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Ehrlich, Ludwik

(1889–1968), jurist and legal scholar. After attending elementary and secondary school in Tarnopol and Lwów (then Lemberg), Ludwik Ehrlich studied philosophy, Polish studies, and law at the university in Lwów (1907–1911), graduating with a doctorate in law. He did supplementary studies at universities in Halle (1911–1912), Berlin (1913), and Oxford (1913–1916), and then lectured on modern history at Oxford (1916–1917) and at the University of California at Berkeley (1917–1920). In the United States, he supported the movement for Poland to regain independence, and worked for the inclusion of Upper Silesia in the Polish state.

After Ehrlich’s return to Poland, he taught law at the university in Lwów. He specialized in international public law and state law (1920–1939) and lectured on the interpretation of treaties at the Academy of International Law at the Hague (1927–1929, 1962), and on international law at universities in Prague (1929), Iaşi (1934), and London (1937). In 1927–1928, he was a judge at the International Court of Justice in the Hague.

During World War II, Ehrlich went into hiding; captured by the Germans, he was freed by a unit of the Home Army. After the war, he lectured at Jagiellonian University in Kraków between 1945 and 1961. He was also active in the permanent Tribunal of Arbitration at the Hague. An expert on Polish–German relations, he served as an expert witness at the trials of Nazi war criminals, and was on the High Commission for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes in Poland. His formulation of the doctrine of individual responsibility for crimes on the territory of the Polish state was accepted as a general principle by the International Tribunal in Nuremberg.

Ehrlich educated many generations of Polish lawyers. He formulated the Polish doctrine on the topic of legal title to formerly German territories annexed to Poland after World War II. He continued to be active as a scholar through his last years, writing a three-volume work about the role and significance of the works of Paweł Włodkowic, a fifteenth-century Polish lawyer.

Beginning in 1947, Ehrlich was a member of the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences. His numerous publications include Gdańsk. Zagadnienia prawno-publiczne (Gdańsk: Legal-Public Issues; 1926), Prawo narodów (International Law; 1927, 1932, 1948, 1958; the first Polish textbook on international law based on judicial practice), Interpretacje traktatów (Interpretation of Treaties; 1957), and Prawo międzynarodowe (International Law; 1958).

Suggested Reading

Edmund Jan Reyman, ed., “Ehrlich Ludwik,” Encyclopedia nauk politycznych, vol. 2, pp. 16–17 (Warsaw, 1937); Andrzej Śródka and Paweł Szczawiński, eds., “Ehrlich Ludwik,” Biogramy uczonych polskich, vol. 1, Nauki społeczne, pt. 1, pp. 330–332 (Wrocław, Pol., 1983); personal file: Archiwum Akt Nowych (Archive of New Acts; Warsaw), MWRiOP 2372.



Translated from Polish by Karen Auerbach