Heinrich Sahm, Berlin 1932
|President of the Senate of the Free City of Danzig|
6 December 1920 – 10 January 1931
|Succeeded by||Ernst Ziehm|
|Mayor of Berlin|
14 April 1931 – 18 December 1935
|Preceded by||Arthur Scholz|
|Succeeded by||Oskar Maretzky|
12 September 1877|
Anklam, Province of Pomerania
3 October 1939 (aged 62)|
Sahm was born in Anklam, present-day Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and educated as a lawyer, in 1906 he became a member of the Magdeburg city council and served from 1912 to 1919 as a deputy mayor of Bochum. In the meantime he also worked in the government of occupied Warsaw during World War I.
In 1919 he was elected mayor of Danzig (Gdańsk), a city that had formerly belonged to the German Empire. In the same year Danzig and the surrounding territory was to be severed from Germany and turned into a city-state according to the Versailles treaty. After the establishment of the Free City of Danzig in 1920, Sahm became first President of the Senate, the de facto head of state beneath the High Commissioner of the League of Nations. Sahm protested against the take-over of the sea resort town (Ostseebad) Westerplatte by the League of Nations and Poland's establishment of a military transport depot. He held the office until 1931, re-elected two times.
While Poland was in charge for Danzig's foreign affairs, citizens had to take on a separate Danzig citizenship or, if they wanted to retain their German citizenship, had to move out of the territory. Sahm politics aimed to strengthen the Free City's ties to the Weimar Republic and to ward off Polish claims; nevertheless the relations with Poland intermittently improved after the implementation of a customs union and the institution of the Danzig gulden in 1923, which protected Danzig from the hyperinflation in Germany. A nonpartisan, he proceeded tactically along party lines, which caused several difficulties in his government and finally led to his overthrow by the Danzig German National People's Party.
In 1931 he became mayor of Berlin, a position he held even after the government takeover of the Nazi Party in 1933, though actually disempowered by the appointment of state commissioner Julius Lippert. Sahm joined the Nazi party in November 1933. He resigned in 1935 and was appointed a German envoy to Norway one year later.
- Joachim Lilla: Der Preußische Staatsrat 1921–1933. Ein biographisches Handbuch. Mit einer Dokumentation der im „Dritten Reich“ berufenen Staatsräte. Droste Verlag, Düsseldorf 2005, p. 234