- Justice Minister of Saxony
- Minister-President of Saxony
Zeigner was born in Erfurt and studied law and economics in Leipzip from 1905 to 1913. After obtaining a doctoral degree, he started working as an assessor in Leipzig’s public prosecutor’s office. In 1918, he was appointed public prosecutor. He joined the SPD and was appointed judge the following year. In 1921, he was appointed Minister of Justice in Minister-President Wilhelm Buck’s cabinet. Zeigner became well known because of his controversial decisions as Saxony’s Minister-President. These included his move in October 1923 to appoint two KPD (Communist Party) politicians to his cabinet. Reichspräsident Friedrich Ebert imposed imperial authority over Saxony and dismissed Zeigner’s SPD-KPD cabinet. Zeigner was accused of political corruption and sentenced to three years in prison. Yet after one year, he was released on parole. After the Nazis seized power, Zeigner was arrested and released several times. In 1944, he was initially imprisoned in Sachsenhausen concentration camp, then transferred to Buchenwald. After the war, he was elected Mayor of Leipzig and became one of the founders of the SED (Socialist Unity Party of Germany) in Leipzig and Saxony.