While we often tend to think of the Third Reich as a zone of lawlessness, the Nazi dictatorship and its policies of persecution rested on a legal foundation set in place and maintained by judges, lawyers, and civil servants trained in the law. This volume offers a concise and compelling account of how these intelligent and well-educated legal professionals lent their skills and kwledge to a system of oppression and domination. The chapters address why German lawyers and jurists were attracted to Nazism; how their support of the regime resulted from a combination of ideological conviction, careerist opportunism, and legalistic self-delusion; and whether they were held accountable for their Nazi-era actions after 1945. This book also examines the experiences of Jewish lawyers who fell victim to anti-Semitic measures. The volume will appeal to scholars, students, and other readers with an interest in Nazi Germany, the Holocaust, and the history of jurisprudence.
Alan E. Steinweis is the Miller Distinguished Professor of Holocaust Studies and Director of the Leonard and Carolyn Miller Center for Holocaust Studies at the University of Vermont. His books include Art, Ideology, and Economics in Nazi Germany: The Reich Chambers of Music, Theater, and the Visual Arts (1993); Studying the Jew: Scholarly Antisemitism in Nazi Germany (2006); and Kristallnacht 1938 (2009). In 2011 he held the visiting professorship in Interdisciplinary Holocaust Studies and German-Jewish History at the Fritz Bauer Institute at the University of Frankfurt, Germany. Robert D. Rachlin is Senior Director and General Counsel of Downs Rachlin Martin PLLC, in Burlington, Vermont. He is also a visiting professor at the Vermont Law School and adjunct faculty in the Carolyn and Leonard Miller Center for Holocaust Studies and the Department of German and Russian, University of Vermont. He has published on the Finnish response to the Holocaust, Nazi-era law in Germany, early Vermont history, and American law.