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Emil Lehmann’s Petition to Improve the Legal Rights of Jews in Saxony (November 25, 1869)

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Based on the unanimous expert’s reports of Judicial Privy Councilor Professor Dr. Wasserschleben in Gießen and the recognized authority on matrimonial law, Prof. Dr. Emil Friedberg (then in Freiburg im Breisgau), the Eighth German Jurists’ Meeting has voiced its support for the introduction of civil marriage and for lifting the ban on marriages between Christians and non-Christians, [Deliberations of the VIIIth German Jurists’ Meeting I, p. 253, p. 271]; so now the question must be deemed settled in academic terms.

Therefore, it is only a matter of time before §§ 1617 and 1588 of the Civil Code will be eliminated in Saxony as well; that this should happen quickly is to be hoped for all the more since the issue at stake is freeing the Civil Code from the shadow of a backward step.

[ . . . ]


The overall outcome of this portrayal of the current legal situation of Jews in Saxony leads to the following petitions:

Let the high chambers kindly decide upon the following:



§ 2 of the decree of August 12, 1869, and § 51 of Civil Code be repealed,



the §§ 32, 56 of the Constitutional Charter undergo a revision along the lines of universal freedom of religion,



§ 1617 of the Civil Code be struck,



the decree of August 3, 1868, be interpreted or supplemented, respectively, in such a way that §§ 4, 5 of the law of May 30, 1840, are also eliminated by it, and so that it will be followed closely even in cases when other courts are consulted,



the closing passage in § 7 of the implementing ordinance adjunct to the Notary’s Rules of June 3, 1859, be repealed,



the state government be appealed to for the admission of Jewish private attorneys to practice in matrimonial courts,



in order to issue the decree concerning the hearing of Jewish marital disputes before the courts of appeal,

as well,


that Jewish religious communities be authorized, prior to the introduction of universal civil status registers, to exclusively manage birth, marriage, and death rolls for their co-religionists.

Yours in most humble deference
Emil Lehmann, lawyer.

Source: Emil Lehmann, “Die Rechtsverhältnisse der Juden in Sachsen” [“The Legal Rights of Jews in Saxony”] (Petition an den Landtag des Königreichs Sachsen um Aufhebung der mit §33 der Verfassungsurkunde in Widerspruch stehenden Bestimmungen – Dresden, 25. November 1869) [Petition to the Landtag of the Kingdom of Saxony for the repeal of regulations conflicting with § 33 of the Constitutional Charter. – Dresden, November 25, 1869], in Emil Lehmann, Gesammelte Schriften [Collected Writings]. Berlin: H. S. Hermann, 1899, pp. 154-69, here 154-62, 168-69.

Translation: Erwin Fink

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