10 February 1933
Letter from Franz von Papen prohibiting Hermann Badt from continuing his duties
Franz von Papen’s letter put an end to Hermann Badt’s long political career. Von Papen justified his decision by citing the emergency decree that Reich President von Hindenburg had issued four days earlier. As a result of this decree, the Prussian government led by its Social Democratic prime minister, Otto Braun, was stripped of the last vestiges of power.
The government had already been brought down by the “Prussian coup” of 20 July 1932, when powers were transferred to Franz von Papen as the newly appointed Reich Commissioner. In response, ministerial director Hermann Badt, acting as the authorized representative of the Prussian government, had filed a complaint challenging the constitutionality of the decree before the state constitutional court. The complaint was rejected.
For Hermann Badt, the prohibition was just the beginning. Nazi leaders now devoted themselves to systematically eliminating their political opponents. The Reichstag Fire Decree of 28 February led to mass arrests. Upon learning that the Gestapo was searching for him, Badt fled Berlin. On 10 March he skied across the Giant Mountains to Karpacz, where his wife and three children were waiting for him. Together they managed to leave for Palestine on 9 April.
Reich Commissioner for the State of Prussia
Berlin W 8, 10 February 1933
In order to restore orderly conditions of government in Prussia, the decree issued by the Reich president on the sixth of this month transfers responsibility for all government affairs to the Reich commissioners and myself. For this reason I must humbly request that you abstain from conducting any official business.
Ministerial Director Dr. Badt
Return receipt requested.