Issue 1/2018

Content Overview: English Titles and Abstracts

  • 65 years VfZ. Traditions and perspectives.
  • Markus Eikel: “The Rule of Law and not the Law of the Jungle”. Germany and the Genesis of the International Criminal Court, 1993 to 1998.
  • Sebastian Weitkamp: A Rearguard Action of the Rechtsstaat in 1934. The Trial of SS-Sturmbannführer Heinrich Remmert for the Maltreatment of Prisoners in the Esterwegen Concentration Camp.
  • Maximilian Becker: “No Weapons for our Hangmen!” Former Persecutees of the Nazi Regime and West German Rearmament.
  • Hans-Henning Kortüm: “I Have Come Through All Times Well”. Otto Brunner and National Socialism.
  • Horst Möller's 75th birthday.
  • The history of the Treuhandanstalt 1989/90 to 1994.

Abstracts

Markus Eikel, “The Rule of Law and not the Law of the Jungle”. Germany and the Genesis of the International Criminal Court, 1993 to 1998

 

Germany played a significant role in the genesis of the International Criminal Court (ICC) during the 1990s. The analysis of contemporary government documents, many of which have been declassified ahead of schedule, reveals how extensively and persistently the Federal Republic supported the setting up of the ICC. German diplomat Hans-Peter Kaul, later himself a judge at the ICC, emerged as a key figure over the many years of international negotiations. The German government saw international criminal law as a means to secure the influence of Germany in the changed global order after the end of the Cold War. During the dramatic course of the Rome diplomatic conference in June and July 1998, the German delegation became the most uncompromising proponent of a strong and independent criminal court and thus found itself in opposition to all permanent members of the United Nations Security Council shortly before the end of the conference. Especially in the dispute with the United States, the German side developed a new self-confidence, the influence of which was to affect German-American relations during the following years.
 


Sebastian Weitkamp, A Rearguard Action of the Rechtsstaat in 1934. The Trial of SS-Sturmbannführer Heinrich Remmert for the Maltreatment of Prisoners in the Esterwegen Concentration Camp

 

On 16 November 1934, the Landgericht [district court] Osnabrück sentenced SS-Sturmbannführer and former Concentration Camp Commander Heinrich Remmert to three months of prison for the mistreatment of prisoners in the Esterwegen Concentration Camp. The preceding investigations had revealed the shocking conditions in the early Emsland region Concentration Camps and the Osnabrück public prosecutors (with the political backing of Prussian Prime Minister Hermann Göring) were aiming at penalising this violence on a grand scale. The protection of the Berlin ministries faded, however, and Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler ultimately prevented all further proceedings in this matter. The trial is a mostly unknown chapter in German judicial history and in research on the Concentration Camps. How was it possible that a German court sentenced a former Concentration Camp Commander for mistreating prisoners in November 1934? The article looks into the investigations of the prosecutors and the attempts of the Nazi Party, SA and SS to sabotage the trial. The Remmert Trial thus turned into a showdown between the remnants of the Rechtsstaat [rule of law] and the Nazi dictatorship during the early stage of the Nazi regime.
 


Maximilian Becker, “No Weapons for our Hangmen!” Former Persecutees of the Nazi Regime and West German Rearmament
 

During the first half of the 1950s, West German rearmament was the dominant theme in the public pronouncements of the International Federation of Resistance Fighters (FIR), the most important umbrella organisation of national persecutee organisations in East and West. West German rearmament began only a few years after the end of Nazi tyranny: Irrespective of political beliefs, it evoked suspicion, unease and was generally opposed by former Concentration Camp inmates and members of resistance movements. The fact that the connected NATO membership was solemnly put into effect on 9 May 1955, the tenth anniversary of liberation, was considered an insult by many survivors. Simultaneously the liberation celebrations, which had already begun in autumn 1953 for the tenth anniversary of the armistice with Italy, offered opportunities for protest. The anniversary events organised by the FIR transmitted a transnational view of resistance, which saw a line of continuity between the antifascist struggle and opposition to West German rearmament. The governing bodies of the FIR, which were dominated by communists, also saw this topic as an opportunity to expand the membership base beyond the communist-dominated constituent organisations. However they also became willing subjects for Soviet propaganda. This resulted in conflicts with non-communist persecutees, making it impossible to achieve a comprehensive “unity” of all victims of National Socialism throughout Europe and beyond political parties.
 


Hans-Henning Kortüm, “I Have Come Through All Times Well”. Otto Brunner and National Socialism
 

The article analyses the structural and biographical conditions for the Reich career of the Austrian medievalist Otto Brunner (1898–1982), which already became foreseeable during the 1930s and rapidly took up speed after the Anschluss of Austria in 1938. He proved to be a fervent adherent of the Nazi regime until the bitter end, which is especially revealed in his function as head of the Volksdeutsche Forschungsgemeinschaften [Ethnic German Research Councils] between 1940 and 1944 and in his connected relentless publishing and historical career, his reception of the reactivated Verdun Prize in 1943, his intensive attempts to gain Nazi Party membership (ultimately successful in 1943), his manuscript “Deutschlands Schicksalsweg” [Germany’s Destiny] of 1944, which was long considered lost, but indeed survived, albeit only in the form of the proofs, and his close collaboration with Amt Rosenberg even in January 1945. When he succeeded to jump-start his professional career in the young Federal Republic again in the 1950s through the help of old fellow travellers, he was able to continue with the study of  the most important topics which had kept him busy during the “Third Reich” with only minor modifications. This was supported by structural peculiarities of the academic discipline of history as well as wide-spread West German historical conservatism, which was connected with a strong desire for a fundamentally different interpretation of the Middle Ages.
 


 




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