The College of Law Mourns the Passing of Professor Emeritus Peter E. Herzog L’55

Crandall Melvin Professor of Law Emeritus Peter E. Herzog L’55 passed away on Nov. 4, 2020.

Professor Herzog had a distinguished career as a scholar and academic at the College of Law, where he spent 37 years teaching torts, international law, comparative law, and other subjects. He was widely published in these areas, at times with his wife Brigitte Herzog L’75 as a coauthor. He was also a visiting professor at the universities of Paris (Pantheon-Sorbonne), Dijon, and Fribourg. In addition to the Melvin Professorship, Professor Herzog was awarded the Chancellor’s Citation of Academic Excellence.

Born in Vienna, Austria in 1925, Professor Herzog studied at the University of Vienna before coming to the United States, where he earned his undergraduate degree from Hobart College, his LL.B. from the College of Law, and his masters of law from Columbia University. He began his legal career as a New York State deputy assistant attorney general. He then became an assistant attorney general before joining the College of Law as an assistant professor in 1958.

Professor Herzog was a mentor and inspiration to many law students with whom he stayed in touch long after their graduation. He was an avid supporter of the College of Law and our mission, and one permanent reminder of his generosity is the Law Library’s Peter Herzog L’55
and Brigitte Herzog L’75 Special Collections Room
and the Reference Materials collection.

As the College of Law community mourns Professor Herzog, please share your memories and thoughts about him as a friend, colleague, scholar, and mentor by sending them to

“A Gentle Soul With a Brilliant Mind:” Remembering Professor Herzog

Professor Emeritus Peter E. Herzog L’55 and Brigitte Herzog L’75

I have very fond memories of Peter as a teacher, scholar, and friend. He exuded warmth and kindness. Peter had a brilliant mind. He was able to distill complex ideas and make them easily understood. He was a very gracious man and a delight to be around.
—Professor Christian Day

Peter was a gentle soul with a brilliant mind.
—Professor Arlene Kanter

Like others, Peter was my mentor to whom I will be eternally grateful. A man of giant intellect possessed of unsurpassed concern for his students and a charming sense of humor, he conspicuously displayed a sincere humility often lacking in men of such tremendous accomplishment. He will be long remembered and sorely missed.
—Professor Gary Kelder

I grieve Peter’s passing. He had the finest mind of anyone I know. But even better than his mind was his gentle, kind, and loving personality. As a friend and colleague, I miss him.
—Professor Emeritus Travis H.D. Lewin

Peter is probably number one on my all-time list of smartest people. He was Lexis before there was Lexis. You could ask him about a legal point, and he would say in his humble manner, “I believe there was a case on that in New South Wales in 1937. I believe the citation is …” And he would be correct. Peter taught me a lot as my teacher and long-time colleague. My condolences to Brigitte and family.
—Professor Emeritus Thomas Maroney L’63

I had the pleasure and privilege to learn European Union law from Professor Peter Herzog, and I am proud to have followed his footsteps by teaching EU and International Law today. He will be missed, and he contributed tremendously to our community and many students’ careers and futures.
—Professor Cora True-Frost L’01

I can only echo what others have said: Peter was learned, kind, and gentle, a model of what a law school teacher ought to be. We have lost a great and dear colleague. May he rest in peace.
—Professor Emeritus William Wiecek

I first met Professor Herzog in the Fall of 1952 at the law school then situated in an edifice directly southwesterly from the Onondaga County Court House. Our entering class included a cohort of Hobart College alumni (including Bill Burrows, Walt Ferris, and Peter and Ty Parr). What little I knew about Peter as an emigre to the US must have originated from them.

Fast forward to the Spring semester of 1955. We were the only two students in a Labor Law Seminar led by Dean Ralph Kharas. We sat side-byside in front of his desk. Unlike a more rewarding class with Professor Robert Koretz, I can only say that both were most attentive to one another; I must have been a patient listener. As Editor-in-Chief of the Syracuse Law Review, he certainly passed judgment upon the trio of recent decisions I authored.

We had a classmate named Lauren Colby (Aka “Citations Colby” or just “Cites” for short). The meter maids policing prized parking spaces on the Montgomery Street side of the law school did a land-office business issuing overtime parking citations. During our first year, “Cites” owned an old fin-tailed goliath of a car. The next year, he was able to park his newer Crosley between otherwise “legally” positioned parking spaces.

Between classes, all of us would act as cheering witnesses to the tussles between the ticket issuers and law students. Peter’s sotto voice comment to me about “Cites” ingenuity was, “Detroit should know better!”
—Lawrence M. Ginsburg L’55

My condolences to the Herzog family for the loss of Peter. He was a wonderful teacher who opened up my eyes to areas of the law I thought I’d never enjoy. Conflicts immediately come to mind. And, for those of us fortunate alums who had Peter as our teacher, who could ever forget that memorable voice? Thank you, Peter for influencing my life. Thank you for what you did for the College of Law.
—Shelly Kurtz L’67

I graduated from the College of Law in 1969. Professor Herzog taught us Conflicts of Law. To say that he was brilliant is an understatement. Even though my classmates and I were mostly young and wet behind the ears, Professor Herzog’s cultured character and mind were very evident, even to us. May God rest his soul.
—Kevin O’Shea L’69

I had Professor Herzog for Torts and Conflicts and enjoyed both courses. He was an excellent professor and a nice person. My condolences to his wife and family.
—David B. Weisfuse L’73

I had Professor Herzog for first-year torts in 1979. Had a great experience in his class learning about torts and the famous railroad case.
—Jay A. Press L’81

A real loss. He had a wicked and dry sense of humor. A great teacher.
—Bob Genis L’83

Condolences to his family, I took his class back in 1982. —Clifford Feldman L’85

Professor Herzog was a mentor for all of the students in the International Law Concentration and International Legal Studies Certificate Program. His kindness, support, and availability to assist students were unsurpassed. His keen knowledge of Comparative Law and International Organizations made class more of enlightenment than scholarly endeavor.
—Andrew G. Weiss L’87

My condolences to the family. I remember Professor Herzog as my Comparative Law Professor in 1987-1988. It was a very good class. He was an expert on the European Union, and I learned a lot about the law of various states. I also learned through the legal publishing academic world and law writing. The law school community suffered a big loss.
—Ronald Nair L’88

It was an honor to have been taught by Peter. Thank you for your dedication to the law and teaching.
—Elizabeth Morrow L’92

Professor Herzog was sterling intellect, an exceptional talent, and a fine human being—gracious, generous, and congenial. He was more than my teacher. He was my shining north star. I missed him when I graduated and left Syracuse in 1993, and I miss him even more now. Our lives have been made better for having known him. He now belongs to the ages.
—Gerald T. Edwards L’93

Heard the sad news about the passing of Professor Herzog. He was my favorite professor at the College of Law and the central character in my favorite law school story.

It was in Professor Herzog’s Conflicts of Law class, a field in which he was one of America’s leading scholars. Born in Austria, he never lost his accent, and so he had a very distinctive way of speaking, like a German scholar out of central casting. The class before our conflicts class was a legal history class taught by Dean Michael Hoeflich.

As Professor Herzog is discussing a point of comparison between EU and US law, one of the secretaries from the Dean’s office appears in the back of the lecture hall, trying to get Professor Herzog’s attention.

Professor: “Can I help you?”
Secretary: “Dean Hoeflich left his coat here and he has to be in Rochester in two hours for an alumni lunch.”

Professor Herzog sees the coat, picks it up and walks it over to the secretary.

Professor: (in his Austrian accent) “Vell, ve vouldn’t vant the Dean to be coatless ven he goes and begs the alumni for money.”

The secretary gasps while we all start laughing.

Professor: “Vell, that is vaht a Dean does, he goes and begs the alumni for money”.

Rest in peace professor, you touched a lot of our lives.
—Anthony Calabrese L’93

I was sad to hear of the death of Professor Herzog. Back in the fall of 1990, I sat in the front row of Professor Herzog’s Torts class as a 1L. About midway through the semester, after reviewing a series of cases about slips and falls on railroad platforms (you know the cases!!)

Professor Herzog was met with two very different banana peels on his podium! One was old and brown, and the other quite fresh. It was in his moment of recognition about our engagement with what we were reading about, and his obvious pleasure at the gesture, that the wall of separation between professor and 1L students in their first semester began to crumble.

His obvious delight at this attempt at humor helped us see Professor Herzog in a new and very human dimension. This was so wonderfully helpful, and I will always remember it, as well as his warmth and humanity. We were probably in no position to see that earlier in the semester. It informed my law practice and my teaching!

In gratitude for all my professors who informed my practice.
—Bruce Lee-Clark L’93

Professor Herzog was a true intellectual. I still have fond memories of taking his Comparative Law course in my final year at Syracuse. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and wit. Rest in peace.
—Helen Moore L’94

I lived with Peter during my three years at Syracuse. He was a wonderful person and also my Torts professor. Accordingly, my first year Torts class includes some the fondest memories of my time at Syracuse with many funny stories from Peter at the top of the list. I specifically remember the story of recalcitrant donkey that illustrated the doctrine of last clear chance, while the donkey didn’t survive the story, Peter had the entire class in hysterics while learning a lesson I still remember to this day. I was lucky to have had him as a professor and also to have known him as a friend. My deepest sympathies to his family.
—David Moffitt L’96

Professor Herzog was my professor for The Law of the European Community at the College of Law. I could tell as soon as he entered the classroom on the first day that I would like him.

As the semester went on, I was impressed with the breadth and depth of his knowledge and the kindness of his nature.

Through his stories and his teaching, he inspired me to want to study at The Hague Academy of International Law, where he once taught. Eventually, I was able to attend the academy and live in The Hague with my wife and our newly born son.

Professor Herzog was definitely one of those few people that I hoped I could stay close to following studies. I wrote to him asking for mentorship, and he and Brigitte were so kind to me and my family. We went from teacher/student to Professor Herzog being a mentor and friend to me. During visits, we would discuss law, travel, children, their children and grandchildren, and The Hague Academy that was so special to all of us.

Professor Herzog was one of the few favorite professors of mine in my entire life. I am grateful for the time I was with him in class and outside of the classroom, and, for the wisdom that he shared. He was truly a special man and scholar. Professor Herzog was truly a special man and scholar.
—Dominic DePersis L’98