Manual The Law under the Swastika: Studies on Legal History in Nazi Germany

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Fler böcker av Michael Stolleis
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Until the late s, historians of the Nazi judicial system were mostly judges and administrators from the Nazi era. According to Michael Stolleis, they were reluctant to investigate this legal history and maintained the ideal that law could not be affected by politics. Stolleis seeks to honestly confront the past in the hope of preventing the same injustices from happening in the future.

He studies a wide range of legal fields - constitutional, judicial, agrarian, administrative, civil, and business - arguing that all types of law were affected by the political realities of National Socialism. Moreover, he aims to show that legal traditions were not relinquished immediately with the onset of a new regime. Stolleis demonstrates clearly the continuities between the Nazi period and the postwar period.

The law under National Socialism did not make a complete break with the law during the Weimar Republic, nor did the law of the Federal Republic nullify all of the laws under National Socialism. Through a searching investigation, the book shows how the legal profession and the political regime both reacted to the conditions of the period, and moulded the judicial system accordingly. Breaking the conspiracy of silence held by the justices in the postwar period, Stolleis stresses the importance of researching Nazi law in order to confront ethical problems in the legal profession.

When the Mohammedans attempted to penetrate beyond France into Central Europe during the eighth century, his visitors had told him [Hitler], they had been driven back at the Battle of Tours. Had the Arabs won this battle, the world would be Mohammedan today. For theirs was a religion that believed in spreading the faith by the sword and subjugating all nations to that faith.

The Germanic peoples would have become heirs to that religion.

Such a creed was perfectly suited to the Germanic temperament. Hitler said that the conquering Arabs, because of their racial inferiority, would in the long run have been unable to contend with the harsher climate and conditions of the country. They could not have kept down the more vigorous native, so that ultimately not Arabs but Islamized Germans could have stood at the head of this Mohammedan Empire. To be sure, our knowledge of the ideas about Islam that circulated within the Nazi elite mostly comes from memoirs and postwar testimonies, which must be read with caution. Nonetheless, these accounts draw a remarkably coherent picture of the ideological notions prevalent among the higher echelons of the regime.

Throughout the war years, the Propaganda Ministry repeatedly instructed the press to promote a positive image of Islam. References to similarities between Jews and Muslims, as manifested in the ban of pork and the ritual circumcision, were to be avoided. In the coming months, the Propaganda Ministry decreed that magazines should depict the U. As early as , the Wehrmacht distributed the military handbook Der Islam to train the troops to behave correctly towards Muslim populations.

On the Eastern front, in the Caucasus and in the Crimea, the Germans ordered the rebuilding of mosques and madrasas previously dismantled by Moscow, and the re-establishment of religious rituals and celebrations, with the intention of undermining Soviet rule. German military officials also made extensive efforts to co-opt religious dignitaries in the Eastern territories, the Balkans, and North Africa. Perhaps the most important part of this policy was the recruitment of Muslims into the German armies.

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By the end of November , Berlin had registered , men as dead, wounded, or missing in action — almost a quarter of their entire eastern army. German soldiers, it became clear, could not win the war alone.

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In late , the Wehrmacht began recruiting among prisoners of war and the civilian populations in its eastern occupied territories. In mid, the Eastern Troops numbered more than ,; a year later, that number had doubled, the vast majority were non-Slavic minorities from the southern fringes of the Soviet empire, and many thousands of them were Muslims from the Caucasus, the Crimea, the Volga-Ural region, and Central Asia.

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It became one of the greatest mobilization campaigns of Muslims led by a non-Muslim power in history. This recruitment campaign was not the result of long-term strategy, but a consequence of the shift toward short-term planning after the failure of the Barbarossa plan. Most of the recruits were driven by material interests.

For many of the Muslim volunteers from the Soviet Union who were recruited in prisoner of war camps, a significant incentive was the prospect of pay and better provisions — fighting for the Germans was an attractive prospect compared to the appalling conditions of the camps. Others, most notably Muslim recruits from the civilian population in the Balkans and the Crimea, hoped to protect their families and villages from partisans.

Some were driven into the German ranks by ideology, nationalism, religious hatred, and anti-Bolshevism. Under the banner of the swastika, the volunteers believed that they would be supporting the fight against Bolshevism or British imperialism and for the liberation of their countries from foreign rule. The Germans, for their part, did everything they could to play up the potential ideological motives of their foreign helpers.

We have common aims. There is no more solid basis for cooperation than common aims and common ideals. For years, Germany has not had the slightest conflict with Islam. German army officials granted their Muslim recruits a wide range of concessions, taking into account the Islamic calendar and religious laws such as ritual slaughter.

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A prominent role in the units was played by military imams, who were responsible not only for spiritual care but also for political indoctrination. In the end, Muslim units were employed in Stalingrad, Warsaw, and Milan, and in the defense of Berlin. On all fronts, Muslim soldiers kept fighting until the end. Only in the chaos of the last months of the war, when all hopes for a German victory were shattered, did it become difficult to maintain morale and discipline in the units.

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The number of desertions rose. Soldiers left individually and in groups, or simply did not return from furlough. Others engaged in acts of self-mutilation to enforce discharge. In the East, Moscow saw the collaboration of all those who had fought in German units as high treason.

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Eventually, they turned the legionnaires over to the Red Army. The extradition began in the summer of and was accompanied by dramatic scenes. Dozens jumped from moving trains. As they docked in Odessa, many leaped from the deportation ships into the Black Sea; some committed suicide.