Postscript: Court convicts Auschwitz guard, 94, of accessory to murder

Note: Due to its layout using tables, this particular blog cannot be properly viewed on your smart-phone.
In advance I would like to apologize because I am not a professional translator. So I had my troubles with the one or the other term i.e. “Auschwitz-guard”, “On-site security guard”, “guard”, ….. well, these men were the perversion of a security guard. We all know this and therefore I see no need to further discuss it.

When I am doing a translation, I prefer to directly confront every passage with the original, so that the reader may reconstruct my translation. Either way, it puts me into the problematic position, that I am publishing a text which isn’t mine. I have to fully credit the translated report to the original Author, Per Hinrichs, and I dearly hope he won’t come after me for putting this in my blog.

Das wohl letzte Auschwitz-Urteil ist gefällt

The probably last verdict has been delivered

Beihilfe zum Mord in mindestens 170.000 Fällen: In Detmold ist ein 94-jähriger ehemaliger KZ-Wachmann verurteilt worden. Die Richterin räumte in ihrer Begründung mit einem Berg an Mythen auf.

Author: Per Hinrichs

Source: http://www.welt.de/politik/deutschland/article156322122/Das-wohl-letzte-Auschwitz-Urteil-ist-gefaellt.html
2016/06/17

Accessory to murder in 170.000 cases: In the German city Detmold a 94 year old former KZ-guard has been sentenced. In her reason given for the judgement, the judge unambiguously counteracts myths.

Translation: Yael Schlichting

Das historische Urteil ergeht um 14.07 Uhr. Da erfährt der 94-jährige Reinhold Hanning aus dem westfälischen Lage, dass er für fünf Jahre ins Gefängnis soll – für Taten, die mehr als 70 Jahre zurückliegen: Der Angeklagte war von 1942 bis 1944 als Unteroffizier bei den Wachmannschaften im Vernichtungslager in Auschwitz eingesetzt. The historic ruling is inacted at 14:08 o’clock. At this time, the 94 year old Reinhold Hanning, from the westphalian Lage, learns, that he shall go to jail for five years – for crimes, which happened more than 70 years ago: Between 1942 and 1944 the defendant was deployed as sergeant within the on-site security guard in Auschwitz.
Er ist einer der letzten noch lebenden einstigen SS-Angehörigen, die noch angeklagt werden konnten. He is one of the last SS-members, still alive, who could be tried.
Das Urteil könnte das tatsächlich letzte sein, das zu Auschwitz gefällt wurde. Bei drei weiteren Beschuldigten in Deutschland ist unklar, ob sie verhandlungsfähig sind. The sentence indeed could be the last ever, to be passed in connection to the Auschwitz cause. For three more defendants, who are living in Germany, it is unclear whether they are fit to stand trial
Im Mittelpunkt des Verfahrens, bei dem die Beweislage eindeutig war und der Angeklagte seine Beteiligung an den Verbrechen auch gestand, schwebte immer das hohe Alter Hannings, verbunden mit der Frage, ob es sinnvoll sei, einem so alten Mann den Prozess zu machen. While the evidence was unequivocal and the defendant had admitted his participation in the crime, the Hanning’s advanced age, tied to the question, if it was meaningful to try such an old man had always been in the center of the trial.
Doch dies sei “keine juristische Frage”, stellte die Richterin Anke Grudda klar. Angesichts des Tatvorwurfs “war das Verfahren zu eröffnen”, da Mord nicht verjähre und der Angeklagte verhandlungsfähig sei. Die Staatsanwaltschaft forderte sechs Jahre Haft, die Verteidigung einen Freispruch. But the judge, Anke Grudda, made it clear that this was “not a judicial question”. In the face of the accusation “the trial had to be opened”, since murder didn’t fall under the statue of limitation. The prosecution demanded six years imprisonment while the defense pleaded for acquittal.

After WWII, in Germany murder was under a 20 year statute of limitation. This meant, that murder committed during the Nazi-era could only be prosecuted until 1965. Hence in 1969 Germany adopted legislation that dropped the statute of limitation for murder. (see: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verj%C3%A4hrungsdebatte unfortunately the quality of de.wikipedia is so bad that it generally cannot be viewed as quotable. You may want to refer to “The West German Statute of Limitations on Murder: A Political, Legal, and Historical Expositionhttps://www.jstor.org/stable/840011 If you register, the article can be read OnLine for free)

“Rechtmäßiges Denken und Handeln war auch damals möglich”

Rightful thinking and action was possible at that time”

Grudda zertrümmerte in ihrer Urteilsbegründung die Mythen, die sich über Auschwitz und die fehlende justizielle Aufarbeitung des Massenmords aufgetürmt hatten. “Polizei, Justiz und Gesellschaft wollten sich nicht mit dem Holocaust beschäftigen”, so Grudda, alle Institutionen hätten bei diesem Thema “versagt”. Dieses Versäumnis hätte die Kammer natürlich nicht aufarbeiten können, die Richter hatten nur die individuelle Schuld des Angeklagten zu prüfen.

Giving her reasons for the judgement, judge Grudda smashed the myths that piled up on Auschwitz and the lack of prosecution. “Police, justice and society didn’t want to deal with the Holocaust”, Grudda said, all institutions had “failed” regarding to this issue. Of course the Chamber couldn’t process all this, it only had to investigate the defendant’s individual guilt.

Und der machte sich nach Auffassung der Kammer schuldig. Selbst wenn man berücksichtige, dass Hanning als junger Mann der NS-Propaganda ausgesetzt war und es nicht so viele Möglichkeiten gab, sich zu informieren, so wusste er doch, was er tat: “Es ist nicht so, dass Sie keine Wahl gehabt hätten”, sagte Grudda an Hanning gewandt. “Rechtmäßiges Denken und Handeln war auch damals möglich”, so die Richterin.

And according to the Chamber, the defendant apparently committed a crime. Even if one considers the circumstance that, as a young man, Hanning was exposed to NS-propaganda and that there weren’t many opportunities to catch up, neverless, he knew what he did: “It’s not that you didn’t have a choice”, said judge Grudda speaking to Hanning directly. “Rightful thinking and action was possible at that time”, the judge said.

Jeder SS-Mann, der in Auschwitz eingesetzt war, habe gewusst, was dort passierte. “Auch Sie wussten es, Sie haben mit Ihren Kameraden gesprochen”, so Grudda. Die Kammer habe keinerlei Zweifel, dass Hanning als Gruppenführer in der Wachmannschaft auch an der Rampe Dienst versah, an der die Deportationszüge eintrafen.

Every SS-member, deployed in Auschwitz, knew what was going on. “You also knew it. You spoke with your comrades”, judge Grudda said. The Chamber had NO* doubt, that as a SS junior squad leader** of the on-site security guard, he also had to render service at the ramp where the deportation-trains arrived.

*) I wrote “NO” in capital letters to highlight the fact that the Chamber was convinced. These matters already have been handled exhaustively AND proven during the Auschwitz Trials in 1963 in Frankfurt.

**) I find the translation of Gruppenführer to SS lieutenant general somewhat problematic. The term SS lieutenant general doesn’t mean the rank of a lieutenant general as we would assume it in modern armies. The translation “SS lieutenant general” applies a historic term. The defendant indeed had the rank of a sergeant. But viewed from the perspective of a victim, these men arrogated undisputed almightiness. These people decided over life and death and in most parts they favored death and along with that also committed numerous other abhorrent crimes.
So I finally found that the correct rank of the defendant was “SS-Unterscharführer”, which translates to “SS junior squad leader” and later I applied this translation to the above section.

Hanning bestreitet,
an der Rampe gewesen zu sein

Hanning denies,
having served at the ramp

Er musste die entkräfteten Frauen, Kinder und Männer gesehen haben, die dort zum größten Teil sofort in die Gaskammern getrieben wurde. “Sie waren ein willfähriger und effizienter Gefolgsmann” sagte Grudda. Juristisch förderte er als “Rädchen in der Maschine” das “Geschehen insgesamt” und sei daher zu verurteilen gewesen. He must have seen the enfeebled women, children and men, who, for the most part, immediately have been chased to the gas chambers. “You have been a compliant and efficient henchman”, Grudda said. Judicially, as “a little wheel in the gearbox” he supported the “overall events” and therefore had to be convicted.
Hanning betritt zwar, an der Rampe gewesen zu sein. Die Richter halten das aber für “völlig abwegig”, er habe sehr wohl gesehen, wie “die Menschen in die Gaskammer getrieben wurden, wie andere verhungerten und erschossen wurden”, so Grudda. Though Hanning denied having served at the ramp, the judges consider this as “totally absurd”. Of course he had seen how “the people were chased into the gas chambers, how others starved to death or* were shot”, judge Grudda said

*) I am translating to “or” instead of “and”, because I do not believe that the victims were starved and shot at the same time. So in logical terms it must be an “or”.

Hanning selbst blieb in seiner Einlassung vor wenigen Wochen blass und unpräzise, im Gegensatz zu den Zeugenaussagen der Überlebenden, die das Grauen, das ihnen widerfuhr, schilderten. “70 Jahre lang haben Sie sich mit Ihrer Schuld eingerichtet, bis Sie vor zwei Jahren mit dem Ermittlungsverfahren konfrontiert wurden”, so die Richterin. “Sie haben geschwiegen, entweder aus Reue oder aus Scham. Wir haben den Menschen Reinhold Hanning hier nicht kennengelernt.” Hanning himself remained in his defense pale and imprecise, on the contrary to the witness accounts who depicted the the terror they suffered. “For 70 years you arranged yourself with your guilt, until you’ve been confronted with it, two years ago, in the course of the preliminary proceedings”, the Judge stated. “You kept silent either of remorse or of shame. Here we didn’t get to know the person Reinhold Hanning.

“Davon erholen Sie sich nicht”

You will not recover from this”

Grudda zeigte sich aber zuversichtlich, dass das Verfahren nicht ohne Spuren an dem früheren SS-Unterscharführer vorbeigezogen ist. Die erhebliche mediale Präsenz und die Verhandlungstage hätten ihm “zugesetzt”, so die Vorsitzende. “Davon erholen Sie sich nicht.”

Judge Grudda appeared confident, that the proceedings didn’t pass the former SS junior squad leader without a trace. The extensive media coverage during the hearings afflicted him, so the chief judge. “You will not recover from this.

Eine angemessene Strafe sei nicht zu finden gewesen, sagte die Richterin. Sie könne “garnicht hoch genug ausfallen, nichts erscheint uns angemessen”, so Grudda. Gleichwohl betonte sie, dass Hanning nicht als Ausgleich für Tausende Täter, die straffrei ausgingen, symbolisch zur Rechenschaft gezogen werden könne. Mit seiner Einlassung hätte der Auschwitz-Wachmann nun einen “ersten Schritt” zur persönlichen Aufarbeitung getan. “Sie haben ihr Leben unbehelligt führen können”, so Grudda. “Die Opfer leiden bis heute unter der Hölle von Auschwitz.”

The judge stated that it wasn’t possible to find an appropriate sentence. “It couldn’t be high enough. To us nothing appears appropriate.” judge Grudda said. Nonetheless she emphasized Hanning wasn’t tried as a compensation for thousands of perpetrators who remained unpunished. With his accounts, the Auschwitz-guard made a “first step” towards a personal rehabilitation. “You were able to live your life unchallenged.”, judge Grudda said. “The victims suffer from the Auschwitz-hell to date.

Regungslos ließ sich Hanning nach der Urteilsverkündung im Rollstuhl aus dem Saal fahren. Sollte das Urteil rechtskräftig werden, müsste er auch für die Verfahrenskosten aufkommen, die eine hohe sechsstellige Summe erreicht haben. Seine Anwälte wollen nun prüfen, ob sie gegen das Urteil Revision einlegen.

After the pronouncement of the sentence, a motionless Hanning was brought out of the courtroom in his wheelchair. In the event the sentence becomes effective, Hanning will also have to defray the cost of the proceedings. His attorneys now want to examine, if they shall appeal the sentence.

You will not recover from this” Judge Grudde makes it clear, that she is well aware, what it meant to the 94year old defendant who publicly has been deconstructed as an accessory to murder, a coward and a liar – a completely dishonorable character.

Judge Grudda is not the only one who is deeply uneasy with Germany’s coming to terms with regards to the Nazi-era. On the one side she gives us an idea that she is also unhappy with Radbruch formula (See Appendix A). Radbruch’s essay may have been groundbreaking 70 years ago (he wrote it in 1946), but he fell short, when propagating Utilitarianism in legislation. Particularly in Germany, where the Radbruch formula is highly valued, this lead to an immense number of laws which may be practical but aren’t good. German institutions and society have built a system to formally forgive themselves but they fell short in substance. Instead of coming to terms, they exercised denial and ignorance.

I personally have come to the following description of the problem.

There weren’t millions of “Reinhold Hannings” but there were many thousands if not tens of thousands! And these thousands being a compliant utility to murder, mass murder, massacres, torture, rape, displacement, kidnapping (in the true sense of the word) and lots of other crimes against humanity, were just one aspect of the comprehensive crime and the total breakdown of morality.

  • There are the people who chanted on the streets, when Jews were chased to the deportation trains in public and in broad daylight!
  • There were the “private concentration camps” operated by private industrial conglomerates which used slave workers to maintain wartime economy. There are even a few photos of starving slave workers on the streets in German cities. I have seen them, too.
  • There were the neighbors who turned in other neighbors, blackening them as being dissident, gay, Jewish or something else to get them persecuted by the regime.
  • There was the euthanasia-program and given the fact, that more than every 100th child ( > 1% of all children) suffer a major neurological, orthopedic or internal disorder, everybody at least knew someone who had a child or relative who disappeared respectively has been murdered.
  • There was the NS-propaganda and every decent person instantly could identify this as abhorrently obscene.

Immediately after the war Germans started to build their private myths to explain why and how they couldn’t have noticed anything, couldn’t have known anything, couldn’t have been involved…..

While in Western Germany high ranking white-collar perpetrators were reinstated immediately after the war in order to provide leadership in the government and in important industries, others remained totally unchallenged (e.g. the Quandt-family), in the German Democratic Republic the former Nazis got absolution by just signing a document in which they declared that they had renounced the Nazi-ideology and then they were immediately admitted to join the SED (the Socialist Unity Party of Germany).

She happily smiles - Eight children killed - so many? Great! What a brute?!
An arte-documentary on just one of many cases.
Click on the image to see the video
https://youtu.be/FpQpgd_EeWY

On the other side, middle-class, the bourgeois and the working class citizens etc, the brainless followers, even the intelligentsia, even philosophers like Martin Heidegger, tried to cover up, invented myths, obfuscate the obvious and built new life and new narratives based on lies which weren’t less obscene than the truth was abhorrent. The less they knew the more they have been involved and this involvement persisted into the present, as exactly these people reiterated their slurs about Jews, that the Jews owned and controlled everything, that the Jews corrupted everything in the government, in the banking system and in the media……. etc.

It is hard to sort this out, when you’ve been nurtured with these lies during your childhood, when it actually was obvious that your father must have been in the Hitler Youth, but never looses a word on it and when your mother, whose family failed to proof Aryan ancestry, was much easier telling about her miserable childhood.

In German schools you learn next nothing about that history. History lessons at German schools teach next to nothing about the 19th and 20th century. They waste years on ancient history and handle WWI, the Nazi-era and WWII within a few months. Only recently a friend of mine told me that his daughters class had scheduled a trip to the notorious Dachau concentration camp for Fat Thursday, a day where German carnival reaches its fewer pitch, and most of her classmates turned up in fancy dresses. It’s off limit, but there is no conscienceless or sensitivity to that matter among wide parts of today’s teaching staffs and particularly among the general population. (If you live in Upper-Bavaria, you usually visit Dachau for the obligatory study trip to a concentration camp)

The truth about the Nazi-era is shocking and dismaying and it leaves no one untouched. Once you learn the truth, it leaves you deeply unsettled and mentally affected. This is the truth. I had better times and I was mentally absolutely robust, but I couldn’t listen the audiobook “The Investigation”. It left me terrified. And I insinuate, that every person who posseses a reasonable mental health status will be left in the same sentiment. No matter, if you inject him/her with the truth about the Shoa or about the Arab/Islamic persecution of their Jewish minorities or the Arab persecution of the Yazidi people……

So how can a society like this ever find redemption, if there is no truth. Without truth there won’t be any justice and rehabilitation and without justice there won’t be a life after. Germans in general still are stuck with their guilt and most didn’t reach a level of responsibility. Speeches, memorials and the so called commemorative culture doesn’t fix it, because most Germans don’t understand what to commemorate. They neither know the facts nor do they understand their quality.

This is the conclusion made in the very first passage of the article when the Author writes:

Giving her reasons for the judgement, judge Grudda smashed the myths that piled up on Auschwitz and the lack of prosecution. Police, justice and society didn’t want to deal with the Holocaust, Grudda said, all institutions had “failed” regarding to this issue. Of course the Chamber couldn’t process all this, it only had to investigate the defendant’s individual guilt.

In this context, Auschwitz is just representing all the other camps and nameless crimes committed by Germans (and Austrians and other Europeans) in general during the Nazi-era, no matter, if they personally committed the crimes, made themselves an accessory to or whether they just kept silent although they knew what happened.

Well, another answer to the question for redemption is the creation of an all-embracing universal lie as an alternative to the bitter truth. Writing this conclusion, I remember the moment when the Arab taxi driver in Yerushalayim tried to inject me his narrative of the immigration of indigenous Arab Jews from their Arab homes to Israel. And finally we end up in complete denial of proven facts, in conspiracy theories like the gas chambers and the ovens* were a fabrication only built afterwards by the Americans or, as we see it today with Ken Livingstone who, as one of many, suggests, that both, Jews and Hitler even collaborated, thus planting the responsibility for the Holocaust would lie with the victims – blame the victim!
*) The company “J. A. Topf & Söhne” even filed for a patent for a “Continuously operating corpse-burning-oven for high volume uninterrupted service”

Appendix A

Quelle / Resource
http://www.uni-potsdam.de/fileadmin/projects/jur-zimmermann/LV_2010_2011/Koll_Radbruch_Aufsatz-SJZ_1946__105.pdf
Übersetzung ins Englische / Translation to English: Yaëlle Schlichting

Gustav Radbruch:

Gesetzliches Unrecht und Übergesetzliches Recht

Gustav Radbruch:

Statutory Lawlessness and Supra-Statutory Law

Süddeutsche Juristenzeitung 1946, S.

Der Positivismus hat in der Tat mit seiner Überzeugung »Gesetz ist Gesetz« den deutschen Juristenstand wehrlos gemacht gegen Gesetze willkürlichen und verbrecherischen Inhalts. Dabei ist der Positivismus gar nicht in der Lage, aus eigener Kraft die Geltung von Gesetzen zu begründen. Er glaubt, die Geltung eines Gesetzes schon damit erwiesen zu haben, daß es die Macht besessen hat, sich durchzusetzen. Aber auf Macht läßt sich vielleicht ein Müssen, aber niemals ein Sollen und Gelten gründen. Dieses läßt sich vielmehr nur gründen auf einen Wert,der dem Gesetz innewohnt. Freilich: einen Wert führt schon jedes positive Gesetz ohne Rücksicht auf seinen Inhalt mit sich: es ist immer noch besser als kein Gesetz, weil es zum mindestenRechtssicherheit schafft.

Positivism with its creed »Law is Law« indeed has made the German booth of Jurists defenseless against laws with arbitrary and criminal content. Though positivism is not able at all to justify the validity of laws out of its own power. It believes, a laws justification was already proofed since it had the power to establish itself. But maybe an obligation can be instituted on such power, but never an intrinsic ought and validity. In fact these two only can be established on the intrinsic value of the law. Of course every positive law carries a value regardless of its content: Still such a law is better than no law, since it creates stability of law.

Aber Rechtssicherheit ist nicht der einzige und nicht der entscheidende Wert, den das Recht zuverwirklichen hat. Neben die Rechtssicherheit treten vielmehr zwei andere Werte: Zweckmäßigkeit und Gerechtigkeit. In der Rangordnung dieser Werte haben wir die Zweckmäßigkeit des Rechts für das Gemeinwohl an die letzte Stelle zu setzen. Keineswegs ist Recht alles das, »was dem Volke nützt«, sondern dem Volke nützt letzten Endes nur, was Recht ist, was Rechtssicherheit schafft und Gerechtigkeit erstrebt. Die Rechtssicherheit, die jedem positiven Gesetz schon wegen seiner Positivität eignet, nimmt eine merkwürdige Mittelstellung zwischen Zweckmäßigkeit und Gerechtigkeit ein:sie ist einerseits vom Gemeinwohl gefordert, andererseits aber auch von der Gerechtigkeit

But stability of law is not the only and not the essential value to be materialized by a law. Besides stability of law two other values come into effect: Practicality and Justice. In their hierarchy of these values, we are to assign practicality of law to common welfare at the lowest position. By no means everything that is considered »to the advantage of the peoples«, but after all only what is lawful, establishes stability of law and strives for justice, will be to the advantage of the peoples. Stability of law, which every positive law posses due to its positivity takes a peculiar middle position between practicality and justice: On the one hand it is demanded by the common welfare, on the other hand also from the cause of justice.

Daß das Recht sicher sei, daß es nicht heute und hier so, morgen und dort anders ausgelegt und angewandt werde, ist zugleich eine Forderung der Gerechtigkeit. Wo ein Widerstreit zwischen Rechtssicherheit und Gerechtigkeit, zwischen einem inhaltlich anfechtbaren, aber positiven Gesetz und zwischen einem gerechten, aber nicht in Gesetzesform gegossenen Recht entsteht, liegt in Wahrheit ein Konflikt der Gerechtigkeit mit sich selbst, ein Konflikt zwischen scheinbarer und wirklicher Gerechtigkeit vor. Diesen Konflikt bringt großartig das Evangelium zum Ausdruck, indem es einerseits befiehlt: »Seid untertan der Obrigkeit, die Gewalt über euch hat«, und doch andererseits gebietet, »G’tt mehr zu gehorchen als den Menschen«.

The stability and reliability of law, that it is not today and here the one and tomorrow another interpretation and application, also is a requirement of justice. In case of conflict between stability of law and justice, between a substantially disputable, but positive law and a just but not written law, in truth lies a an inner conflict of justice, a conflict between alleged and true justice. This conflict is brilliantly depicted by the gospel, when it commands: »Be subordinated to the authorities« and contrariwise commands, »to obey to G-d before humans«.

Der Konflikt zwischen der Gerechtigkeit und der Rechtssicherheit dürfte dahin zu lösen sein, daß das positive, durch Satzung und Macht gesicherte Recht auch dann den Vorrang hat, wenn es inhaltlich ungerecht und unzweckmäßig ist, es sei denn, daß der Widerspruch des positiven Gesetzes zur Gerechtigkeit ein so unerträgliches Maß erreicht, daß das Gesetz als »unrichtiges Recht« der Gerechtigkeit zu weichen hat. Es ist unmöglich, eine schärfere Linie zu ziehen zwischen den Fällen des gesetzlichen Unrechts und den trotz unrichtigen Inhalts dennoch ‘geltenden Gesetzen; eine andere Grenzziehung aber kann mit aller Schärfe vorgenommen werden: wo Gerechtigkeit nicht einmal erstrebt wird, wo die Gleichheit, die den Kern der Gerechtigkeit ausmacht, bei der Setzung positiven Rechts bewußt verleugnet wurde, da ist das Gesetz nicht etwa nur »unrichtiges Recht«, vielmehr entbehrt es überhaupt der Rechtsnatur. Denn man kann Recht, auch positives Recht, gar nicht anders definieren denn als eine Ordnung und Satzung, die ihrem Sinn nach bestimmt ist, der Gerechtigkeit zu dienen.

The conflict between justice and stability of law ought to be resolved by prioritizing a positive, through statute and power secured law, even if it is unjust and unpractical unless the contradiction of this positive law to justice reaches an unbearable extent, that such law has to give way to justice, as it is a distinguished »incorrect law«. It is impossible to draw a clearer line between the cases of statutory lawlessness and despite incorrect content still ‘applicable law’; though by all its severity a different demarcation shall be taken: where justice is not even intended, where egality, which represents the core of justice intentionally has been denied when the it has been set, in such case, a law not only is »incorrect law«, it lacks every quality of law. For there is no other way to define law, also positive law, but as an order or statute which is intended to serve justice by its sense.

An diesem Maßstab gemessen sind ganze Partien nationalsozialistischen Rechts niemals zur Würde geltenden Rechts gelangt. Die hervorstechendste Eigenschaft in Hitlers Persönlichkeit, die von ihm aus auch zum Wesenszuge des ganzen nationalsozialistischen »Rechts« geworden ist, war sein völliger Mangel an Wahrheitssinn und Rechtssinn: weil ihm jeder Wahrheitssinn fehlte, konnte er dem jeweils rednerisch Wirksamen ohne Scham und Skrupel den Akzent der Wahrheit geben; weil ihm jeder Rechtssinn fehlte, konnte er ohne Bedenken die krasseste Willkür zum Gesetz erheben. Am Anfang seiner Herrschaft stand jenes Sympathie-Telegramm an die Potempa-Mörder, am Ende die grauenhafte Entehrung der Märtyrer des 20. Juli 1944. Schon anläßlich des Potempa-Urteils hatte Alfred Rosenberg im »Völkischen Beobachter« die Theorie dazu geliefert: Mensch sei nicht gleich Mensch, und Mord sei nicht gleich Mord; die Ermordung des Pazifisten Jaurès sei in Frankreich mit Recht anders bewertet worden als der Mordversuch an dem Nationalisten Clemenceau; ein Täter, der aus vaterländischen Motiven gefehlt hat, könne unmöglich derselben Strafe unterworfen werden, wie ein anderer, dessen Beweggründe sich (nach nationalsozialistischer Auffassung) gegen das Volk richten.

Measured at this criteria, whole batches of National Socialist law never gained the honor to be applicable law. The most outstanding property of Hitlers personality, the trait, he also affixed onto the whole National Socialistic law, was his total deprivation of any sense for truth and justice: Because he lacked every sense for truth, he had the ability to give the accent of truth to anything rhetorically effective without shame and scruple. Because his total deprivation of any sense for justice he had the ability to unscrupulously sign even the most blatant arbitrariness into law. At the beginning of his rule there is that telegram of sympathy addressed to the Potempa-murderers*, at the end, the atrocious dishonoring of the martyrs of July 20th 1944. Already on the occasion of the Potempa-Rule, Alfred Rosenbert in »Völkischen Beobachter« furnished the theory, that human does not equal human and murder does not equal murder; The murder of the pacifist Jaurès lawfully has been rated differently, in France than the attempted murder to the nationalist Clemenceau; a perpetrator who failed in dedication for his country, impossibly can subjected to the same punishment as another whose motives (according to National Socialistic anticipation) acted against the peoples.

Damit war von vornherein ausgesprochen, daß nationalsozialistisches »Recht« sich der wesensbestimmenden Anforderung der Gerechtigkeit, der gleichen Behandlung des Gleichen, zu entziehen gewillt war. Infolgedessen entbehrt es insoweit überhaupt der Rechtsnatur, ist nicht etwa unrichtiges Recht, sondern überhaupt kein Recht. Das gilt insbesondere von den Bestimmungen, durch welche die nationalsozialistische Partei entgegen dem Teilcharakter jeder Partei die Totalität des Staates für sich beanspruchte. Der Rechtscharakter fehlt weiter allen jenen Gesetzen, die Menschen als Untermenschen behandelten und ihnen die Menschenrechte versagten. Ohne Rechtscharakter sind auch alle jene Strafdrohungen, die ohne Rücksicht auf die unterschiedliche Schwere der Verbrechen, nur geleitet von momentanen Abschreckungsbedürfnissen, Straftaten verschiedenster Schwere mit der gleichen Strafe, häufig mit der Todesstrafe, bedrohten. Alles das sind nur Beispiele gesetzlichen Unrechts.

Therewith it was pronounced from the first, that National Socialistic »law« was intended to abscond from the constituting requirements of Justice and equal treatment of equals. Consequently insofar it generally lacks quality of law, not even incorrect law, but no law at all. In particular this is effective for those regulations, in which the National Socialistic party which, in contradiction to the particulate character of every political party, claimed totality of state for itself. Furthermore the quality of law is absent in all laws which treat humans as subhuman beings and deny human rights. Also without quality of law, are those threats of punishments which are made irrespectively of the severity of a crime, only guided by the desideratum to deter crimes of most different severity with the same threat of punishment, mostly with capital punishment. All these are only examples of statutory lawlessness.

Es darf nicht verkannt werden – gerade nach den Erlebnissen jener zwölf Jahre -, welche furchtbaren Gefahren für die Rechtssicherheit der Begriff des »gesetzlichen Unrechts«, die Leugnung der Rechtsnatur positiver Gesetze mit sich bringen kann. Wir müssen hoffen, daß ein solches Unrecht eine einmalige Verirrung und Verwirrung des deutschen Volkes bleiben werde, aber für alle möglichen Fälle haben wir uns durch die grundsätzliche Überwindung des Positivismus, der jegliche Abwehrfähigkeit gegen den Mißbrauch nationalsozialistischer Gesetzgebung entkräftete, gegen die Wiederkehr eines solchen Unrechtsstaates zu wappnen.

It must not be misconceived – particularly after the experiences of that twelve years – what terrible dangers to stability of law can be brought about through the concept of »statutory lawlessness«, the denial of quality of law of positive laws. We must hope, that such lawlessness, remains a unique confusion and confusion of the German peoples, but for all possible cases we have to be prepared against the return of such a lawless state, by on principle overcoming positivism, which is disabling all defense against abuse of National Socialistic legislation.

*) I am sorry, again I end up referring you to Jstor: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4545804 you may also look at http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/modern-world-history-1918-to-1980/weimar-germany/the-potempa-murder-of-1932/

Note: Jstor want’s to earn money, so they become a bit confusing presenting you a big ad to purchase a subscription, but if you scroll down, you may find the link to the article.