I. Buildings Integral to the Former Life and/or Persecution of Jews in Hamburg - Neustadt/St. Pauli.
© Wilhelm Mosel, Deutsch-jüdische Gesellschaft Hamburg.
22. No. 3 Sievekingplatz.
In todays Strafjustizgebäude (Criminal Justice Building), built in 1882, a part of the larger law courts complex, between 1936 and 1943, legal proceedings were held in cases of so-called "Rassenschande" (racial dishonour).
In Hamburg, during these 8 years, 429 individuals were accused and convicted for coming into conflict with Paragraph 2 of the so-called "Blutschutzgesetze" ("Blood Protection Act") (The Act of 15.09.1935 to "protect German blood and German honour". Following this Act marriages were forbidden between "Jews" and "German" nationals or those with "artverwandten" ("generically related blood"). Extramarital contact between these groups of people was also forbidden.) Addititionally, during the same period, judicial enquiries were carried out against 1,150 individuals on the suspicion of "Rassenschande" ("racial dishonour"). In Hamburg, between 1936 and 1943, around 1,580 individuals were investigated by the police and prosecuted in the courts under Paragraph 2 of the so-called "Blutschutzgesetze" ("Blood Protection Act").
However, the actual number of individuals affected by the application of Paragraph 2 of the
"Blutschutzgesetze" was much greater. In practically all cases it was Jewish women who
had "unlawful" relationships with non-Jewish men, or who were suspected of so having, who were
arrested and held in prison for days or weeks. The non-Jewish women, who had alleged
or actual relationships with Jewish men, and who were investigated, some being detained by
the police, are not recorded.
At the beginning of December 1935 the public prosecutor in the Hamburg district court proposed the establishment of a special court for criminal cases involving the "Blutschutzgesetze", to achieve a standard administration of justice of a clearly formulated law. This proposal lead the presidency of the district court, in a resolution, to allocate the large Division 6 of the criminal court for such proceedings.
Around the same time a "Rassenschande-Dezernat der Staatsanwaltschaft" (department of the public prosecutor's office for "Rassenschande" (racial dishonour)) was established in the criminal court building. At the end of 1937 the president of the Oberlandesgerichts (OLG) Provincial High Court and Court of Appeal, Dr. Curt Rothenberger focused his attention on the proceedings held before Division 6 of the criminal court. At the end of 1938 he requested to be submitted documentation of all future verdicts in "Rassenschande" cases. This affected such judgements as judges presiding over such cases knew that their verdicts were scrutinized by Rothenberger, feared his critism and that he determined their chances of promotion. Personnel policy also played its part in the judgement of such cases. Rothenberger promoted young lawyers, even when the professional qualifications of certain individuals were inadequate. For example, in 1939, a 35 year old Landgerichtsrat was appointed chairman of Division 6 of the criminal court, while the current incumbent a 51 year old, as Landgerichtsdirektor, was transferred.
Between 1936 and 1943, of 215 "Jewish" accused in proceedings involving Paragraph 2 of the "Blutschutzgesetze", 202 were convicted (94%), and 13 acquitted (6%), whereas of the 116 accuser non-Jews the percentage of acqittals was nearly twice as high. Of these 202 convicted Jews, 128 (63·4%) were sentenced to imprisonment in a prison for capital offenders, and 74 (36·6%) were sentenced to prison, wheras of the 102 non-Jews convicted the figures were roughly 25% and 75%. This disparity is all the more remarkable, as the Reichsgreicht (Reich supreme court) in a judgement in 1938 established that their was no legal justification to generally sentence "Jewish" accused to prison for capital offenders and non-Jewish "deutschblütige" ("of german blood") to prison.
A comparison with judgement policy in cases of "Rassenschande" in Köln and Frankfurt am Main reveals, among other things, that in Hamburg 63% of "Jewish" accused were sentenced to imprisonment in a prison for capital offenders, wheras in the other two cities it was 56%. Also, in Hamburg, the percentage of "Jewish" accused who were acqitted was appreciably lower than in either Köln or Frankfurt am Main. These figures indicate that the Hamburg courts proceeded with greater harshness. Division 6 of the Hamburg criminal court concerned itself with portraying the behavior of Jews accused under Paragraph 2 of the "Blutschutzgesetze" as being typically Jewish, i.e. typically criminal.
The following examples clearly demonstrate the prejudiced attitudes of the judges involved in
Herr B., who had lost his son in the First World War, was sentenced to three years in a prison for capital offenders and three years loss of civil rights.
The judgement was so grounded:
His sentencing to five years imprisonment in a prison for capital offenders,
was so grounded:
The grounds for the sentencing were concluded with the following remarks:
German text: Dipl.-Pol. Wilhelm Mosel, Deutsch-Jüdische Gesellschaft, Hamburg.