- Jurist and author
Alsberg studied law in Munich, Berlin, Leipzig and Bonn, obtaining a doctoral degree (“Dr. jur. ab”). In 1906, he set up law office in Berlin; later on, he gained a license as a notary public as well. He became very well known as a criminal defense lawyer for a lot of celebrities. Among other clients, he defended the deposed Kaiser Wilhelm II and the businessman Hugo Stinnes. In 1920, he defended the German National People’s Party’s (DNVP) politician Karl Helfferich against Finance Minister Matthias Erzberger, who was accusing Helfferich of defamation. The lawsuit attracted a great deal of attention. In 1931, together with other criminal defense lawyers, he defended Carl von Ossietzky, the editor of Die Weltbühne, against the accusation of high treason. In the same year, Alsberg was appointed honorary professor at the University of Berlin. Yet when the Nazis seized power in 1933, his career ended abruptly. Due to his Jewish background, he was stripped of his license as a notary public and was about to lose his job as a professor. Fleeing racial persecution, Alsberg emigrated to Switzerland. With his life ruined, he committed suicide in an act of desperation in September 1933.