From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Geheimrat was the title of the highest advising officials at the Imperial, royal or principal courts of the Holy Roman Empire, who jointly formed the Geheimer Rat reporting to the ruler. The English-language equivalent is Privy Councillor.

The office contributing to the state's politics and legislation had its roots in the age of absolutism from the 17th century onwards, when a governmental administration by a dependent bureaucracy was established similar to the French Conseil du Roi. A precursor was the Reichshofrat, a judicial body established by Emperor Maximilian I of Habsburg; in Austria the professional title of a Hofrat (Court Councillor) remained in use as an official title for deserved civil servants up to today. With the Empire's dissolution and the rise of Constitutionalism in the aftermath of the French Revolution, the office of a Geheimrat lost its importance and became an honorific title conferred by the German states upon high officials, accompanied by the address Exzellenz. During that period related titles no longer affiliated with an office arose, like (German) Geheimer Kommerzienrat or (German) Geheimer Medizinalrat, an award for outstanding contributions to medicine.

The title disappeared after the fall of the German Empire in 1918, when the various princely states of Germany were replaced by the constituent states of the Weimar Republic.[citation needed] However many honorees insisted on keeping it and Geheimräte were later again appointed by the Free State of Bavaria.[citation needed] In the Republic of Austria the title was officially abolished in 1919. The title Geheimrat, its abbreviation Geh. Rat and related abbreviations (Geh. Med.-Rat, Geh. Ober-Med.-Rat and even Geh. Hofrat) appears in captions until the 1930s, such as used by the German Federal Archives.[1][2]

Notable Geheimräte[edit]


  1. ^ Bundesarchiv – Picture database: Picture archive
  2. ^ Mitglieder, welchen die Ehrengabe verliehen wurde. Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics; Publisher Springer Berlin / Heidelberg; ISSN 0932-0067 (Print) 1432-0711 (Online); Issue Volume 156, Numbers 1–2 / February, 1933; DOI 10.1007/BF01790506; Page XV;
  3. ^ Österreichische Staatsarchiv (ÖStA) (Austrian State Archives (ÖStA)); Allgemeines Adelsarchiv der österreichischen Monarchie (General Archive of Nobility of the Austrian Monarchy), Author: Karl Friedrich Benjamin Leupold, Publisher: Hoffmeister, Wien (Vienne), 1789, Volume 1, Issue 2, Page 179-184, in German.
  4. ^ Little Jr., DM (1962). "Classical file". Survey of Anesthesiology 6 (3): 351. doi:10.1097/00132586-196206000-00068.