the subordinate courts.”

The FRG diplomat Oswald Freiherr von Richthofen (1908-1994) was his son.

Party memberships

  • 1905-1918 German Social Party
  • 1918-1933 DNVP
  • From 1 May 1933 NSDAP (membership number 2,994,571)


  • Grand Ducal Chamberlain
  • Privy Council of Justice
  • 1938 Golden Loyal Service Medal


  • Adolf Lobe: Fünfzig Jahre Reichsgericht. Am 1. Oktober 1929. de Gruyter, Berlin u. a. 1929, p. 383.
  • Friedrich Karl Kaul: Geschichte des Reichsgerichts. Volume 4: 1933-1945. Akademie-Verlag, (East) Berlin 1971, p. 61.
  • Thomas Klein (ed.): Die Hessen als Reichstagswähler. Tabellenwerk zur politischen Landesgeschichte 1867-1933. vol. 1: Provinz Hessen-Nassau und Waldeck-Pyrmont 1867-1918 (= Publications of the Historical Commission for Hesse. vol. 51, 3). Elwert, Marburg 1989, ISBN 978-3-86354-083-8, p. 1021.
  • Klaus-Detlev Godau-Schüttke: The Federal Supreme Court. Justice in Germany. Tischler, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-922654-66-5, p. 31.


  1. Genealogical handbook of the baronial houses. Volume 19 (= Genealogical Handbook of the Nobility. Vol. 110). Starke, Limburg/Lahn 1996, ISBN 3-7980-0700-4, p. 287.
  2. a b Ulrich Hess: Geschichte Thüringens 1866 bis 1914. Edited from the estate by Volker Wahl. Böhlau, Weimar 1991, ISBN 3-7400-0077-5, p. 457.
  3. Kaul, p. 62; Godau-Schüttke, p. 31; Rolf Lamprecht: Ein bißchen Bibel und viel Unrecht. In: Der Spiegel, October 1, 1979; Hohle Nuss. In: Der Spiegel, 27 January 1992.