- Bavarian Minister of Justice
- Reich Minister of Justice 1931-1941
After completing secondary education, Gürtner studied law at the University of Munich. In 1911, he became public prosecutor for the Munich I Land Court. He was then appointed Munich District Court judge in 1912. After serving in the war as a reserve officer, he took back on the position of public prosecutor and, later, became a Land Court director. In 1922, he was appointed Bavarian State Minister of Justice. In this function, he was often lenient in the prosecution of politically motivated crimes committed by right-wing extremists. In this vein, he played a key role in the early pardoning of Adolf Hitler in December 1924. In 1932, he joined Chancellor Franz von Papen’s cabinet as Minister of Justice - an office he was to stay in under Schleicher and Hitler. In the Third Reich, he strived to uphold the principles of the rule of law. Despite his critical attitude towards the regime’s law-breaking practices, he did support the system in the end, as demonstrated by his work in the government.