“Lawyers Without Rights”


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On January 30, 1933 German President Paul von Hindenburg reluctantly names Adolf Hitler to the post of Chancellor of Germany. Not even 2 months later one of the most impactful actions to destroy the rule of law was taken:  Jewish judges, prosecutors and lawyers were disbarred and denied access to the courts.  Individual rights and the supremacy of the law began to disappear and the distinction between Jews and non-jews was made for all aspects of social and professional life.  Even today ,it is not understood why other lawyers tolerated this early action. Given that most records were destroyed, all we have is the stories of those who survived.

The German American Heritage Museum of the USA™ is honored to present the exhibit,  ” Lawyers without Rights”, a collaboration of the American German Bar Association and the German Federal Bar (Bundesrechtsanwaltskammer).   The exhibit honors the lives of some of the affected lawyers, many of whom came to the United States and lead exemplary lives, like our own 1998 Distinguished German-American of the Year, Dr. Otto L. Walter, who dedicated his life to fight for reconciliation.  Others took active interest in public service and some even returned to Germany to influence change.  Their lives are remembered through the exhibit, and through them, the lives of all victims of the Nazi period.

Join us at GAHMUSA in learning more about this important story and the relevance it has for our country.

LIST OF EVENTS Filmabend at the GAHM: Nirgendwo in Afrika Thursday, September 8th, 6:30 pm In 1938, the Redlich family flees to Kenya from Nazi Germany to escape the increasing persecution of Jewish-Germans. Walter, a former lawyer, finds work as a farm manager and sends for his wife and daughter, who adjust to their new environments at drastically different paces. Lawyers Without Rights Opening Reception featuring Executive Director Stephan Göcken of the German Federal Bar (Bundesrechtsanwaltskammer) Thursday, September 15th, 6:30pm Stephan Göcken, Executive Director of the German Federal Bar (Bundesrechtsanwaltskammer) will speak on the collaboration of his organization and the American Bar Association (ABA) in the development of Lawyers Without Rights. Light refreshments will be served. Filmabend at the GAHM: Die akte General  Thursday, September 29th, 6:30pm German-Jewish Attorney General Fritz Bauer is determined to try Nazi war criminals in 1959 Frankfurt. Bauer aids in the arrest of Adolf Eichmann in Argentina by tipping off Mossad, Israel’s national intelligence agency. Kaisertreu: The Descendants of German-Jewish War Veterans Speak. Co-hosted by the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America Thursday, October 6th, 7:00pm  Join us for a fascinating lecture and discussion surrounding those Germans of Jewish faith who proudly fought for the Kaiser during WWI, only to be persecuted decades later. Senior Government Affairs Adviser Oliver Moss and John Friedman, Manager of Sustainability at WGL Holdings, Inc. will share their own family’s experiences, attempting to answer the question-what does it mean to be Jewish and German-American. “How they Helped Build the American-German Relations after the War – German-Jewish Émigré Lawyers and Otto L. Walter the Distinguished German-American of 1988” Tuesday, October 18th, 7:00pm Werner Hein, Esq., board member of the German-American Heritage Foundation, will speak on the significant contributions German-Jewish jurists who escaped Nazi Germany and fled to the U.S. have made to the building of the German democracy and the German-American relations after World War II. Among those lawyers to be presented is Otto I. Walter, Esq., 1998 honoree of the Foundation’s Distinguished German-American award, who is also featured in the ongoing exhibit of Lawyers Without Rights and who had worked on some projects with Werner Hein. Light refreshments will be served. “The Real Post-War German Miracle: Jewish Jurists’ in the BRD” featuring Speaker Dr. Russell Miller of Washington and Lee University School of Law Friday, October 21st, 7:00pm We will close our exhibit with a presentation by Dr.Russell A. Miller, a distinguished Washington and Lee law faculty since 2008. His teaching and scholarly research focuses on comparative law theory and methods, comparative constitutional law, German law and legal culture, and public international law. Dr. Miller will lecture on Jewish attorneys in the Federal Republic of Germany following WWII. Light refreshments will be served.